Good Bones, a Soft Heart: Regional Centres from the Ground Up

What is it that makes regional cities so great to work and live in? The pleasures of ‘urbia’ without the pain? Maybe it’s the more tangible connection to place and community that is so wonderful – the setting in landscape, the scale, the general ease of people. In the regional cities that are growing, there is a strong economic and environmental imperative to densify, consolidate, and revitalise centres.

In our experience, regional communities want some of the things that capital cities offer (particularly in retail, culture and economic opportunity) but don’t want the same places. So then it’s about recognizing the uniqueness of each place – getting back to the bare bones to uncover and promote a kind of Regional Urbanism – or is it Urban Regionalism?

Regionalism and particularly ‘Critical Regionalism’ is a recurrent theme in architecture, not so much explored in urban design formularies like New Urbanism, however as an approach it has much to offer. Ljubljana in Slovenia is probably the best example of where considered urban design has transformed a regional city. As a practice of ‘regionalists’ at Architectus Brisbane, over several years we have been building up an approach to designing regional centres which stress the power of place.

In all instances the ‘givens’ have been intensification, economic development, consolidation and liveability. We have sought to overlay, within this overall pattern of intensification, a rich layer of spaces and places that respond to climate and people’s relationship to nature, supporting the informal community interactions that are so treasured in smaller cities.

Caroline Stalker, Director of Architectus Brisbane
Caroline Stalker, Director of Architectus Brisbane

The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Caroline Stalker, Director of Architectus Brisbane presenting this paper at the upcoming event 9th to 11th of September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  Caroline will show how working ‘from the ground up’ brings together an important layer of place-creation to the drivers ‘liveability, efficiency, and productivity’, discussing examples in Wodonga, Townsville, and yes, Ljubljana!

Caroline Stalker is a Director of Architectus Brisbane. Her career over 25 years has demonstrated a consistent commitment to making engaging people places. Her ability to work across scales, from the strategic through to detailed delivery is reflected in her project experience which spans master planning town centres, new towns, university and schools, and the detailed design and delivery of public spaces, community buildings, and housing. Her project work has attracted both Australian Institute of Architecture and Planning Institute of Australia awards. Caroline has served on and chaired numerous awards juries in architecture and urban design, is an Honorary Life Fellow of the Urban Design Alliance of Queensland, and is also a member of The Queensland Board for Urban Places.

You can catch Caroline at this event as registrations are still open.  Simply click here and register to attend The 6th International Urban Design Conference.  The program is available to view by clicking here.


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