A review of the impact light rail is having on the City of the Gold Coast – lessons for other city’s considering light rail

In a years time people will be using light rail on the Gold Coast to move between work and home; study and play; and dinner and drinks. This will have enormous ramifications on the lifestyle of locals and the experience of visitors, allowing the city to contract and expand at the same time. However, the successful effort to secure funding from the three levels of government for city building transport infrastructure has generated change even before the system is up and running.

This is best demonstrated by the City’s expanding ambition evidenced by planning to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games and iconic projects such as the Broadwater Marine Project and Gold Coast Cultural Precinct. Culturally, we are also seeing change with a recognition that the City is rapidly evolving from a series of coastal villages joined by a single road in the 1960’s to a City with grand plans for a comprehensive network of light rail in the next twenty years. In the built environment, significant transformation is underway with an emphasis on people-focussed place making and a review of the amount of space allocated to private vehicles.

This is complemented by market driven forces adopting a style of architecture that complements the light rail system in the form of plazas and retail frontages. Similarly, the introduction of light rail is increasing the level of “urbanity” through the heart of the city forcing a re-think across policy settings such as public realm, alfresco dining, built form, public art, private investment and car parking.

We thank Mr Dan Barr who recently spoke on this topic at the 6th  Making Cities Liveable Conference was held in conjunction with the Sustainability Conference “SustainableTransformation held from the 17th – 19th June 2013 at Novotel  Melbourne St Kilda.  He detailed the changes that the introduction of light rail is having on the City of the Gold Coast including the expected and unexpected; and the positive and negative. Click here for full story.

The 6th International Urban Design Conference will be held at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park from Monday the 9th to Wednesday 11th of September 2013 where similar topics will be discussed such as NEW PARADIGMS FOR THE 21st CENTURY AUSTRALIAN CITY, being presented by Mr Sasha Ivanovich of FHSIA Architects PL, WA and many others.  Registrations are still open click here to attend.

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