Minding the Gap: Re-developing railway embankment areas

Urban infill
Urban infill

Urban infill is being increasingly implemented by local governments around the world to mitigate unsustainable suburban sprawl, tackle the rising costs of inner-city living and re-vitalise decaying urban areas. Through a case study this paper explores the viability of an urban infill development within the inner-northern Brisbane suburbs of Albion and Wooloowin which have been dissected by the rail line and impacted by rail yards which occupy valuable inner-city land. We propose strategies for not only overcoming traffic issues and spatial barriers, but for using hybrid urban infill types to consolidate a Transit Oriented Development or TOD.

By doing so, existing marginal and obsolete urban areas may be used to promote sustainable communities through densification, improved connectivity and mixed use.

Holistic Transport Strategies

In recent years Brisbane has benefited from development of significant transport infrastructure – particularly prioritized busways and vehicular tunnels relieving pressure on existing surface roads. Augmentation of the existing heavy rail network is also underway. However, so far, we have not achieved optimal integration of these transport initiatives with the pre-existing urban fabric. This problem of integration is not new. There are numerous examples of transport infrastructure in our city bisecting neighbourhoods, sterilizing large chunks of real estate and creating remnant government owned land parcels that sit idle for decades. Interestingly the current Queensland Government is undertaking an audit of its land portfolio and is identifying land assets which are underperforming and which could be made to work harder for the Queensland economy, either through disposal or development in partnership with the private sector. In addition the Government’s South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009 – 2031 highlights the importance of dense mixed-use infill development in proximity to transport corridors. These factors provide the impetus for the proposition discussed in this paper.

Ricardo Madrid and Sally McKenzie from Neylan Architecture in Brisbane presented this paper at this year’s International Urban Design Conference in Adelaide. Download the full paper  Minding the Gap: Re-developing railway embankment areas

KEYWORDS: Urban infill, Transit Oriented Development, sustainable, densification, mixed use

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