Cameron Shephard, Former National President, UDIA


I talked with Cameron Shephard, who dicusses the role developers play in creating quality communities.

Former National President, Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Cameron Shepard discusses the role developer’s play in creating quality communities.

We as a development community are the people who create ‘places’, however we seem to have lost that historical connection where we were once revered as ‘town founders’, holding a trusted role for creating communities. The UDIA tries to facilitate and encourage an environment to allow developers to once again create quality places. Many developers want to do the right thing and deliver world class developments as they realise that it’s more financially rewarding for them in the longer term than the business as usual approach.

Developers who invest in building strong communities, benefit from a shared value approach, being a strong commercial return in parallel with stronger social outcomes. This of course must be sustainable and developers must be able to realise a return in order to come back and do it just as well next time.

Although we are responsible for creating the ‘physical’ environment, we are aware that the ‘human’ environment and connection to place evolves over time. The developer must create a framework and place that enables the community to do this and experience a high quality of life, as the places we create now will be judged over a long period as to how successful the human environment is.

If you could change one thing about the way we currently create communities what would it be?

The regulatory environment by far has to be the biggest change. The system must facilitate developers who have a history of delivering high quality developments and communities. As an industry, developers are aware of how the market is shifting and can respond quicker than the regulatory environment. Regulation needs to support the delivery of quality developments by speeding up the approvals process, rather than focus on preventing the worst developments to the detriment of the whole industry.

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