Politicians Step Forward With New Plans To See Brisbane Go Live

LNP Leader Tim Nicholls has come forward with a commitment to fast-track the proposed Brisbane Live arena project led should he emerge victorious next election.

In a move they describe as making Brisbane a more attractive investment and tourist location, an LNP Government will grant AEG Ogden and their partners an exclusive mandate to develop the project.

According to The Sunday Mail, tenders would also be invited for a new university campus and the LNP had already received expressions of interest from Australian institutions.

Photo: article supplied

The LNP’s vision for the project included a new university campus, a 17,000 seat arena, film and production studios, a world-class public square, a new commercial and residential precinct, 12 hectares of new public space, a health hub and new pedestrian access to other entertainment spaces in Brisbane City.

A purpose-built entertainment and education hub located in the CBD would potentially complement the Queens Wharf Development, together with the cultural and arts precinct at South Bank and Suncorp Stadium. Mr Nicholls believes the updated plans for the project, now dubbed the Brisbane Entertainment and Education Precinct (B.E.E.P), would deliver integrated links between these important spaces to create a truly modern and strategically linked city.

This article was originally published by The Urban Developer.

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Singapore to Provide Inspiration for Darwin Change After City Deal

Singapore will serve as the inspiration for Darwin’s transformation into a major international tropical city, as Chief Minister Michael Gunner leads a delegation to the Asian country this week.

Mr Gunner said the seven-person delegation would examine Singapore’s urban, green architecture and heat mitigation measures to incorporate into the Government’s $100 million Darwin CBD revitalisation plan.

Image: article provided

The trip follows the City Deal memorandum of understanding signed with the Federal Government this week.

“Singapore is a green oasis that thrives in a humid tropical climate and we can learn a lot from them about transforming Darwin, particularly in relation to using cutting-edge architecture, building vibrant centres and designing heat mitigation strategies,” Mr Gunner said.

“The delegation will meet with world-renowned architect Richard Hassell and connect with urban renewal project leaders with a view to use lessons learned in the Darwin CBD redevelopment.”

On Friday, the Sunday Territorian revealed the City Deal MOU signed with the Federal Government could see $100 million in federal funding ­invested in Darwin.

The PM’s Office said the deal would “help transform the Territory’s capital into a world-class tropical tourist and cultural destination”.

The City Deal requires all three levels of government to work together to develop priority reforms in investment and planning for the Darwin CBD.

This article was originally published by NTNews.com.au.

Continue reading the entire article here.

Big data is adding a whole new dimension to public spaces

Most of us encounter public spaces in our daily lives: whether it’s physical space (a sidewalk, a bench, or a road), a visual element (a panorama, a cityscape) or a mode of transport (bus, train or bike share). But over the past two decades, digital technologies such as smart phones and the internet of things are adding extra layers of information to our public spaces, and transforming the urban environment.

Traditionally, public spaces have been carefully designed by urban planners and architects, and managed by private companies or public bodies. The theory goes that people’s attention and behaviour in public spaces can be guided by the way that architects plan the built environment. Take, for example, Leicester Square in London: the layout of green areas, pathways and benches makes it clear where people are supposed to walk, sit down and look at the natural elements. The public space is a given, which people receive and use within the terms and guidelines provided.

While these ideas are still relevant today, information is now another key material in public spaces. It changes the way that people experience the city. Uber shows us the position of its closest drivers, even when they’re out of sight; route-finding apps such as Google Maps helps us to navigate through unfamiliar territory; Pokemon Go places otherworldly creatures on the pavement right before our eyes.

But we’re not just receiving information – we’re also generating it. Whether you’re “liking” something on Facebook, searching Google, shopping online, or even exchanging an email address for Wi-Fi access; all of the data created by these actions are collected, stored, managed, analysed and brokered to generate monetary value.

Originally Published by The Conversation continue reading here.

Advice From A Global City Expert

Did you know that 60% of the cities we will need by 2030 are not yet built? Thinking about this is both exciting and daunting (often not in equal measure). ‘Smart city’ is today’s trendy buzzword, but it is one that has various meanings depending on who you ask. Many believe that by creating smart cities we will inevitably address the challenges that our future cities face, but is this really the case? Are smart cities necessarily sustainable?Agneta Persson

With over 35 years’ experience and as WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Global Director for Future Cities,  Agneta Persson has a vested interest in the future of the world’s cities. She has had a significant hand in a number of ground-breaking projects in her home country of Sweden, including the Royal Seaport in Stockholm – a place which is expected to be fossil-fuel free by 2030 and the new Brunnshög district in Lund, which is set to be one of the most advanced scientific hubs in the world.

But if you ask Agneta about smart cities, she’ll tell you that she’s not particularly fond of the phrase.

“I prefer the term ‘wise city’ because ‘smart’ is not necessarily best. Simply adding resources to cities for the purpose of making them smart won’t always provide added value.

“A sustainable city is always smart, but a smart city is not necessarily sustainable.”

So, how can we go about assessing the value of adding resources?

“You have to start with an early multidisciplinary analysis, keeping in mind the development goals you want to achieve. Then you establish what the most important areas are; is it infrastructure, is it property? From this you find common themes, identifying where there are synergies between different disciplines and what type of resources we should try to promote as well as identifying any conflicts of interests which need to be dealt with.”

When done well this offers a possible solution to many of the challenges that our cities face; one of those being climate change, which Agneta believes to be the most pressing issue facing our global cities.

The power of the people

Speaking to Agneta about future cities, you’ll note a reoccurring theme – the importance of effective stakeholder engagement, particularly in the planning of new developments.

“It is always important to understand who the most powerful driver is and what’s in it for them so you can develop and present a solid business case when starting discussions. This way you can ensure that the work that you’re doing will provide meaningful value.

“We also need to ensure that we plan around the citizen. In our industry we tend to assume a lot about what people want and how they want it. But we need to understand their preferences, and be more proactive in talking to them.’

Such proactivity has been successfully practised in WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff Canada where they have implemented a ‘tactical engagement’ program, as Agneta explains.

“The program allows us to analyse specific demographic groups affected by a proposed development and enables us to engage with them in a manner that is suitable and convenient for them. For instance, setting up a 7pm meeting in a council hall would not be useful if the key demographic you wanted to speak to was working mothers.

“Tactical engagement enables us to find where our key demographic is so we can meet with them to discuss their view and what’s important to them. This is an ideal situation because both parties leave the meeting better informed.’” Aside from citizens, Agneta also talks about the benefits of fostering for greater collaboration between different stakeholders including property owners, infrastructure owners, developers, architects, government, traffic planners, businesses and the academic world.

Sustainability in Sweden

Sweden is often hailed as the world leader in sustainable urban planning and design. In a country where landfill is illegal, city planners have been very resourceful, creating a system where waste can be used to produce energy.

Together with Sweden’s Green Building Council, WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff developed an ‘integrated planning method’ for development that has been widely adopted throughout the country.

“The method is very powerful as it offers the possibility to reduce resource needs. It also assists towards identifying synergies and any possible conflicts of interest early on, avoiding future complications and associated costs.

“For instance in energy where we work a lot, the starting point is looking at the amount of energy we need, not how much we can produce.  First we start with energy efficiency in transport, and buildings, industry and infrastructure and then in the transmission and production of energy.

“We can create a circular economy with closed loops, where for instance we can make biogas, which can be used as fuel for vehicles from the organic waste. The remaining waste could then be used for incineration for electricity and heating or cooling. If we require additional energy supply, it should be produced from renewable sources; wind energy, solar, hydro power – whatever is deemed best.”

Agneta knows a thing or two about energy. She had a significant role in planning for the highly energy-efficient district of Brunnshög, Lund, chosen as the most appropriate location to house the world’s largest particular accelerator.

View the original article from The Urban Developer here.

Talking Point: City design key to future way of life

IT MAY seem obvious that most people live in cities, but it has only been true for less than a decade. Humanity has previously been a rural species.

In 1800 just 3 per cent of people lived in cities, and it was still only 14 per cent in 1900. Cities remain a novelty in the scheme of things, and we are still learning. For all its magic, city life is full of mistakes, mishaps and misery.

When I was a boy living in the country, we thought that technology could bring the urban utopia everyone dreamed of, with all the blessings of living en masse and none of the pitfalls.

It did bring benefits, but Dickens’s 19th-century London lives on in cities everywhere, in the form of isolation, polarisation and inequity. Such human factors are the focus of a big international meeting in October, along with some very 21st-century issues, disaster and climate resilience.

There have been just two previous Habitat conferences, at 20-year intervals. This year in Quito, Ecuador, some 25,000 politicians, mayors, academics, planners, activists, community advocates and business people will put together a new UN urban agenda for coming decades.

How cities look — the grand vistas, monuments and planning schemes so beloved of developers and politicians — is unlikely to figure on the Quito agenda. The focus will be on how cities can better serve the needs of inhabitants, rich and poor.

Its starting point will be 17 landmark sustainable development goals, a 15-year plan signed a year ago by Australia and other UN member nations. Number 11 of these goals aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

Urban ethics are a big talking point, centred on social inequity. In poorer countries, vast and rising gaps between poor and rich have resulted in one in three people living in a slum, while the rich, with government support, turn once-public land into gated communities.

Inequity, exacerbated by harsh treatment of intruders caught in gated suburbs and the touting of slum clearances as developments, threatens a city’s social fabric and economic viability. How cities confront another threat to sustainability, climate change, is also an equity issue. Rich people have resources to fall back on when extreme weather or rising seas threaten a community, but the less well-off are entitled to believe that authorities will look after their interests too.

The cynical view is that all strategic plans, from local government all the way up to the sustainable development goals, Habitat III and the 2015 Paris climate summit, are just devices to help leaders feel good while avoiding solid commitments.

According to this view, while ordinary people may feel they are being represented in the processes, and while governments invite comment on their plans, public thinking that runs counter to a chosen direction is quietly ignored.

But government should not be about self-interest, and the rest of us, armed with high-minded global declarations, are not without power. If ethical urbanisation, ethical anything, is to get its day in the sun, we need to ensure people we elect feel that power.

Peter Boyer began journalism at the Mercury in the 1960s. He has written about climate science for many years. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to science communication.

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