Masterclass: Indigenous Ecosystem Corridors and Nodes

Masterclass: Indigenous Ecosystem Corridors and Nodes

Masterclass: Indigenous Ecosystem Corridors and Nodes

4 Formal CPD Points
Available On Demand



This innovative two-part online course explores the proposition of introducing Indigenous Ecosystem Corridors and Nodes into urban developments, with an aim of mitigating and combatting the ecological damage inflicted upon the earth by millennia of human settlement and population growth. This program will unpack the benefits and challenges attendant to this enterprise, with contributions from a range of scholars and leading practitioners. 

By delving into a number of aspects of this topic including connection to country, the biodiversity emergency, urban planning and related built environment strategies, the essentials of biophilic design, and a range of relevant case study explorations, this formal CPD course provides essential learnings for any practitioner committed to regenerative and sustainable design and a legacy of responsible stewardship of the earth’s resources. 

Part one explores the context, challenges and opportunities to address the biodiversity emergency. The second session will then explore lessons learnt, tools to tackle the challenges, and a range of exemplar case studies from around the country. 



Session 01 





Context and theory

Nadine Samaha


Acknowledgement of Country

Jefa Greenaway


Indigenous Connection to Country

Jefa Greenaway


Indigenous Ecosystem Corridors and Nodes, and Sustainable Development Goals

Allan Rodger, Jasmine Ong, Jane Toner, and Peter Malatt








Biodiversity 101: The Biodiversity Emergency

Sarah Bekessy, Cris Hernandez, Casey Visintin, Katherine Berthon, and Dr. Kylie Soanes




Session 02





Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country

Dominique Hes


Urban Planning

Simon Kilbane


The Green Factor Tool, and the City of Melbourne’s Greening the City

Skye Haldane and Lee Harrison









Case Studies exploring various IECN Strategies and Techniques

Philip Rowe, Mark Healey, Mark Gillingham, Katharina Nieberler-Walker, and Kate Cullity


Biophilia: Supporting Biodiversity is Supporting Ourselves

Philip Roos


Closing remarks

Dominique Hes

NSCA 2015 Performance Criteria

This presentation is equivalent to 4 total hours/points of formal CPD and will deliver outcomes related to the following Competencies from the 2015 National Standard of Competency for Architects:                                                                                                                                    

2015 Competencies:


1.4 Identification of factors that may impact on client project requirements and objectives.
3.3 Design response incorporates assessment of the physical location and relevant wider regional, contextual and environmental issues.
4.2 Evaluation of design options against values of physical, environmental and cultural contexts.
4.4 Inclusion of expertise of relevant specialists and consultants in developing the project design.

Practice Management:
9.1 Knowledge and implementation of appropriate practice model to ensure efficient, effective and ethical professional service.
9.6 Knowledge and application of professional ethics and ethical practices in respect to practice management and provision of professional service. 

NSCA 2021 Performance Criteria

This presentation is equivalent to 4 total hours/points of formal CPD and will deliver outcomes related to the following Competencies from the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects:                                                                                                                                    

2021 Competencies:

Practice Management and Professional Conduct

PC 2 Implement practice resources and apply ethical employment practice methods and quality assurance systems to facilitate efficient, consistent and timely delivery of architectural services.
PC 3 Apply principles of project planning, considering implications for Country, environmental sustainability, communities, stakeholders and project costs. 
PC 8 Be able to implement culturally responsive and meaningful engagement processes that respect the importance of Country and reciprocal relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples across architectural services.

Project Initiation and Conceptual Design
PC 17 Have an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ aspirations to care for Country and how these inform architectural design. 
PC 20 Be able to assess project budget and timeframe against project requirements and objectives, relevant legislation, statutory planning requirements, building codes and standards.
PC 27 Understand how to embed the knowledge, worldviews and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, shared through engagement processes, into the conceptual design in a meaningful, respectful and appropriate way. 
PC 29 Be able to develop and evaluate design options in terms of the heritage, cultural and community values embodied in the site, and in relation to project requirements. 
PC 31 Be able to identify, analyse and integrate information relevant to environmental sustainability – such as energy and water consumption, resources depletion, waste, embodied carbon and carbon emissions – over the lifecycle of a project. 

Detailed Design and Construction Documentation
PC 41 Be able to coordinate and integrate input from specialists and consultants into the detailed design and documentation.
PC 45 Be able to nominate and integrate quality and performance standards with regard to selected materials, finishes, fittings, components and systems, considering the impact on Country and the environment, and the whole life carbon impact of the project. This includes integrating life cycle assessments and other expertise and advice from consultants.


Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session participants should be able to:

1. Outline the importance of connection and innate responsibility of caring for country 
2. Describe the Indigenous Ecosystem Corridors and Node beginnings, intentions, and relationship to sustainable development goals                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
3. Examine how the built environment impacts on biodiversity
4. Explore through case studies how various aspects of biodiversity can be integrated into the built environment
5. List the essentials of biophilic design and creating opportunities for humans to connect to nature 


SESSION ONE - Context, challenges and opportunities



Founding Director – Greenaway Architects

Jefa Greenaway of Greenaway Architects is a nationally recognised architect, academic (University of Melbourne), design advocate and a regular design commentator on ABC Radio Melbourne. As a registered architect in private practice in both NSW and Victoria, he seeks to reveal layers of history and memory through connections to place, demonstrating the value of people-centered design which interrogates one's own philosophical or ethical underpinning and design responsibilities. Over two decades he's also championed Indigenous-led design thinking, particularly through the International Indigenous Design Charter, as Regional Ambassador (Oceania) of INDIGO (International Indigenous Design Alliance) and sits on numerous boards that intersect with art, architecture, and cultural heritage. Jefa has been inducted into the Design Institute of Australia Hall of Fame; Qantas 100 Inspiring Australians.




Allan Rodger is Professor Emeritus and an honorary member of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne.

Allan is an outstanding advocate, educator, and leader in the field of sustainability. He has demonstrated a longstanding visionary commitment to a sustainable future, exploring the theory and practice of sustainable futures and the corresponding sustainable architecture and built environments. This has resulted in practical outcomes, ranging from community engagement programmes through to high level policy development at local, national and international level. 

Professor Rodger has introduced to generations of students across the professional degrees, in research for masters degrees and doctoral studies, the issues raised in sustainable architecture. Many of these students have gone on to be leading advocates and practitioners in this field.




Jasmine is a Registered Landscape Architect with experience in the UK, China and Australia in both government and private sectors.

She is a Design Advisor and Senior Associate at Spiire, Melbourne, where she drives the vision, strategy and brand of the landscape studio. She is highly regarded in the industry after having worked in London as Director of Martha Schwartz Partners where she was responsible for numerous award winning projects and for setting up the Shanghai studio.

Jasmine is a National Director of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) and sits on numerous industry committees for climate action, gender equity and continuing professional development.

With over 18 years’ experience as a landscape architect, Jasmine has led a plethora of projects globally with world-renowned architects. She is passionate about environmental sustainability, artful landscapes and place making. Her work spans from small scale spaces to large, complex and strategic landscape planning which focuses on the creation of valuable public spaces with identity and a sense of place.



Jane Toner is an Architect, Regenerative Design Practitioner, Biophilic Design expert and Australia’s first certified Biomimicry Professional. Jane believes that the natural world holds the answers to creating innovative design solutions that are ecologically regenerative, socially just and joyous, and that the key to creating a thriving future for all life is in remembering that we are nature.



B. Arch (hons) ARBV FRAIA

Peter Malatt is a founding member of Six Degrees, widely recognised for engaging and rich design in hospitality, education, civic and housing fields. 
Six Degrees continues to develop ideas about user experience, high and low design, raw materiality, recycling and brutalism within a collective framework. 

Peter has served on a range of AIA  juries and committees.  In 2013 he was elected to National Council and served as Victorian President in 2014-15.

Further interests include family life, cooking, art and Italian scooters.



PhD Candidate, RMIT

While currently a PhD student, Cristina has over 10 years of experience working to bring together design practice and ecology through practice and research. Newly graduated as an ecologist in Mexico, she worked directly with landscape architects to apply ecological principles to the design of sustainable landscapes. She gained her master’s degree at the University of Melbourne specialising in Sustainable Cities (2014-2015) and working with the concept of Biodiversity Sensitive Design and Regenerative Design. Since then, she has coordinated education and research projects on ‘place-based development’. Her current research aims to translate ecological knowledge to support ‘place’ for both humans and non-humans to coexist. Specifically, she aspires to merge the idea of participatory design with ecology by incorporating the voice and needs of the non-humans and using this knowledge to increase the resilience of our urban areas. 



RMIT University

Sarah Bekessy leads the ICON Science research group at RMIT University which uses interdisciplinary approaches to solve complex biodiversity conservation problems. She is particularly interested in understanding the role of human behaviour in conservation and in designing cities to encourage ‘every day nature’ experiences. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that has now been used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies. She is a project leader in the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hubs.



Originally trained as an architect and urban planner, Casey Visintin has ten years of experience working in a multinational firm on large urban development and sustainable building projects. He is a LEED-accredited professional and has completed two gold-certified institutional buildings - both from the programming/schematic design phase through construction and post-occupancy evaluation. He obtained post-graduate qualifications (M. Env - Wildlife Conservation; PhD - Applied Ecology) to support his passion for biological conservation. Casey's current postdoctoral research focuses on improving biodiversity outcomes in the built environment by integrating the disciplines of architecture and ecology.  



Katherine is an urban ecologist interested promoting co-existence between people and nature in cities. Her passion for conservation biology and curiosity for understanding natural phenomena has led to a diverse research background in animal behaviour, landscape ecology, invasion biology and ecological theory. Her current PhD research focuses on how greenspace design can influence the provision of species-specific habitat requirements, with the goal of informing design guidelines for enhancing biodiversity in urban areas. 
During an internship at the International Union for Conservation in Nature in 2012, she was involved in establishing the Bangkok Biodiversity Partnership for understanding and promoting biodiversity in Bangkok city. She has since become a fervent advocate for integrating nature in the city, and much of her research career has been dedicated to understanding the biodiversity value of urban green infrastructure.




Dr. Kylie Soanes is a conservation biologist at The University of Melbourne within the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences. Kylie's research focuses on urban biodiversity – identifying conservation opportunities, novel habitats and practical actions to save species in cities and towns. She works extensively with industry and government to develop a strong evidence base for urban biodiversity conservation, and previously led the Shared Urban Habitat Project of the National Environmental Science Program. Whether it’s helping city councils plan corridors that move animals safely through cities, or working with architects to build designer houses for one of Australia’s largest owls, Kylie is always looking for new ways to help nature thrive in urban environments.



As an architect, Nadine understands the Sense of a Place, the particular need for a context, and the integration of Biophilic Design. She established with her partner, level architekture>konstrukt 26 years ago to fulfill the need for a comprehensive interdisciplinary service that pursues sustainable built outcomes in Design and Construction. The practice's construction continuum pushes the boundaries in construction techniques and explores new methodologies. From incorporating off-site construction of steel pod modules to CLT and Glulam off-site construction. The practice completed in 2021 the construction of an autonomous house in Ceres, Geelong that achieves net-zero emissions and is carbon positive with over 2500 native trees planted so far.

As an AIA Chapter Councilor, and chair of AIA Sustainable Architecture Forum (SAF), Nadine advocates and promotes Sustainability, Regenerative Design, Beyond zero-emissions, and Carbon Sequestration. This is done through support to AIA advocacy and policies, promotion of sustainable design to architects and the public. 

As an ESD lecturer at RMIT, Nadine empowers students with Passive and Regenerative Design tools and methods to improve the future design of the built environment and to address Climate Change. 

As a researcher, Nadine collaborates with Academics and Industries to challenge the status quo of sustainable design through published papers and projects. Having won a grant in 2019 from the RMIT ECP Urban Future, Dr. Jordan Lacey and I developed a proposal for "Transforming Motorways' Noise Barriers". This project focuses on transforming the motorways' noise, reducing air pollution, and improving livability for the surrounding areas.

As a Permaculturist, and an active local resident, Nadine is involved in few local environmental groups where she works on addressing climate change to rewilding our local areas. As part of Rewilding Stonnington Group, Nadine is converting nature strips from grass planting to native planting. They will be starting this year a pocket forest in accordance with Akira Miyawaki's method in our local area. These actions among other benefits will attract pollinators, boost biodiversity, reduce the heat island effect, and sequester carbon.

SESSION TWO - Lessons learnt, tools and case studies




Simon Kilbane is an AILA registered landscape architect with more than 20 years of diverse experience across the public, private and academic sectors in Australia and overseas.  
His work focusses upon the intersection of people, place and ecology through design and he seeks to articulate ecological science and policy intent through the development of accurate, measurable and visual designs and is committed to the creation of more healthy and inclusive landscapes and cities and the exploration of new methods to work with and across disciplines. 
Simon has recognised expertise across landscape architecture and planning, green infrastructure, and urban and ecological design and his PhD – that explored the potential of a National Green Infrastructure Network – was awarded the AILA Western Australian Award and the AILA National Award of Excellence in 2018 in the ‘Research Policy and Communications’ category for its diverse, creative methodology. This included site analysis, mapping and GIS technologies and the ground-truthing of plans through engagement with community and local governance. 
Simon currently teaches into Planning, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at Deakin University in Geelong and is also the landscape architect lead at Rhizome. He sits on several design review panels in NSW including the State Design Review Panel, the City of Gosford Design Review Panel and the Parks for People Design Review Panel.  




Skye Haldane is a landscape architect with a passion for how design can allow everyone to pursue their potential. She is committed to delivering and advocating for design quality that celebrates connection to place. Skye is Principal Strategic Design at City of Melbourne. She works across the in-house design team in delivery of the city’s public projects, and as adviser for major projects and strategy. Skye was previously a principal in private practice, leading design for key civic spaces, city development and major infrastructure projects. Her work has received numerous awards, including Australia’s Best Playground for Natureplay at Royal Park.



Lee Harrison is the Acting Manager of Urban Forest and Ecology at the City of Melbourne. She oversees in the implementation of both the Urban Forest and Nature in the City Strategies.  
Lee started her career at the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology performing research and consulting on urban ecology, specialising on the impacts on linear infrastructure on wildlife.

Since 2016, she has been working at the city developing policy and programs that apply ecological theory in a capital city context. She has works collaboratively with a range of partners on projects including Linking Nature in the City: A framework for improving ecological connectivity across the City of Melbourne; experimental indigenous wildflower meadows, a guide for streetscape plantings for biodiversity, BioBlitzes, and much more.




Founding Director - TCL

Kate is a founding director of TCL and is a nationally and internationally recognised and awarded landscape architect and environmental artist, with particular skills in the design of public and private gardens, and the integration of public art with landscape and urban design. She has worked as both an artist and designer for a number of international art and garden festivals, both in Australia and overseas, and her work has been extensively published internationally. Her background in botany and her strong personal interest in horticulture have resulted in her involvement in the planting design of sites throughout Australia.

Kate has been a member of the core design team in many of TCL’s award winning projects, including the Redevelopment of North Terrace and Victoria Square in Adelaide and The Australian Garden in Victoria, which won the 2013 WAF, ‘Landscape of the Year’ Award. She was an inaugural recipient of the AILA National Edna Walling Award for Residential Design in 2006 and has won this award several times since.

Kate has taught at both secondary and tertiary levels and is most familiar with the education sector. She has completed a PhD which reflected on 25 years of TCL’s practice, as well as her interest in beauty, aesthetics and care and how these qualities can be aligned with creating and appreciating resilient cultural, social and environmental landscapes.



Director - Cox 

Philip joined Cox Architecture in 1998, after graduating from Royal Melbourne University of Technology, with Honors. Since this time he has worked extensively throughout Australia and Asia. He has been involved in major building infrastructure projects in the recent development of Melbourne, in particular AAMI Park, MCG Redevelopment, Commonwealth Games village and masterplanning for Melbourne Docklands and Federation Square. He has extensive hotel experience: currently in Melbourne he is working on a hotel within the Melbourne Square precinct and the Shangri-La Melbourne.  he has worked on hotels in Malaysia including the Traders Hotel and Sheraton Desaru.  This experience is complemented by his work in mutiresidential development and major sports facilities As a Design Director, Philip is responsible for the initiation of design concepts and the ongoing monitoring and review of design development. He has been responsible for the design and delivery of an award winning range of innovative projects. His focus is on a progressive, essential design approach. 



Studio Director - Bates Smart 

Mark Healey is a Studio Director of Bates Smart Architects based in Melbourne, Australia. During Mark’s 20 year career he has led a number of high quality healthcare, hospitality, multi residential, civic and commercial developments, namely Bates Smart’s winning submission for the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C., the award winning Royal Children’s Hospital, Bendigo Hospital and the recently completed Gandel Wing for Cabrini Health.

Mark’s passion is using nature’s positive qualities to create empathetic, human centric spaces we want to inhabit, thrive and grow. 



Director - GLAS

Mark Gillingham is Director of the GLAS landscape Architects in Melbourne. With over 20 years experience as a Registered Landscape Architect, in Australia and the UK, Mark has been involved in a wide variety of high profile landscape projects including the Shoreline Walk, Beirut (World Architecture Award 2011), the Princess Diana Memorial in London, the 2008 Venice Bienalle, the Jebel Hafit desert park restoration in Al Ain, UAE and the University of Melbourne’s New Student Precinct. Since establishing GLAS in 2011, Mark has built a practice with a strong focus on people and nature in the city. GLAS’ work explores opportunities to enhance urban biodiversity and works to embed resilient, ecological systems in all projects from large scale masterplanning down to the smallest pocket parks. GLAS has won recognition for ecologically progressive designs including AILA State and National awards for projects including the Monash Valley Creek restoration, the Wootten Reserve native grassland and the System Garden botanical restoration. Mark is a sessional tutor at the University of Melbourne, running subjects exploring materiality and ecology.



Echoing the wisdom and wonders of the natural world Katharina co-creates purposefully designed outdoor places to support healthy people and a sustainable environment.
The hallmark of her work demands a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, collaborating with healthcare professionals, designers and hospital administrators to transform the way we design, build and operate hospitals. Her research now serves to consolidates her practical experience by aiming to co-create, develop and test a therapeutic landscape framework for successful application in hospitals that enables and demonstrates the power of nature in assisting patient recovery, supporting family wellbeing and improving staff performance and satisfaction.



Dr Phillip B. Roös is a South African-born architect, now residing in the State of Victoria as an Australian Citizen. His work spans across architecture, urban design and planning, landscape architecture, ecological design, teaching and research, as well as writings and art.

He is known internationally for his leading work in ecological design and planning on large scale infrastructure and built environment projects. He is currently the Director of the Live+Smart Research Laboratory, Associate Professor, and the Associate Head of School - Industry Engagement at the  School of Architecture and Built Environment, Deakin University. He is an independent biophilic design and regenerative-adaptive design for sustainable development advisor to organisations, professional bodies, communities and governments. He has recently retired from professional practice as an architect to spend more time on research, writings in philosophy, drawing, painting and ecological art, and providing community support for regenerative and biophilic designed environments. 

Phillip has a wide range of interests, activities and influences as he works at the nexus of biophilic design, architecture, engineering, planning, ecological art and environmental stewardship. He has been working as an architect and design professional for over 30 years on an extensive range of projects, in Europe, Africa and Australasia. He is committed to a resilient future for both humans and nature. His life’s work is to seek innovative solutions to address the major challenges of our time.

His teaching and research interests are centred on environmental custodianship based on the human-nature relationship, and the identification of optimised planning and design processes using a regenerative-adaptive pattern language system. Through his art, writings and adventures he explores the deeper meaning of our personal connection with Earth, investigating the meaning of wholeness by investigating Indigenous Knowledges and the principles of Ecopsychology. 



Dr Dominique Hes has a PHD in Architecture, multiple degrees in Science, Engineering and Sustainable Design. She has a demonstrated history of working in the higher education and building industries in the fields of sustainability, regenerative development, systems thinking, environmental issues, placemaking and project management. 

She is the award winning Author of the book “Designing for Hope: Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability.” She is the author and editor of six books and over one hundred papers and reports. 

Dominique is the Chair of the board of Greenfleet, co-founder of internationally award winning Place Agency, and former director of Thrive Research Hub from Melbourne University, as well as a founding board member of the Living Futures Institute of Australia and Trustee of Trust for Nature. 

Dominique is driven by her passion is to uncover ways to address the issues we are seeing all around us; loss of biodiversity, loss of habitat and changing climate.



Non-Member: $255
Member: $169
SONA Member: $69


What Do I Do Next?

  1. Hit the “Take me to my course” green button in your confirmation email to take you to the course material on our online CPD platform.
  2. You may have to log into the online CPD platform. You will be redirected to our members portal to log in with your credentials there, and redirected back to the online CPD platform once successfully logged in.
  3. Accept the T&Cs if it’s your first time on the online platform. And hit “my dashboard” to find your purchased course.
  4. Undertake your course work at your own pace.
  5. Once you have completed all the course material, you will be prompted to complete your assessment and feedback, after which your formal CPD certificate will be made available.


    The Australian Institute of Architects proudly acknowledges the valued support and endorsement received from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) for this program.