Design Smart: Achieving High Quality Design Through Collaborative Processes

Mr Omar Barragan, Manager of Urban Design at Brisbane City Council will be attending this year’s International Urban Design Conference, discussing “Design smart: achieving high quality design through collaborative processes”.

As Brisbane grows as a New World City, the aim is to achieve a responsive subtropical design that speaks on behalf of the city – design that demonstrates the best elements of living in Subtropical Brisbane.

Omar Barragan

Brisbane needs exemplary projects that respond to an embrace our subtropical climate and showcase our city’s urban character and outdoor lifestyle. To achieve this strategic goal Brisbane City Council has created a new initiative that seeks ways to partner with the development industry and key stakeholders.

The Design SMART service is intended to be a pre-lodgement service from the initiation/inception phase of significant development projects. Council officers attend multiple pre-lodgment meetings and work with applicants to review the design opportunities and constraints of a site and to discuss how these might inform the development of the concept design for the site.

There are two key of differences in this process that set apart Brisbane’s approach to other cities. The first is the high level policy guidance provided by the recently adopted document, ‘ New World City Design Guide: Buildings that Breathe’. This forward thinking guide illustrates how residential and commercial buildings in the city centre, mixed use inner city, transport corridors and principal regional activity centres should be designed to respond to our subtropical climate and improve sustainability. This gives clarity to the industry on the expected three dimensional built outcomes for the city.

The second is the direct involvement from the initial stages of the city’s Independent Design Advisory Panel (IDAP). This panel provides Council with independent advice on design, quality, sustainability and appropriateness of strategies and projects of importance to Brisbane’s future growth. In this way, Design SMART facilitates direct feedback from industry-based professionals, real world advice, to developers from early stages of the design process.

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. 

Secure your seat and register today!

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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.

Shaping Australian Cities: Driving Global Competitiveness Through Strategy and Design

 

Mr James Tuma, National Director of Urbis is a Keynote Speaker at the 2017 International Urban Design Conference.

This year, James will be presenting “Shaping Australian cities: driving global competitiveness through strategy and design”.

What makes a city globally competitive? Where do Australian cities sit in the global context? How should we shape them?

Cities are human kind’s greatest achievement and challenge. Predictions indicate that by 2050 well over half of the world’s 5 billion people will live in cities. Investment in cities and real estate worldwide is estimated to more than double from 2012 to 2020. Cumulatively, cities globally represent the greatest opportunity to enact and effect change at a planetary scale.

This body of work considers the emerging language and strengths of cities and identifies ten strategic opportunities for Australian cities to address when it comes to their design and place in the world. This guidance is by no means exhaustive or definitive, however it aims to provide the foundation stones of creating a compelling national conversation about our shared urban future.

James Tuma

About James

James is a visionary urban designer with a broad skills palette.  He is qualified in urban design, built environments and landscape architecture – disciplines he draws on while coordinating projects, master planning and structure planning, as well as advising on design codes, public realm strategies and public space implementation.

Since joining Urbis in 2005, he has worked on significant national and international integrated developments and master planning projects in Australia and Europe – from planning for new communities and townships to designing town centres and public spaces.

About the Conference

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 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.

 

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)

 

Are Promises Kept ? Verification and Validation

Various large and small developments happen in our cities every day to build a better liveable and smarter space for us. The current process of using a contract or deed and a contractor to deliver the development could be further improved. It is vastly expensive or impossible to rectify, after the development completion, when the development failed to deliver the benefits.  There needs to have certainty in the achievement of the desired outcomes in urban design or smart city projects.

Richard Lau

A process of consistently verifying the requirements and validating the products (results) during the project would enhance the probability of achieving the results that the project is proposed to achieve. This verification approach has been applied in major infrastructure projects and could also apply to smaller scale local developments or any precinct-wide urban projects.

Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) means that a completely independent entity reviews/evaluates the work products generated by the team that is designing and/or executing  a given project. The IV&V provider will often monitor and evaluate every aspect of the project itself from inception to completion. It is far easier and more cost effective to correct problems that are identified earlier rather than later in the project.

Looking at a project in progress from the perspective of an outsider, and not allowing oneself to be engulfed in details or assumptions, enables the independent reviewer to recognise warning signs and impending problems while they can still be mitigated or corrected.

The primary value of IV&V is in identifying high-risk areas early in the project which allows the organization to either mitigate risks or prepare contingencies.  Project implementation should be a partnership between the organization and the IV&V team, where the IV&V team provides tangible measurement and alternatives and helps identify issues which may not be immediately visible.  Independent verification and validation is a time-tested methodology that should be carefully considered as a relatively low-cost insurance policy at the outset of projects, in particular public ones.

This article was kindly provided by Richard Lau, Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd.

Richard presented an abstract entitled ‘Are Promises Kept ? Verification and Validation’  for the 2016 International Urban Design Conference.