2023: A year of highlights, milestones and celebrations

As 2023 draws to a close (we know, we can’t quite believe it ourselves), our team stopped to reflect on the year that was and look at the moments and projects that make 2023 a year to remember — for all the right reasons!

_Vicki White
Business Manager

It’s been great to end the year with the Jensen PLUS team going from strength to strength.

Personally, continuing to be a certified carbon neutral organisation under the Australian Government’s Climate Active is one achievement that I am proud of, with our 2022 certification approved this year.

There is a lot of work to collate the information required to input into the climate active calculators — and it is not as simple as just being more environmentally aware.

Despite criticisms of the Climate Active program appearing in the media over the past year, I think the point to remember is that collectively organisations and businesses are committing to making the effort to reduce their carbon footprint and these efforts are surely more beneficial than not doing anything at all.

I look forward to another great year with Jensen PLUS in 2024!

_Natalia Gonzalez
Landscape Architect

2023 has been a fantastic year with outstanding achievements. In June, I completed my dual Master of Business Administration and Global Project Management through Torrens University. This two-year learning journey has allowed me to improve my strategic thinking and technical and creative skills to deal with business challenges in a global context.

Since completing my studies, I have been able to dedicate more time to working, increasing my autonomy and responsibility as a designer and project manager.

In that sense, I have been able to apply knowledge gained through my masters to the Regenerating the Alice Springs Town Centre project — for which the concept created by Jensen PLUS will go to consultation early 2024.

This project has a combination of inspiring ingredients that motivated my work. It is an example of a challenging context where the outcomes are only achieved with strong collaboration between consultants and actively listening to community needs with a design development that strongly focuses on community engagement.

Natalia with a group of colleagues from Torrens University

_Joshua Woo
Assistant Urban Designer

Having just moved to Adelaide from Sydney at the start of 2023, this entire year has felt like a bit of an adventure.

Working at Jensen PLUS has been great and the main highlight has been the opportunity to visit so many interesting places as we undertook site visits and community engagement activities.

Some of these projects and activities took me from Mile End to Kangaroo Island to Renmark!

These places are vastly different but all of them contribute to making South Australia special in their own way.

It brings me great sense of pride and satisfaction to know that our work here at Jensen PLUS touches the lives of so many people across this amazing state.

_Daniel Marotti
Urban Planner

The year started on a high, with a relatively quick promotion to Urban Planner after just 13 months as Graduate Planner. Always a nice start to a year! Of course, this opportunity came with more responsibilities, but I have enjoyed the challenge and extending myself.

This year I have been able to work on new projects including co-hosting council planner workshops for the Greater Adelaide Regional Plan Discussion Paper consultation, which has been a rewarding experience.

However, my biggest highlight is having my university research published in Australian Planner. The research identified that Australia’s urban planning and built-form policies can elevate urban temperatures.

Image of Blakeview’s surface temperature from Daniel’s published article

I was surprised at the effort required for an article to be published and having more than 170 people read my article (which is apparently good but saddening to hear for published research).

Hopefully 2024 comes with even more pleasant surprises.

_Nina Phillips
Senior Landscape Architect

Having only started at Jensen PLUS in September, I am pleased to be in a team environment with like-minded people, striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for people and their communities.

A highlight of 2023 is being given this opportunity to further pursue my passion in design and to be involved in important community projects from the get-go.

Since commencing at Jensen PLUS, the opportunity to work on the regenerative design project, Greening Port Pirie, has also been rewarding.

The Wandearah Wetlands (Phoenix Park Wetlands) in Port Pirie is a significant site for the local community and flora/fauna habitat. Working closely with the client and other consultants, I have learned a lot about provenance seed collection, its use, application, and strategy for regenerative design.

I look forward to being involved in many other unique projects for communities in 2024.

_Reb Rowe
Senior Urban + Regional Planner

In a professional capacity, my highlight is being involved in the many community engagement exercises for our various projects.

I strongly back our approach to work with communities so their knowledge shapes great project outcomes and we work hard to ensure we have a collaborative, fun and respectful approach to encourage communities feel comfortable engaging with us.

Personally, I’ve been fine tuning my graphic recording skills and I love being able to take people’s comments and sketch them up into an image which is clever, colourful and representative of their ideas.

On a more personal note, I got MARRIED! Our ceremony and the party were held in a sandstone quarry on my parents’ bush-block in Clare — it ended up being full of memory-making moments, family and friends, great food and music.

We had a Ngadjuri man welcome us to Country and a friend delivered a reading that encouraged us to consider our relationship to place and Country as a way of helping us all take a moment to savour the moment and be grateful.

It was a really lovely day and it ended in so much cake — which is the best way to end any day, in my opinion!

_Brian Du
Landscape Architect

This year has been filled with challenges and accomplishments for me, and one of the highlights has been my involvement in securing the the Greening Port Pirie design project. As my first bid since joining Jensen PLUS, this project marks a significant milestone in my professional journey.

The uniqueness of the Greening Port Pirie project lies in the application of advanced greening technologies, presenting me with an entirely new set of challenges. Throughout the design process, I have actively engaged in learning and acquired numerous new skills and insights.

The success of the project is attributed to the collaboration and innovative thinking within the team. Together, we diligently crafted a comprehensive submission that received approval of Port Pirie City Council with the project now in the detailed design phase following concept approval.

Greening Port Pirie is more than just an urban beautification project; it represents our commitment to sustainable development. I am honoured to be a part of this proud team and look forward to contributing further to the Port Pirie community during the upcoming stages of detailed design and implementation.

_Marko Separovic
Senior Urban Designer + Urban Planner

Looking back on the year, my highlight was resuming my role as a tutor/lecturer at University of Adelaide for the Master of Architecture Studio Urbanism course.

I previously stopped lecturing due to my overseas and travel commitments across United Arab Emirates and Asia, but was recently presented with the opportunity to take on role again thanks to Michael Hegarty, Chief Executive of dwp design, and Dr Scott Hawken, Head of Landscape and Urban Design Department at University of Adelaide.

It’s been rewarding to witness the impressive creativity and talent of the landscape and architecture students undertaking the Masters course in 2023.

Looking to the future, I hope to continue this fulfilling role while balancing my commitments, clients and priorities at Jensen PLUS.

_Odette Robbins
Student Urban Planner + Designer

My standout highlight for this year is easily completing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, marking the end of a marathon five years at university.

Looking ahead I’m most excited about the adventures after graduation and some newfound freedom awaiting me in the new year.

Additionally, I feel fortunate to have enriched my final year of my masters degree by gaining practical, hands-on experience while working at Jensen PLUS.

Being a part of diverse and intriguing projects across Australia, alongside my talented colleagues, has been a valuable and rewarding experience.

_Michael McKeown

While I could happily reflect on the many successful community co-design workshops we have taken on the road this year — Alice Springs and Stanley, Tasmania being highlights — instead I’d like to celebrate for my colleagues who have developed their roles and their skills this year.

I won’t name individuals, but our 2023 staff have really built on their experience, applied themselves and accepted additional responsibilities to plan and design and lead projects. It’s great to see.

We’ve also taken time to search for new staff who share our values and want to work on thoughtful and fair ways to regenerate our towns and cities and communities.

It feels like the Jensen PLUS team and our business focus have really been coming together in the second half of this year, helping build a positive team culture as well. Well done team!

The Jensen PLUS team at the 2023 PIA South Australia Awards
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