Back To The Future competition uses North Arm Cove as case study

Back On Track’s winning entry incorporated innovative ideas for the area.


BACK To The Future was a student research competition centred around finding innovative, multi-disciplinary proposals for regional Australian Settlements.

In Summer 2021, North Arm Cove was selected as the case study due to its unique history.

Students were tasked to research and explore the historical context of North Arm Cove (both locally and globally), the ideas behind the ‘ideal city’ of Port Stephens and assessment of those ideas in today’s context, the environmental, economic and social context of North Arm Cove today as well as looking into the future.

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The competition aimed to invite younger generations to look past the now to create a sustainable and innovative future.

Back To The Future was organised in collaboration with the North Arm Cove Ratepayers Association, DESIM and SONA- Association of Australian Architecture Students.

Dejan Simovic of DESIM said, “North Arm Cove was imagined by Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion a hundred years ago and they were one of the first environmentalists here as well.

“Reimagining, recreating and restoring their vision using new technologies could help us create new communities in harmony with nature – beyond net-zero, regenerative and vibrant for all age groups.”

The winning submission came from Noah Watson, Iina Lohi and Sofya Savenkova, ‘Back On Track’, which followed the vision that Marion and Walter had for North Arm Cove.

Back On Track was selected due to the innovative planning ideas including ‘play streets’, activation plans, scaled betterment funding and community hub/ satellite planning.

The submission took into consideration the extensive need of incorporating original Aboriginal tradition in land stewardship of the future.

To view the submissions or find out more information, head to the Back To The Future Website




Plans from the Back On Track Entry.

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