From Brownfield to Green Walls: The Creation of Central Park

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.

Dr. Stanley Quek and Nicholas Wolff from Greencliff will be at this year’s Conference, discussing the origins of the awarding winning Central Park project in Sydney, developed by Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House.

Working at Frasers in 2005 they identified the outstanding opportunity presented by the then vast Carlton and United Brewery site, bordering Chippendale and possessing a 400m frontage to Broadway, being the main western approach to the CBD. The property was in the process of being vacated and put up for tender by the long-term owner of the site, Fosters Group.

On the property was a ramshackled series of warehouses, administration buildings, powerhouses, a number of former public streets and a collection of mid-19th century terrace houses  – all with varying degrees of heritage significance and spread across some 5.8Ha. Having secured the property, Frasers faced substantial negative sentiment from much of the local community, a revolving door of state planning ministers, little initial support for the project at the local government level and a Part 3A Concept Plan approval in place for a masterplan which had its own unique challenges.

Stanley and Nicholas will outline the strategic thinking and actions –  including a commitment to international design excellence, a full and frank engagement process with stakeholders, a unique marketing strategy and an unwavering commitment to the inclusion of leading environmental sustainability initiatives and major public art installations – all of which led ultimately, to reversing the negative sentiment and turning the project into the extraordinary success it is today.

This year the International Urban Design Conference offers optional tours available on Wednesday 15 November. These will include visiting two of the precincts that have been designed and built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast in April 2018.

Find out more here.

Advertisements

K2K: Integrating Infrastructure Delivery with Urban Planning

Mrs Stella Agagiotis, Coordinator Strategic Planning at Randwick City Council will be joining us this November at the 2017 International Urban Design Conference, discussing “K2K: Integrating Infrastructure Delivery with Urban Planning”.

Kensington and Kingsford town centres in Sydney’s East are undergoing major transformation with the Sydney CBD to South East Light Rail under construction, scheduled to open in 2019. Not only will this new transport infrastructure be a key driver of population growth, but it will also create opportunities for public domain improvements that will shape the character and function of both town centres.

Randwick City Council has undertaken an innovative and proactive approach to managing both short and long term change and planning for the future of the two centres, recognising that the precinct can benefit from having greater accessibility and planning for improvements to local infrastructure, urban design excellence, sustainability, innovation, new public spaces, green streets and buildings and diverse and affordable housing.

In the short term, collaboration between Council and the NSW Government has delivered temporary public domain interventions (such as Meeks St Plaza and a creative public art program) to improve the public domain and support the local economy during construction of the light rail.

To address the corridor’s long term planning needs, a strategic vision has been established through an International Urban Design Competition that called for fresh ideas to enhance the community’s quality of life, create sustainable growth and drive economic prosperity.

The design competition process, which recently won the Greater Sydney Commission’s inaugural award in 2017 for “A Great Plan”, was undertaken with a high degree of community participation ensuring that outcomes would reflect local aspirations for the town centres.

Council’s bold planning and consultation process has established a best practice approach to integrating infrastructure delivery with urban planning to create well-designed and liveable places.

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. This year there are optional tours available on Wednesday 15 November. These will include visiting two of the precincts that have been designed and built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast in April 2018.

Find out more here.

Design Competitions and the “Design Dividend” in Central Sydney

Good design delivers a variety of public benefits. The so-called “design dividend” links these benefits to positive financial uplift for property interests resulting from superior design. But what happens when competitive design processes enter the picture?

200 George Street, Sydney (Developer: Mirvac). Resulting from a design excellence competition won by architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, this commercial project was completed in 2016. Its advanced sustainable design features has seen it secure high environmental ratings: 6 star Green Star – Office Design, 6 star Green Star – Office As Built; 5 star NABERS Energy and 4 star NABERS Water.

An Australian Research Council-funded project led by researchers from UNSW Sydney and the University of Canberra is examining the City of Sydney Council’s Competitive Design Policy. This policy uniquely requires major private projects in Sydney’s CBD to undergo a design procurement process based on jury-based evaluation of alternative designs. A discretionary floor-space bonus becomes available for achieving “Design Excellence” via this route.

With this policy now in operation for 15 years, roughly 40 major completed or approved projects in Sydney’s CBD have successfully come through a competitive design process. This provides a unique opportunity to examine the potential of good design – and, particularly, competitive design – to lift the bar for both public and private interests. To arrive at an overall assessment of the value-add from these arrangements, the team’s research draws from Council records, interviews with built environment professionals including developers, architects and planners, fieldwork, and examination of industry judgements of the outcomes.

Although the team echoes previously identified difficulties in defining and quantifying the benefits of design excellence, there is evidence to largely substantiate a consensus in perception that Sydney’s competitive design policy has generated significant public and private benefits in aesthetic, functional, design and sustainability terms. Notably, the policy has diversified and elevated the field of architectural firms participating in designing Central Sydney, and has established common ground for Council staff, design experts and developers to work collaboratively towards better outcomes.

Securing design excellence through competition emerges as an innovative regulatory approach to help ‘bridge the gap’ between public and private interests in the design and development of the city.

For more information on this ongoing research project, visit the team’s UNSW Built Environment research page.

Authors: Professor Robert Freestone (UNSW), Ms Sarah Baker (UNSW), Dr Gethin Davison (UNSW), and Dr Richard Hu (UC)

 

Liveability and Water in Sydney – A Clean River is a Fun River

When I presented at the International Urban Design Conference last year, it seems a lecture by an unknown urban water guy wasn’t exactly considered a “must see” session amongst the throng of planners and designer types.

Still, it appears that there has been enough interest in the slide pack that I have been asked for a chaser on where we are up to with liveability and urban water. I want to use the same “liveability game changers” from my presentation. So for this first post (one more to come) I’ll stick to “a clean river is a fun river” in this unashamedly Sydney focussed post.

Iconic waterways have always been essential to the Sydney-ness of Sydney. But as the city progresses west, small waterways previously ignored and hidden within a tangle of light urbanism, are becoming important landscape features. They can provide open space to break up density and allow recreation zones, contributing to the wellbeing of communities whilst reducing reliance on accessing Sydney’s beaches.

Phillip Birtles, Sydney Water

For the first time, waterways and city welfare are being recognised in city planning in Sydney. Each of the six Draft District Plans released by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) in December 2016 have sustainability targets that include waterway improvement.

Our Living River is an impressive collaboration of local and state government who have set the goal to bring swimming back to the Parramatta River. Their 2025 Masterplan work includes water quality, urban ecology, community survey, risk and economic assessments to detail a nuanced view of what “swimming in the river” means. From splash sites to offline pools to open swimming, all the options are being considered in some leading design work. This project is one to watch and is already influencing town planning policy for this region.

In the West, South Creek has emerged as “a key organising design element” for the GSC’s western city. Sydney has experience organising development around estuaries (like the harbour) but we haven’t done so well with small streams in suburbia that don’t have waterviews. It will be a true challenge to bring the South Creek vision to life. An exciting time for urban designers and water professionals alike.

Stay tuned for more next post exploring “all the water we need is already in the city” and “healthy communities are connected to their water”.

Article supplied by Phillip Birtles, Urban Water and Waterways Manager at Sydney Water

Good design to be championed in NSW planning law

The NSW government has unveiled sweeping reforms to the state’s planning laws that will see the role of design promoted in the updated and amended legislation.

“We are living in the most highly urbanized era in Australian history,” NSW planning minister Rob Stokes said, “so it is time we elevated the critical role of design in the built environment to deliver neighbourhoods, streets, parks and recreation spaces that balance the needs of communities with the need to accommodate growth.”

The proposed amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A) include updating and modernizing the objects (statements of intentions) of the act, as well as a new object to promote design.

The summary of proposals states: “The design object, if implemented, will ensure that design is considered and balanced with the other objects of the EP&A Act. For example, the promotion of good design will be considered in a framework that also promotes land use planning that encourages economic development and the principles of ecologically sustainable development. This will be the task of decision makers in the context of both strategic planning and development assessments.”

Aerial view of Sydney. Image: Rodney Haywood/Creative Commons
Aerial view of Sydney. Image: Rodney Haywood/Creative Commons

The NSW government has tasked the NSW Office of the Government Architect to develop a design-led planning strategy. In 2016, the government unveiled its draft architecture and design policy, prepared by the NSW Office of the Government Architect, which laid the foundations for the proposed strategy. The strategy will include incentives and measures to achieve well-designed places. However, it is unclear what the incentives and measures will be.

The planning law reforms will also include proposals to promote the use of local planning panels, which some councils in NSW have already established. The panels will comprise a community representative and two independent expert members drawn from the professions of planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism or government and public administration. One independent expert member will be appointed the chair. In addition to local planning panels, proposed amendments also include tools to ensure experts are making the decision where needed.

The Australian Institute of Architects has welcomed the proposed reforms. “The Institute is particularly pleased that good design is to be a new object of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act,” said Shaun Carter, NSW chapter president.

Read more.