How We Work

To deliver sustainable urbanism solutions with extensive stakeholder support, ESD specialises in ‘Enquiry by Design’ processes including Scoping Workshops, Design Workshops, Sustainable Design Training Workshops, and Charrettes (see Services). The extraordinary value of Enquiry by Design is that its transparent, objective, collaborative, and intensely integrative design-based approach unleashes the power of reason, quite consistently and quickly to inspire a ‘culture shift’ among stakeholders toward a broadly supported outcome that works for almost everyone.

Small but Potent: ESD’s Highly Effective Team Approach

ESD is a paradox in terms of how we operate as a firm.  We have chosen for quality of life reasons to remain very small in staff size, yet we often play major roles, collaborating with large interdisciplinary teams in very large and important, leading-edge urban design projects, such as the Western Australian Liveable Neighbourhoods Code, the Western Sydney Urban Land Release for a future population of 380,000, or the UK’s inaugural Sustainable Urban Extensions Initiative of 1999, sponsored jointly by the Prince’s Foundation and the UK Government.  How have we flourished through more than a decade of leading edge urban outcomes, while remaining such a small firm?    

Directors’ Concentration

The first benefit of ESD’s small size is that, when clients call on ESD, they get its directors, Chip Kaufman and/or Wendy Morris. Chip and Wendy have both developed integrated expertises linking urban design, town planning, architecture, traffic and transport design, economics, development feasibility, social planning, environmental design, and Enquiry by Design.   Chip and Wendy have both toured and deeply analysed exemplary traditional urbanism, as well as most New Urbanist projects across Australia, North America and Europe.   As a result, ESD will quickly comprehend an evasively complex project in its full complexity, and then conceive and deliver integrated project-specific solutions.  Our clients prefer to depend on our integrated and concentrated expertise, instead of commencing a project with a ‘front-man’ principal of a large and perhaps ponderous firm, soon thereafter to find their projects bogged down with relatively inexperienced and poorly coordinated junior staff.

Project-specific Consultant Team Selection

For a project of any size and type, ESD will select a consultant team from its extremely strong, large and committed network of allied consultants, with whom we have collaborated for years (consultants list on request).   Our clients prefer this agility and choice, rather than settling for the mediocrity often found in some large and ‘full service’ firms.

Enquiry by Design enables highly effective services and outcomes…anywhere

By means of the efficacy and time-compression of ESD’s Enquiry by Design processes, ESD optimises project outcomes cost-effectively almost anywhere, with the right consultant team for the project.

Synergies through Teaming and Mentoring

Because we are small, agile and widely known to be generous with our expertise, we are often asked to team with other larger consultancies, and/or to conduct peer reviews of projects already under way.

Thus ESD leverages itself far past its small staff numbers and, as a side-benefit, is constantly learning new skills from continued exposure to new challenges and projects.