Early Bird Registration Closing September 26!

The upcoming 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held at Hyatt Canberra from Monday 7 November to Wednesday 9 November 2016. With presenters from 7 countries including Australia, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States, this is an industry event not to be missed!

The conference program includes 9 keynote presenters, 80 stream and forum presenters, an Expert Panel discussion, along with two optional walking tours. Early Bird registration for the Conference will close Monday 26 September 2016; registration by this date will secure you a $100 discount.

Register for the 9th International Urban Design Conference HERE

2016 Program Topics:

  • How to make a city smart?
  • Sustainability in a smart city
  • Urban design innovation for smart cities
  • City Infrastructure
  • Urban design opportunities in high density living areas
  • Mixing up residential and commercial uses in inner cities
  • Population change and livability
  • Housing affordability
  • Financing city development
  • What future for car dependent cities like Canberra?
  • Politics and city form: lessons learnt from the City of Canberra, and other Australian cities

For more information on the 9th International Urban Design Conference please visit the Conference Website.

Professor Graham Currie to Speak on the Transformation of Cities Through Light Rail

prof CurrieWe are pleased to announce Professor Graham Currie, Professor of Public Transport, Public Transport Research Group, Institute of Transport Studies as a Keynote Speaker at The 9th International Urban Design Conference; Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia – How urban design innovation can change our cities to be held at Hyatt Canberra from 7th-8th November 2016. He will be speaking on; ‘Transforming Cities with Sympathetic Light Rail Transit Insertion – Lessons for Australia’.

This paper summarises findings to date on an Australian project exploring best practices in design of streets for improved placemaking as part of light rail transit  development including a summary of current performance of the Melbourne light rail and a review of the revolutionary developments in France as part of the Nouveau Tramway movement.

Prof Currie is an international Public Transport research leader and policy advisor with over 30 years experience.  He has published more research papers in leading international peer research journals in this field than any other researcher in the world.  Professor Currie has worked for some of the world’s leading Public Transport Operators including London Transport, and he has managed numerous Public Transport research and development projects internationally.

He is Chair of the US Transportation Research Board committee on Light Rail Transit and is currently leading a research program on Place Making and Street Design for Light Rail in Melbourne.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference; Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia – How urban design innovation can change our cities  will be held at Hyatt Canberra from 7th-8th November 2016 with optional tours available on Wednesday 9th November.

Registrations are now open. CLICK HERE to register for the Conference. Early bird closes 26th September 2016 so be quick to receive a discounted rate.

This years’ theme, will focus on an understanding of what makes a city ‘smart’ from a urban design perspective and how the built environment develops during the city planning process.

Last Chance Speaker Opportunity – Speak alongside other leaders in their field

Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 9th International Urban Design Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE. Abstracts close 25th July 2016.

Is good urban design actually a shared economy?

sydney urban designLines are on trend. There’s New York’s High Line that created a linear garden above the streets of Manhattan, soon to be joined by the Lowline promising the same through Lower East Side tunnels, where sunlight is to be directed underground using fibre optics. Sydney has got in on the act with its Goods Line and South London is pondering the Coal Line over disused railway viaducts. The vogue was invented in Paris – where else? – with the creation of the Viaduc des Arts near Bastille back in 1994.

Artificial urban beaches, where stretches of waterside city are beachified – not much of an Aussie phenomenon given the proximity of the real deal – are now the big thing in Europe each summer. To name just a few: the Paris-Plages along the Seine and canals; the Strand Zuid in Amsterdam; the Beach on the Cobblestones in Cologne. Set out a few deckchairs, provide a bar and some inflatables, maybe strew some sand – instant Copacabana. Intriguingly, Jean-Louis Missika, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of urbanism and architecture, also has “economic development and attractiveness” in his job title. So French, so chic. There are fashions in urban design, then, as much as in hats. Pop-ups and pavilions (temporary or otherwise) are also de rigueur in the current dressing-up box for regenerating cities.

Under 20th-century modernism, city shaping was a technocratic act by architects and planners; the godlike designer looking down to create utopias, giant hands segregating cities into zones, separating homes from industry, people from cars. As we know from so many failures, this just didn’t work; people aren’t cogs to be fitted neatly into a city machine. So in the post-industrial world of the 1980s that had lost faith in utopias and modernism, the task of refitting our cities brought a new profession into being – the urban designer.

There are many definitions about what urban design constitutes. It is bigger than architecture but that doesn’t mean just lots of buildings rather than one. In some ways it is the space between buildings – although it is far more than landscaping. The fashionable term “place-making” captures some of its complexity: how do you create somewhere out of nowhere, or correct the failing bit of urbanism that has lost its historical purpose or has been unwisely developed in its recent past?

Social cohesion can be hindered by poor design – blocks arranged so neighbours don’t easily meet each other, open space no one has responsibility for, locations that reinforce isolation and introspection. But this point is too often overstretched.

Urban design is not destiny. It alone can’t create communities, can’t address racism or affect global politics through pretty place-making. While segregation reduces chance encounters with the “other” that characterises successful, cosmopolitan cities, equality and justice are better than boulevards in preventing violence.

This vital need to bring to people together as city populations change in their make-up, as well as the need to densify our cities so they grow sustainably, will characterise the next age of urban design. We will have to concentrate more on the suburbs than city centres or creating hipster havens among old warehouses. The burbs now demand the same regenerative attention and innovation that the urbs of the world have seen over past decades.

“To be a good architect you have to love people,” Jan Gehl says. The same is true of visionary place-making: look beyond the lifestyle and there are important questions of life to address. And of belonging. Integration, not segregation, should be urban design’s watchword. To read more click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference; Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia – How urban design innovation can change our cities  will be held at Hyatt Canberra from 7th-8th November 2016 with optional tours available on Wednesday 9th November.

Registrations are now open. CLICK HERE to register for the Conference.

This years’ theme, will focus on an understanding of what makes a city ‘smart’ from a urban design perspective and how the built environment develops during the city planning process.

Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 9th International Urban Design Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE.

Are Car-Free Cities Viable in Australia?

sydney car freeFor a variety of reasons, several European cities have moved to restrict the use of cars. Oslo, Norway, plans to restrict cars from the downtown area by 2019. Officials hope that will help to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent compared with 1990 levels.

Madrid, Spain, has encouraged pedestrians and bicyclists by banning auto usage on more than two dozen streets since 2015, though residents are still allowed to drive on some streets. The city has plans to expand the no-car boundaries substantially.

Sydney offers some positive examples. The city’s plans for the CBD, announced in 2012, aim to make light rail travel quicker and easier than driving a car while also reducing the number of buses needed. Part of the scheme is the pedestrian focus on George Street, which is closed to cars between Hunter and Bathurst streets. The city also stepped up with its Walking Strategy and Action Plan, which aims to increase on-foot commuter trips, reduce auto-pedestrian collisions by 50 per cent, and improve amenities such as footpaths.

Currently, about 63 per cent of trips to Sydney’s CBD are done with transit, about 25 per cent by car, and 10 per cent on foot. The NSW government predicts that bus and car vehicle miles travelled will decrease as people switch to light rail. In addition, the light rail line will cut CO2 emissions by 700,000 tonnes over 30 years.

Limiting automobile usage also has strong potential for reducing pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development tallied 204 pedestrian deaths and 33 cyclist deaths in 2015.

Besides a reduction in pollution and fatalities, there could be economic benefits too. According to one study in Melbourne of how drivers spend money compared to cyclists, the cyclists come out far ahead, outspending their motorist peers by more than $10 per hour ($27 to $16.20.)

Furthermore, because cars take up far more space – six bikes can fit in one parking space designed for a car – that number is even greater. To read more click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held at Hyatt Canberra from Monday 7th-8th November 2016 with optional tours available on Wednesday 9th November.

Registrations are now open. CLICK HERE to register for the Conference.

This years’ theme, Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia – How urban design innovation can change our cities”  will focus on an understanding of what makes a city ‘smart’ from a urban design perspective and how the built environment develops during the city planning process.

Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 9th International Urban Design Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE.

Masdar City Raising The Bar For Sustainable Urban Development

The dome or the Library building. Masdar Indtitute of Science and Technology. 30th August 2010. Duncan Chard for the New York Times.Masdar City, near Abu Dhabi, has set its sights on being the most sustainable city on the planet, and it is well on the way to meeting that goal. Development started in 2008 and is expected to continue for at least the next five years, with 40,000 people expected to live within its boundaries, and another 50,000 commuting to work there as reported by

“Masdar City is a template for sustainable urban development, and its evolution is taking place in partnership with a growing community of developers, investors and private sector companies,” said Anthony Mallows, Executive Director of Masdar City. “This community is actively contributing to and benefitting from the sustainable building practices and advanced technologies deployed in the realisation of the City, whether it’s the application of renewable energy, energy- and water-saving processes, or the use of low-carbon cement and recycled metals.”

“At the same time, Masdar City is raising the bar for sustainable urban development through the various R&D initiatives and demonstration projects active on site, such as the Eco-Villa Prototype now under construction.”

All developments within Masdar City must meet a minimum ‘3 Pearl’ rating under the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s green building standards framework, Estidama, meaning they will be designed to be up to 40% more water and energy efficient than comparable existing buildings, while also using more environmentally friendly materials in their construction. This compares to a LEED Gold rating under the US Green Building Council’s rating system.

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI) campus is the city’s nucleus. After an expansion in 2013, the campus now has 323 residential units and accommodates several hundred students, more than 100 faculty and researchers, as well as four research centers, with an additional center dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship. The MI campus covers 33,000 square meters (just over 7.5 acres) and provides a new benchmark as a model of sustainable living and academic development.

Other key Commercial Projects in Masdar City include The Knowledge Centre, Incubator Building, Siemens Middle East Headquarters, IRENA Headquarters. To read more click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held in Melbourne in November.  To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.