How Greater Springfield Challenged the Norms

The 10th International Urban Design Conference will be held at Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, Gold Coast, Queensland from Monday 13 – Tuesday 14 November 2017. 

Ms Raynuha Sinnathamby, Managing Director, Springfield Land Corporation will be attending this year’s Conference, discussing “How greater Springfield challenged the norms”.

Raynuha Sinnathamby

Greater Springfield could have been just a distant vision:  The story of a person  who boldly imagined  a city of the future that never came to be.  Instead, that dream with a difference empowered a relentless ambition, that 25 years later has been shared by many and which has irrevocably transformed a region of South East Queensland into a  multi‑billion dollar contributor to the State’s economy with a place firmly fixed on the national stage.

With that as a backdrop, it’s difficult to believe that a disused and unwanted former forestry operation, spanning 2860ha right on Brisbane’s doorstep, was of very little interest when what is now the Greater Springfield landholding came to the market.  But  in 1992, that’s what it was, until Springfield Land Corporation saw it and  a compelling opportunity to do something special.

A new city, a new beginning” was what the original slogan promised and Greater Springfield would have to challenge plenty of norms to deliver it.

That meant seizing every available opportunity, inventing others when they didn’t exist, and harvesting the often thin silver lining from plenty of clouds, in order to progress vision into reality and prevent that dream from becoming a nightmare.

It’s been a consistent and winning strategy which has resulted in a budding city bursting with a diverse and aspirational population, around a world award winning  master plan interconnected  to health, education and underpinned by technology.

Greater Springfield is where no one believed people would live, learn, work and play and yet it has disrupted that thinking and knocked down many barriers to become all of that, as well as an emerging  global attraction for investment and centre for out‑of‑the‑box thinking.

The 2017 International Urban Design Conference is an opportunity for design professionals to exchange ideas and experiences, to be creative and visionary and to contribute to redesigning our urban futures.

Find out more here.

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Psychogeography: A Way To Delve Into The Soul Of A City

Psychogeography, as the term suggests, is the intersection of psychology and geography. It focuses on our psychological experiences of the city, and reveals or illuminates forgotten, discarded, or marginalised aspects of the urban environment.

Both the theory and practice of psychogeography have been around since 1955, when French theorist Guy Debord coined the term. While it emerged from the Situationist International movement in France, the practice has far-reaching implications. It’s relevant, for instance, in contemporary Sydney.

Psychogeographers advocate the act of becoming lost in the city. This is done through the dérive, or “drift”.

Because purposeful walking has an agenda, we do not adequately absorb certain aspects of the urban world. This is why the drift is essential to psychogeography; it better connects walkers to the city.

Psychogeographers idolise the flâneur, a figure conceived in 19th-century France by Charles Baudelaire and popularised in academia by Walter Benjamin in the 20th century. A romantic stroller, the flâneur wandered about the streets, with no clear purpose other than to wander.

In his 2013 Paris Review article, In Praise of the Flâneur, Bijan Stephen observes that the use of the flâneur “as a vehicle for the examination of the conditions of modernity” fell out of favour in the ensuing decades. Stephen poses the question:

But as we grow inexorably busier – due in large part to the influence of technology – might flânerie be due for a revival?

psychogeography of a city
Photo: article supplied

Walking as an act of insurgency

The revival had already begun, thanks to popular contemporary psychogeographers, notably Iain Sinclair and Will Self (whose book ‘Psychogeography’ was published ten years ago).

In his book London Orbital, Iain Sinclair describes a walk around the M25 and the “unloved outskirts of the city”. He observes:

I had to walk around London’s orbital motorway; not on it, but within what the Highways Agency calls the ‘acoustic footprints’. The soundstream. Road has replaced river. The M25 does the job of the weary Thames, shifting contraband, legal and illegal cargoes, offering a picturesque backdrop to piracy of every stamp.

Sinclair describes his walk as having a “ritual purpose” to “exorcise the unthinking malignancy of the Dome, to celebrate the sprawl of London”. He also describes walking as a virtue.

Self sees walking as “a means of dissolving the mechanised matrix which compresses the space-time continuum”. He describes the solitary walker as “an insurgent against the contemporary world, an ambulatory time traveller”.

Psychogeography is therefore useful in showing that walking is not only an art form in itself. It is also crucial in understanding the complication between the histories and myths of urban landscapes.

This article was originally published by The Conversation.

Click here to read the entire article.

Melbourne’s apartment boom overshadows government projections

There are 42 more buildings proposed for the CBD on the planning minister’s desk (The Age)

Melbourne’s residential apartment boom is set to leave the central business district, Southbank and Docklands flooded with dwellings far outweighing the requirements predicted by the state government.

A research project by RMIT over the past nine months has found there are about 85,000 apartments and new residences either built or in the pipeline in Melbourne’s central city area in the decade between 2011 and 2021.

The government’s own Victoria in Future study, released in May, shows about 43,000 new dwellings needed for the area over the period covered by the RMIT analysis.

However, Planning Minister Matthew Guy continues to sign off on skyscrapers in the city and at the new suburb of Fishermans Bend, and last week shrugged off concerns there was a looming oversupply problem for Melbourne.

On Sunday, his spokeswoman said: “Any suggestion the government has or will approve anything like 85,000 apartments in central Melbourne is utterly false and grossly misleading.”

Read the full story by Clay Lucas and Timna Jacks, The Age on 29 September 2014.

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.

Urban Trends in City Making

Cities are subject to a never ending stream of influences that impact the way we live, how we move around and how we are governed.

With over 50% of the world’s population now living in urban centres and an expected 70% by 2050, cities and how they work – or should work, have never been such a fascinating subject whether at the dinner party, in a magazine, at conferences or government policy forums.

In the past city making has been the domain of the professional planner, architect or policy maker. Current trends illustrate that while their time has not quite past, they are having to make room for a wide range of trends that consciously (or subconsciously) are impacting the evolution our urban environments.

Ms Kylie Legge aims to share key ideas, movement and influences on city making and urban living. Trends reflect what people care about, what they value and where we as a community are moving towards. Some trends, like the rise of bike riding are part of common consciousness, however others like the reasons behind the global migration of talent, will be fresh information to most.

Ms  Kylie  Legge, Director, Place Partners, Sydney, NSW will speak at the 5th International Urban Design Conference – The Hilton on the Park, Melbourne, Australia from the 10th to the 12th of September – 2012

Email: conference@urbandesignaustralia.com.au | URL: http://urbandesignaustralia.com.au