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Orrangutan with a dream

Photo: Jon Coe

"The future is not someplace we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made, and the making of those pathways changes both the maker and the destination."

Dr. Peter Ellyard,

Commission for the Future



We provide a range of flexible planning and design services and will tailor them to your unique needs, small or large. While we are known for innovation, we seek concepts that are buildable because a plan is only as good as its implementation.

Vision and Concept Workshops
How do you start a master plan process? What services and approaches are available? What information do you need and how do you and your staff prepare? What are the major trends in your field? How do you want to position your institution: “cutting-edge”, “best practice” or “tried and true”? A two-day vision workshop will get you started with a strong direction and growing understanding of the planning process and how to use it for the best long-term results.

Site Analysis and Feasibility Studies

Design group on site.

Photo: Jon Coe

Perhaps you have a vision of what you want, but are not sure how to proceed. What is the best site for your new exhibit? How large or expensive would it be? Perhaps you need a design concept, project site and budget for fundraising purposes. A site and feasibility workshop is a good way to start.

Pre-Planning and Programming
Many clients believe they can save money by preparing information themselves in advance. Information, such as pre-existing studies and plans and evaluation of present facilities is best collected in-house. However, development of project briefs, preliminary concepts and requests for proposals (RFP) can take inexperienced staff a long time with much work and time wasted. You can use our thirty years of project experience to help you make the most of your in-house resources.

Master Planning
Master planning can mean everything from a brief, flexible concept plan to a definitive roadmap to the future. Which type of plan is best for your needs? Today most institutions favor broad-based, renewable plans for physical development which are fully integrated with “bottom line” business and strategic plans. While design goals should be explicit, project-level design is left to the future. Plans are intended to be updated regularly to meet future needs. For example, Woodland Park Zoo developed a great and innovative Long-Range Plan in 1976 and then updated it in 1999.

Planning and Design Workshops

Jon faciliating a workshop.

Photo: Louisville Zoo

Whatever form of planning you chose, the plan is only as good as the constituency which forms to sustain it. Significant participation by stakeholders helps develop the staff and board member support groups who will be asked to deliver the planning results. We are highly experienced workshop facilitators as well as planners, and we guide and focus staff involvement, making the most of their passion, experience and time with a variety of novel approaches through enjoyable, productive processes.

For work in North America, we are pleased to be affiliated with CLRdesign, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Behind the scenes holding areas.

Photo: Louisville Zoo


Implementation Strategies
How do you prioritize needs and opportunities to advance strategic goals while maximizing return on your investments in capital and effort? Experienced, strategic thinking is needed to guide even, sustained attendance and revenue growth, while avoiding the “boom-and-bust” cycle which often follows major development.

Design of Exhibits and Support Facilities
Do you know the “state-of-the-art” in facilities for primates and great apes, elephants, birds or large carnivore? Do you know which trends in design, husbandry and education will affect your projects performance in the near future? We don’t know all the answers, but we do know many of the right questions.
    • How do we significantly improve the well-being of the animals in our collections?  
    • How do we provide incentives for staff improvement?
    • How do we actively involve guests in the zoo experience, get them close to animals and, motivate them to take affirmative conservation action?

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© Copyright 2004 Jon Coe Design Pty Ltd  –

250 Mt. Riddell Road, Healesville VIC 3777 Australia – +03 5962 1339