Wahat Al Karama: The Oasis of Dignity

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 Chetana Andary, Senior Principal Middle East for UAP will be at this year’s Conference, discussing“Wahat al karama: The oasis of dignity”.

Wahat Al Karama, The Oasis of Dignity, in Abu Dhabi, treads a delicate balance between traditional memorial and place destination. Its role is far more complex than any monument may suggest. As a tapestry of interwoven meanings, symbols, emotions, memories and narratives, it is ultimately the creation of a new urban place to demonstrate unity in a highly disrupted society.

Chetana Andary

From nomadic Bedouin to modern metropolis, Abu Dhabi was a small fishing and pearling village until the influx of petrodollars. Its evolution from desert oasis to modern metropolis is fueled by significant nation building highlighting a place of contrasts where Sheiks take selfies and Westerners smoke shisha. Abu Dhabi, where the traditional culture is firmly rooted in Arabia’s Islamic traditions is also home to a massive population of expat workers now comprising nearly 85% of the inhabitants.

Cognisant of the contrasting urban fabric of a city in flux, Wahat Al Karama is presented as a conceptual metaphor as a place for reflection that is an attraction, place attachment and place identity. Commissioned by the Crown Prince, the memorial park covers 46,000 square meters symbolically located opposite the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. It contains a central plaza with a reflection pool that is emptied when hosting commemorative events of up to 1,200 people.

The dominant centrepiece is the monument, designed by British Artist Idris Khan. Comprised of 31 cast-aluminium tablets, the largest standing 23 metres in height, the tablets cascade and lean on each other to represent unified strength, power and pride among soldiers, loved ones and their country. With its impressive scale, the Wahat Al Karama represents the eternal martyr, a place of reassurance and defiance.

The presentation will follow the project from vision to realty, exploring the meaning of memorials, the translation of the term of martyr, and the creation of a new destination in a highly changeable Middle East.

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.

Register 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.

Sustainable Living in Community (SLIC)

A paper was presented at Urban Design Conference in November 2016 hosted in Canberra. A presentation was made regarding sustainability at the Conference which focused on urban sprawl and its impact on society. Further work has been carried out in this regards in New Zealand and the outcomes are encouraging.

Small groups of societies and specially education sector has started investing in the concept and trying to embed the thoughts in the younger generation. The aim of SLIC has always been about communities and making them self-sustainable. Let’s take look at some of the result yielding activities in New Zealand.

A community garden project has been initiated which has converted spare land into productive food supply source. Small patches have been allocated to community groups who take ownership of the patch and are responsible for management, maintenance and upkeep of that patch. The concept of recycle, reuse and reduce is used extensively. There is help provided with seeds, manure and organic growth technology to the patch owners.

Sustainable activity like rain water harvesting is actively promoted and supported through the area. One of the major advantage of these activities has been the involvement of DHB in this, along with community boards! DHB’s interest lies in the fact that gardening has proven to be a health benefit for physical and mental wellbeing. Change in behaviour as well as health has been observed in the active participants.

SLIC will take this further by introducing healthy living, healthy eating principles by lecture, demonstrations about food, cooking styles and its medicinal impact.

An educational institute has provided land for creating an urban jungle. Families can take advantage of the free land for growing their choice of vegetables. One of the important aspect has been to impart the knowledge and know-how of gardening and getting the interest of young children. This will create a long-term interest and future for sustainability. SLIC will encourage the participation and availability of such patches as these will provide not only fresh fruit and veggies but also create green patches across the urban sprawl.

Finally, we would also like to compliment the schools which are encouraging sustainability as a part of living and have taken pains to provide infrastructure and create interest among the young. One of the hardest part is involvement of the society and understanding the benefits of physical activity and its relationship to well-being. It is not all about cheaper alternatives at supermarkets but the ability to self-sustain and live in a harmonious society.

This article was kindly provided by Varsha Belwalkar, Consultant at Nirvana Consultancy Ltd

Malcolm Middleton: Disrupting the Australian Dream

Malcolm Middleton, Queensland Government Architect, Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Queensland is one of the Keynote Speakers at this year’s 2017 International Urban Design Conference. 

This year, Malcolm will be presenting “Disrupting the Australian dream”.

Malcolm Middleton

Malcolm will be discussing the Density and Diversity Done Well competition his office has recently completed and had successful engagement with design practices from across Australia. He’ll also examine some the issues and challenges that were identified through the competition process.

The paper will outline how the competition was run, what will happen now the winners have been announced and discuss parallel engagement tools developed as part of the Testing within Government (TwiG) initiative. Importantly, the winning entries proposed some critical departures from traditional density approaches which challenge bureaucratic and social norms in residential work.

The competition has also enabled new dialogue to occur within government and local government structures with targeted sites for real explorations to deliver actual urban solutions now being actively investigated.

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.

Place Planning Quest: Collaboration in the Process of Creating a Vision and Delivering an Outcome

Register now for the 10th International Urban Design Conference this November!

Ms Evy Anwar, Urban Designer at Northern Beaches Council will be attending this year’s event, discussing “How to communicate the ‘trade-off’ to create better places”.

Evy Anwar

Highlight of presentation:
• Place planning process focuses on the creation and evolution of places rather than a traditional land use-based structure planning.
• Place planning process led by a division called ‘Place Management’ which oversees the mechanism and synergy of places.
• A series of programs were created as part of community engagement and education about creative placemaking, how to address future challenges, and being involved in the creation of a liveable community.

Aims:

• To promote a more inclusive way of planning future places
• To appeal to a wider section of audiences in the new trends of creating and building towards liveable communities
• To capitalise new infrastructure investments such as better public transport (the B-Line)
• To create more people friendly places rather than a ‘car-oriented’ destination

Methods:

• Extensive community engagement programs: discussions involving local and international experts, workshops, walking tours, placemaking events, etc
• Evidence-based analysis using urban infometric and traffic modelling to focus on creating better people spaces

Relevance:

• Place plan scenario includes behavioural and gradual lifestyle changes as well as the exploration of new ways in conducting day to day activities
• A variety of temporary intervention was incorporated as part of the place planning process to disrupt the usual approach in interpreting and using public spaces

Results:

• Deeper understanding about what is required for developing better places. Notwithstanding some people may still have difficulties to accept the ‘trade-off’ required to improve the quality of spaces.

Conclusion of the work:
• Gradual changes and temporary interventions can be more palatable for communities which uphold a certain lifestyle. Stronger support and direction from the government is crucial on long term commitments and solving the bigger planning issues such as addressing housing affordability.
• The place planning process needs to fulfill the requirements of our planning system therefore Place Plan must be adaptable as a ‘master plan’.

 

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.