Speculate Research Experience projects

Speculate is a collaboration between students, researchers and the City. Now in its eighth year, SPECULATE is a summer research experience program where University of Tasmania (UTAS) Architecture and Design School graduates collaborate with City of Hobart staff to explore place-based urban issues and opportunities for our city.

The program allows UTAS graduates to apply their knowledge and skills to develop visions of what our cities and communities might become. The reports are designed to apply contemporary design theory and practice to promote discussion and inspire debate about the future of our cities and places.

A broad range of City of Hobart work areas have hosted projects, including Infrastructure, Planning, Place Making, Community Development, Cultural Programs, Design Services and Parks and Recreation.


GPO Box 503 Hobart 7000
03 6238 2711

How did SPECULATE originate?

In 2009, the University of Tasmania partnered with the City of Hobart to undertake field work that would form the background to the public life study Hobart: a City with People in Mind by Jan Gehl (Gehl Architects).

Building on this relationship, in 2012 UTAS School of Architecture and Design commenced a series of collaborative research projects in partnership with the City of Hobart.

How does the SPECULATE research experience program work?

The program is undertaken through the UTAS Architecture and Design School with support from the City of Hobart.

Each year City of Hobart staff work with UTAS academics to develop project ideas and students are assigned to projects according to their particular skills and interests. The projects are undertaken each year during the summer academic break. SPECULATE also fosters professional learning and collaboration by enabling students to work in small groups at the City of Hobart, where they are advised and supported by Council professional and UTAS academic staff.

What do the SPECULATE projects look like?

The SPECULATE program provides students with a unique collaborative research opportunity to explore through design research, real-world urban issues.

As the work is framed and supervised by City of Hobart staff, the research is usually highly relevant to current issues that City of Hobart teams are considering or working through. The outcomes of this collaborative process have the potential to be innovative, exploring complex issues with novel thinking, testing and 'speculative' proposals.

Each project is different, but some have common themes or evolving threads of enquiry.

Projects have been undertaken within many teams across a broad range of City of Hobart work areas.

When will further SPECULATE reports be available?

UTAS and the City of Hobart are working to prepare past SPECULATE reports for publication. The first document available for publication is called Expanding City: underutilised sites. This project was undertaken by students in the summer of 2017-18.

In coming months we intend to share more SPECULATE reports.