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.

Robina Crook: Universal Design Thinking

“My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair,  but because the broader environment isn’t accessible.” –Stella Young – Australian Journalist, Disability Rights Activist and Comedian

As we collectively look for ways to create a more sustainable future, it is vital we include our built environment. Without considering all, we risk condemning the most vulnerable of our community to an unsustainable, inaccessible world. By embracing Universal Design Thinking our urban places will accommodate everyone; you, me, young, old and those with disabilities.

universal design thinking
Robina Crook

Curtin University has made a commitment to a sustainable future for all by establishing a vision to be the most accessible campus by 2030. The main Curtin University campus is located in the suburb of Bentley, Western Australia. Curtin is a large low rise, low density university, predominantly built in the 1970s with a big vision.

Due to the good fortune of location, Curtin is perfectly placed to provide educational services to the South East Asian student market. Over the next 10-20 years, Curtin is embarking on an extensive programme of development that will fundamentally change the nature of the Bentley campus. The campus will function as alternative city centre with a diversity of functions and services, not just a location of tertiary education. The adoption of the Universal Design Thinking approach is one of the key strategies that designers, architects and planners are required to address when tendering for work at Curtin.

There are 50,228 enrolled students at the Bentley campus, supported by some 4,041 staff made up of academics, administrators and contractors. Over 16,376 of these students are international. With a large student body, Curtin hosts numerous events, festivals and graduations on campus, attracting thousands of visitors to the campus each year. Curtin is a fabulously rich and diverse community.

In Australia, 18.5 % of the population report as having a disability, this means that some 11,800 people will want to access the campus that could also have a disability. These figures do not even address the very porous state of temporarily able-bodied. Live long enough and you will almost certainly enter a state of disability at some point in your life.

As a public institution, Curtin University is required to meet the Disability Access and Inclusion Legislation requirements however Curtin has established a vision that is more welcoming and inclusive than the legislation. Curtin University has adopted a smart approach. The Curtin Universal Design Guideline – Built Form project provided for a high level of participation engaging with 65 stakeholders underpinning a strong sense of ownership. The process deliberately aligned with the vision, established agreed principles and created design criteria. The guideline has also been embedded in a governance process that integrates Universal Design Thinking into all stages of place making.

By Ms Robina Crook, Associate HASSELL

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.