The concepts of ‘central business districts’ and ‘industrial’ ‘employment areas’ should be questioned for two reasons. The possible effects of the NBN and ICT more broadly on spatial decision-making has generally been overlooked.
Secondly, the exclusion of residential from these CBD areas, and commercial and residential from centrally located ‘industrial areas’ can be seen as holding onto redundant urban configurations, with little investigation of the efficacy of these policies, or of the consequences and potentials that might result from their removal.
Reservation of land in centres for ‘commercial office uses’ with high floor space ratios with the expectation that businesses and institutions will invest in these places and that a ‘polycentric’ city will emerge has failed in many instances. In parallel, policies for industrial areas have excluded residential and commercial uses, despite the finessing the definition of ‘industrial’ to include bulky goods retail. These policies, founded on antiquated notions of ‘zoning’ are derived from a mechanistic view of the city that is as odds with the heterogeneous mosaic of activities and living and working patterns that exist and continue to emerge. The policies can also be seen to be protective of the vested property interests.
The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Professor Roderick Simpson of University of Sydney who will deliver this presentation at the event 11th – 9th September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park. Prof Simpson will examine examples of policies, precincts and research from Australia and internationally to postulate possible alternative futures for a number of areas in Sydney if current planning policies were removed: high density residential in accessible centres with zero car ownership and mixed-use mixed-up ‘enterprise precincts’ with very few planning controls in place of ‘industrial’ areas.
A shift in the way we conceive centres and industrial areas, and the way we hold onto conventional office and retail space could result in a city that is more adaptive and accommodating of the heterogeneous living and working conditions that are emerging.
Associate Professor Roderick Simpson is Director of the Urban Design Program in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney and principal of simpson+wilson whose work ranges across architecture, urban design and strategic planning. In 2007 and 2008 he led the urban design and spatial planning for the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Strategy which showed how the City of Sydney could significantly improve its environmental performance and liveability.
If you’d like to see Prof Simpson’s presentation you can register to attend the conference by clicking here.