The Missing Centre, Or (To Put It Another Way), What’s Missing From Our Centres?

Clear your calendar this November for the 10th Urban Design Conference! 

Ms Amy Degenhart, Architect and Director at degenhartSHEDD Architecture and Urban Design joins us to discuss “The missing centre, or (to put it another way), what’s missing from our centres?”.

There is much talk about “The Missing Middle” in relation to the densification of our suburbs, but the conversation about adding density to our urban centres in a manner that encourages diversity, reinforces home ownership, embraces the street, enhances safety and respects community legacy is also largely missing from our current city-building tool kit.

Amy Degenhart

Adopted by many urban dwellers, high rise living is not loved by all, but often serves to create a vacuum in our city centres, challenging housing diversity by alienating first home buyers, owner occupiers, legacy residents and some cultural demographics. Further, both mid and high rise structures also neglect a key affordable domestic construction resources readily available on the Gold Coast…the “nail bag builder”.

Starting life as an exemplar of “Small Lot Housing”, ENVI Micro Urban Village, a 10-micro-lot urban-infill subdivision, was the vision of a partnership between an architect and a planner, inspired by their joint love-or envy-of the terrace housing form found in celebrated cities like Rome, New York, Melbourne, London and Vietnam.

The ENVI story began in 2014, and, as of August 2017, will achieve a milestone through the settlement of its unique freehold urban-infill lots, averaging 60m2 in size and 3.6m in width. As each lot is front-loaded, making the most of every resource, it is not just land area and frontage that denotes the innovation of this project, but it is also the three lots that have no provision for on-site car parking, being instead supported-by, and supportive-of, the new Gold Coast light rail public transport system.

As ENVI houses are now under construction, from the Pico Pod that sits on just 38m2 of land, to the Village Home, designed to rival the suburban dream, this uniquely Gold Coast densification, renewal and innovation story is ripe for the telling.

Be inspired by innovations and projects that are transforming cities. 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.

Register for the 2017 International Urban Design Conference here.

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Save Our Minds, Bodies and Souls, Not Just Our Town

Ms Robina Crook, Associate at HASSELL joins us at this year’s International Urban Design Conference to discuss  “Save our minds, bodies and souls, not just our town”.

A tale of how a small rural community taught their urban cousin a thing or two about “Building an Age Friendly Community”

When Ian McCabe, CEO of the Shire of Wyalkatchem, requested the Western Australian Planning Institute of Australia assist them to address the complex challenge of an ageing community, we jumped at the opportunity to help (1).

When you are the CEO of a local rural shire you are not just advocating for the citizens of a community, often you will have a personal connection. The Shire of Wyalkatchem is 194km north east of Perth. It is a community of only 516 souls in 314 private dwellings; with a handful of those dwellings forming the town centre. More than 46% of the “Wylie-ites” are aged 55 years or more, with a median age of 53 years. Ageing infrastructure combined with catering for an aged population is a major issue for the Shire.

Robina Crook

With issues associated with an ageing population becoming a daily reality the Shire of Wyalkatchem took the lead. They invited local government community development officers and chief executives from around the Western Australian Wheatbelt to address a common issue “Building for an Age Friendly Community”

The people of Wyalkatchem are predominately farmers and a few town’s folk, with no particular interest in urban design but a passion for community. They are however a very pro-active community. When the only butcher closed in town, the community came together (2). In drought stricken times, the farmers still managed to diversify and learn new skills becoming master chefs in all things meat. It was this determination to keep their community alive that has driven the decision to “Build for an Age Friendly Community”.

In a workshop environment, local government community development officers and chief executives embraced urban design philosophies to identify age friendly strategies for this passionate, be it small country town:

  • Guidelines for the Development of Dementia Friendly Communities (3)
  • Healthy Active by Design (4)
  • Healthy Built Food Environments (5)
  • Curtin University Universal Design Guidelines (6)

    This is the tale of David and Goliath, unperturbed by the massive challenge ahead a small town has started the journey to create the type of community they want to grow old in.

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!

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.

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!

Connected Communities: Accessing High Speed Wifi, or Knowing Your Neighbours?

Ms Jessica Christiansen-Franks, Co-founder and CEO of Neighbourlytics will be at this year’s International Urban Design Conference this November, presenting “Connected communities: accessing high speed wifi, or knowing your neighbours?” 

Jessica Christiansen-Franks

We can’t deny that technology is having a transformative impact on cities. ‘Smart cities’ and ‘innovation districts’ are perhaps the new ‘sustainable’. But with much talk about autonomous vehicles and drones, is technology actually helping us to create better places?

One in three Australians don’t know their neighbours, and loneliness is now recognised as a leading cause of death ahead of heart disease, and also a major contributor to domestic violence. Our cities are in crisis, and we need to change our approach.

Urban designers have long heralded the value of the public realm in creating stronger communities. But with so many challenges facing Australian cities, how can we use technology to turbo-charge the design process? While community engagement can be an excellent tool, it can be time consuming, cost prohibitive, and distorted by the NIMBY effect.

But 71% of Australians are on Facebook, and as a nation we search Google 150 million times a month, and send 4 million snapchats every day. Neighbourlytics is a social analytics platform created to help city-makers tap into this data to understand the unique local identity of places.

We will share insights from some of our recent work with property developers and local government to get to the heart of what makes people feel connected to place, and how better data can lead to stronger, more relevant design outcomes.

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.