Railway Stations: Public Realm Gateways to Sustainable Futures of our Cities

Train stations are places of connection in our cities and are the gateways of urban space. They represent one of the most exciting places to experience. Some stations make great destinations offering shops, restaurants, museums and exhibition spaces to commuters.

While new architecture at railway stations acknowledge heritage, the urban spaces around them provide excellent public areas and rationalise functional needs. Grand spaces with monumental structures, including constant movement of people and trains makes for an exhilarating experience. Modern or historic, great train stations add another level of excitement in the regeneration of our cities. Adding into the mix of the sustainability paradigm, place making of railway stations transforms into sustainable urban centres and signature architecture, but how does it support an environmentally sustainable future?

The 6th International Urban Design Conference would like to welcome Phillip Roos of Sinclair Knight Merz and Deakin University who will be presenting this paper at the upcoming conference being held 9th-11th September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.

This paper reflects the journey of exploring the challenging situations of balancing the requirements between operational, functional, economic and innovative sustainable design solutions during the Flinders Street Station Design Competition in Melbourne. It highlights how the unique spatial, social and cultural circumstance of this world-renowned city railway station possesses specific resilient and sustainable design answers to a public realm and city space that challenge established thinking.

Phillip is a sessional academic at Deakin University, and is also the Global Practice Leader for Sustainable Design at Sinclair Knight Merz. He has been working as an architect, urban designer, researcher and advisor for over 24 years on an extensive range of projects internationally and in Australia. More recently he has been involved in advanced research projects relating to studies of sustainability and climate change resilience, including the identification of optimised design processes based on regenerative design and settlement pattern language theory.

If you would like to attend this seminar please click here to register.  Many other speakers and keynote presenters will be discussing topical issues and innovations in line with the conference theme “UrbanAgiNation” urbanisation | agitation | imagination will examine the Liveability, Productivity, Affordability and Efficiency of our Cities.  Click here to view the program.


I Can See the Light: Climate Based Daylight Modelling to Improve the Public Realm

Through the centuries the use of light has been fundamental in the design of cities and buildings. Filtering daylight into buildings, alleys and courtyards providing pleasant spaces as well as ensuring safety and maximising the functional use of public and private space.  In the built up urban fabric, with hard solid surfaces of buildings and infrastructure, increased lighting means increased heat gain within the space, resulting in the overheating of buildings, as well as the increase of the urban heat island effect.

The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Mr Stewart  Mann of Sinclair Knight Merz who will be delivering this co-authored paper at the upcoming conference 9th-11th September at Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.

Mr Mann will investigate the application of a Climate Based Daylight Modelling (CBDM) process that instead of using Standardised Sky factors applying the Climate Data based model for daylighting within internal and external buildings, and urban spaces. This technique is used to highlight and maximising daylight within the design of the public realm spaces in an urban environment, considering the integrated connection of internal and external spaces within buildings and the outdoor environment.

This use of actual climate data means that as cities are transformed from a carbon intensive to low or even positive carbon environments, CBDM can be used to show where energy generation can be optimised on buildings through to where it might be possible to install urban food production, and where public realm gathering spaces can be located. Using selected spaces in Melbourne as a case study, this paper will show through the use of these techniques how internal and external spaces can be transformed to help develop a low carbon city and a more productive, pleasant and functional urban environment.

Stewart Mann is currently a seasoned senior building services design manager at Sinclair Knight Merz in Australia with industry expertise covering a wide range of construction sectors including health, universities, advanced manufacturing, media and residential facilities. During his time in the UK, Stewart has been the engineering design manager on a number of projects. He has held active leadership, design, design management and research roles in a number of projects as both a building services designer and as the Research Lead in the Environmentally Sustainable Design Research Facility of De Montford University, Leicester.

Co-author Phillip Roös is the Global Practice Leader for Sustainable Design at Sinclair Knight Merz and he is also a sessional academic at Deakin University and is presenting at this event as well on Railway Stations: Public Realm Gateways to Sustainable Futures of our Cities. And Prof John Mardaljevic of Loughborough University who has been at the forefront of applying simulation tools to solve a wide range of novel and traditional lighting problems and pioneered the application of climate datasets for daylight and solar modelling.

If you would like to attend this seminar or any other of our specialist presentations please register to attend by simply clicking here.  Our conference program is available on our website or simply by clicking here and registrations are open now to attend this event.  Don’t miss out!!

Parramatta Green Grid

Green space is widely recognised as a key factor of liveability. While the reservation and development of green space has been a hallmark of planning world-wide, the focus of the Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney 2031 is predominantly on economic development, encompassing employment, housing, transport and connectivity between centres.

The Metropolitan Strategy predicts Parramatta to be the region’s fastest growing centre. As the second CBD in greater Sydney and with a focus on urban renewal, Parramatta will increasingly be characterised by medium and high density development. At the same time, the Strategy holds a vision for ‘balanced growth’, for Sydney to remain distinctive and inspiring and to continue to be one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Focusing on Parramatta, the Government Architect’s Office is currently investigating an open space framework to augment the Strategy, to provide open space for a growing population as well as the critical linkages required within major centres. The vision is to create an integrated network of interlinked, multi-purpose open spaces. It is through good and effective linkages to areas where people live, work and play that the benefits of green space are amplified beyond the immediate surroundings.

The challenge lies in balancing the competing demands for scarce land resources, between density and open space, between vibrant and active urban centres and access to recreation opportunities and ecosystem services. Moving beyond strategy, the framework puts policy into action. Investigating current and future deficiencies and opportunities, and working with a wide range of government stakeholders, the framework becomes an implementation plan that collaboratively and creatively delivers an appropriate quantum of quality, networked open spaces. It will ensure that future investments yield multiple benefits across areas such as public health, social sustainability, climate change mitigation, amenity, property values, leisure and recreation, ecological services and biodiversity conservation.

The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Barbara Schaffer of Government Architects Office, NSW who will present this paper at the upcoming conference 9th-11th September at Novotel Sydney Olympic Park. Barbara Schaffer has been Principal Landscape Architect in the Government Architects Office since 2006. With over twenty years of professional experience Barbara has worked on a diverse range of projects in both the public and private realm. Projects include the delivery of the Parklands at Sydney Olympic Park, the West Circular Quay Public Domain Revitalisation, the Sydney Fish Market Public Domain Revitalisation and the Meeting Place Precinct at Kamay Botany Bay National Park.

Would you like to attend Barbara’s presentation?  If so, register to attend here.  Or attend any of the other multitude of sessions being delivered at this year’s event entitled “UrbanAgiNation” urbanisation | agitation | imagination examining the Liveability, Productivity, Affordability and Efficiency of our Cities.  You can see the entire program here.

Timely, Orderly and Efficient Arrangement” of Public Facilities and Services: The Oregon Approach

Providing urban services and facilities plays a significant role in assuring adequate urban design. The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Mr Edward Sullivan
of Portland State University who will be presenting this article at the upcoming conference 9th – 11th September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.

Mr Sullivan will examine the evolution of planning policy in Oregon with respect to public facilities and services and the role to providing those services and facilities plays in urban design. Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal 11 involves the provision of public facilities and services. The aim of the Goal is to have cities and counties plan and develop “a timely, orderly and efficient arrangement of public facilities and services to serve as a framework for urban and rural development.”

Such plans must take into account the nature of the required facilities to determine the need for and timing of their development. Public facility and service extensions are one of the first steps to developing more intense urban areas, and then can serve as a method by which growth occurs in a timely and orderly fashion. When service extensions are coupled with capital improvements, public and private development decisions are made with added certainly because land owners know when and how much development may occur, and local officials can prepare budgets that anticipate levels of other support services.

Goal 11 requires that development of public facilities plans be a coordinated effort among affected local governments, special districts, and state agencies. Agencies providing funding for sewer, transportation, water, and solid waste facilities identify in their coordinated programs how they will coordinate that funding with other state agencies, and with the public facility plans of cities and counties. This presentation will address the enduring public facility and service issues of: coordinated planning; financing; timing; urbanization and protection of resource lands; maintenance; and the role of providing these services and facilities play in urban design. The article details the manner by which Oregon addresses these common problems.

Edward J. Sullivan is an owner in the Portland office of Garvey Schubert Barer, and specializes in planning, administrative, and state and local government law. He also teaches planning law at Northwestern College of Law at Lewis and Clark College and Portland State University and has written numerous law review articles on land use and administrative law. Mr. Sullivan has taught Planning Law and Administrative Law at the undergraduate, graduate and law school levels since 1972. In addition, he serves as 9th Circuit North Regional Vice-President of the International Municipal Attorneys Association (“IMLA”) since 1992 and has served as Chair of the Land Development Planning and Zoning Section. Mr. Sullivan is a member of the American Planning Association Amicus Curiae Committee and has also served as Chair of the American Bar Association Section on State and Local Government Law, and currently chairs the Section’s Comprehensive Planning Subcommittee.

If you would like to attend Mr Sullivan’s presentation click here.  Registrations to the The 6th International Urban Design Conference are open and a copy of the program is available online.

Melbourne-Manhattan: Rhetoric and Response

In 2012 the Victorian Planning Minister announced a “bold new vision for Melbourne’s central business district”, proposing a considerable expansion to the capital city zone and inviting public debate around the nature of urban growth in Melbourne.

The plan intended to alleviate pressure in existing suburbs by concentrating intensive development within the new city footprint, maintaining the liveability of established residential areas while providing new opportunities for Melbourne to be a world-class city. Beyond a basic map delineating the extent of the new zone, very little visual material accompanied the announcement and few details provided about what it would achieve. The ‘vision’ was propagandised in mainstream media; the rhetoric was alarmist.

Under the plan, development controls would be “abolished” resulting in “wall-to-wall skyscrapers” and a “Manhattan-style metropolis five times its present size”. A shallow and reactionary dialogue ensued, largely criticising the present city’s failings and the government’s motivations for the zoning change. There was a notable lack of debate about the future of Melbourne.

The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Mr Tom Morgan of MADA, Monash University who will present this paper at the event running from 9th to 11 September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  Tom will speculate on the potential realisation of the Melbourne-Manhattan provocation and examine the kinds of density, amenity, services and infrastructure that could be delivered and how it might alter the built form and quality of the city.

Importantly, it questions what it would mean for the broader metropolitan area should a Melbourne-Manhattan come about. Through a design-led research process, the authors reveal alternative urban conditions that challenge conventional strategies for delivering sustainable urban growth through poly-centric activity areas, linear transport corridors and urban fringe expansion. The speculative scenarios ‘unpack’ the rhetoric of the Minister’s announcement and subsequent media reports as a way of examining notions of quality and liveability in contemporary cities.

Finally, the research asks, what could instigate a more ingenuous public debate about these complex urban issues?

You may register to attend Tom Morgan’s seminar or any other of the sessions being delivered under the conference theme of “UrbanAgiNation”.  Simply click here to register your attendance.  The full program can be viewed here.