The Place Debate 2020
5 March, 2020

“The suburbs are no place to raise a child.”

Does it really take a village to raise a child? How about a city, or a suburb?

For over a decade, Right Angle Studio worked tirelessly to understand inner-city audiences and environments. The city was what we knew, and what we strove to improve. When we started getting asked to work on projects in the suburbs we were forced to question our intention as urban strategists. Was our singular focus actually just snobbery? What we decided was that creating the suburbs of the future will require learning lessons from our cities: adopting increased density, building in room for change and growth and creating clusters of culture, commerce and education. We’re also paying attention to what the suburbs do well and making sure that they don’t lose their character.

In the last 12 months alone we’ve worked on projects in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Geelong and the Gold Coast. We haven’t started hosing down our driveways, but we like to think we are having the same impact on life in the ‘burbs as we have in the city.

On March 5, we brought together some of Melbourne’s great minds to flesh these ideas out in front of a live audience. The inaugural Place Debate pitted the city against the suburbs as two teams responded to the idea that ‘the suburbs are no place to raise a child’. The evening at MPavilion was moderated by our Strategy and Insights Director, Barrie Barton, but we were mostly listening to the voices of our clients, collaborators and the next generation of great urban thinkers.




Thursday 5 March


Queen Victoria Gardens
Melbourne, VIC 3004
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Matthew Slade


Barrie Barton

Barrie is the founder of Right Angle Studio. Since 2005 he has overseen the company’s strategy and insights, helping establish its reputation as one of the most innovative agents of positiveurban change in Australia. Formally trained as a lawyer but motivated by civic improvement he brings a customer centric understanding and casual style to property development.

Matiu Bush

Matiu is a hybrid – a clinician and a designer who founded One Good Street, a social impact platform to encourage neighbour initiated care for older residents at risk of social isolation and loneliness. Matiu is the deputy director of the Health Transformation Lab at RMIT, designing towards cultures of innovation and creativity in healthcare. Matiu has a Master’s degree in Public Health and broad clinical and managerial nursing experience, including working in Tijuana, Mexico with Nobel Prize Laureate Mother Teresa in international border aid, and as an emergency, oncology, intensive care nurse and is a sexual health Nurse Practitioner.

Jo Hook

Jo Hook is a Creative Mentor, Life Designer and Communications specialist. With the rich modalities of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Design thinking behind her and inspired by the work of Bucky Fuller and others, Jo has collaborated with hundreds of individuals; entrepreneurs and organisations – in Australia and across the planet. She works with leaders, designers, architects, artists, therapists, and professional communicators of all kinds.

Stephen Choi

Stephen is a UK-qualified Project Architect and Australian-qualified Project Manager. He founded not-for-profit environmental building consultancy, Architecture for Change, is the Executive Director of the the Living Future Institute of Australia, and Living Building Challenge Manager for Frasers Property Australia.

Harriet Grummet

Harriet is an 18-year-old student from Melbourne, Australia, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne with a focus on philosophy, reason and creative writing. Harriet graduated from Caulfield Grammar in 2019 where she was school Debating Co-Captain, held senior leadership positions and received multiple awards for academic achievement, music, and school service. Harriet has a passion for solving problems, from word games to global issues, and hopes to one day write her own book.

James Tutton

James works across a portfolio of complementary executive and non-executive positions in the property, mental health, arts, finance and business spheres. James is a Director of Neometro -Melbourne’s preeminent design and socially focused development group. Neometro has a pipeline of projects throughout inner Melbourne including the multi-stage “New Urban Village” at Jewell Station Brunswick.

Rachel Elliot-Jones

Rachel is a curator at Molonglo, where she shapes public programs, publishing projects and strategies for public participation and tenanting.

Molonglo is a company focused on property development theory and practice. They see the boundaries of property development, as well as who we are and how we work with each other, as fuzzy. Molonglo’s process is often collaborative and cross-disciplinary, which allows for enormous fluidity, flexibility and disjunction in creative making. Ideologically, this process reflects their belief that to foster healthy, cohesive and tolerant societies, we need to accept messy arrangements – whether they be political, social or aesthetic.

The Venue

The 2019 MPavilion has been designed by Glenn Murcutt AO. Each year the Naomi Milgrom Foundation commissions an internationally distinguished architect to create a platform for a cultural program of events, workshops, performances and talks running from November–March.