The upcoming 2018 International Urban Design Conference will be held at the SMC Conference and Function Centre, Sydney, NSW next month over 12 – 13 November.
The conference will showcase innovations in projects and research embracing and creating transformational change in urban environments.
Joining us at the conference is Mr Thomas Rivard, Associate Director – Head of Urban Strategies at Mcgregor Coxall who will present on ‘UD2: Over the Street, the Beach: Infrastructure and Placemaking’.
We consider three challenges when discussing urban regeneration: ecology (natural systems), infrastructure (technical networks) and community (human relationships).
Migration, growth and rapid urbanisation place Australia central to these challenges: effects on environment, urban evolution and inclusive communities. Our cities must directly confront these challenges, as synergistic links between land, infrastructure and production have established unique patterns and forms of development, while continued quality of life demands a corresponding increase in social amenity. Importantly, because of the pressures applied on landscape and its complicit ecologies within urban centres, cities must perform more progressively on environmental issues.
The contemporary city is built on a paradoxical relationship with these two existential pressures: development and environmental impacts. In response, McGregor Coxall works at two scales: the large-scale realm of regional economic development and ecosystemic operations, and the scale of the person, the street and the neighbourhood. The systemic understanding provides the contextual basis by which projects perform, both economically and environmentally, while our understanding of the needs and desires of communities and their inhabitants provide the cultural impetus to make each project unique, identifiable and a genuine product of its place.
Connecting these extremes is the infrastructure required to accommodate each. In urban regeneration projects, we identify, adapt and transform existing and new infrastructure and operations to foster evolutionary development, create innovative approaches to sustainability and afford local inhabitants’ agency in constructing their future communities.
This presentation will explore in greater detail processes of urban design and city-making that establish genuine urban resilience by drawing from local systems, whether commercial, cultural or ecological. It will be illustrated by McGregor Coxall projects that combine sustainable enterprises, cultural diversity and the re-integration of natural and man-made ecologies, creating places from the ground up, driven by strategies for urban regeneration at many scales, and at all levels.
Thomas A Rivard is an urbanist, artist and educator, engaged in a multi-disciplinary practice making cities, urban interventions, buildings, productions and fables, and bringing together diverse collaborators in the pursuit of the impossible and the improbable. His work in the fields of city making, public art, ecosystem design, performance, architecture, installation and media is dedicated to re-imagining the links between provocative cultural acts and the inhabitants of the urban environments in which they thrive. He is head of Cities Research and Innovation at McGregor Coxall where he guides the practice’s design leadership in integrating habitats, communities and infrastructure.
He is the founder of the Urban Islands program (www.urbanislands.net), a global urban workshop initiative. He teaches and lectures regularly at universities and conferences in Australia and internationally, and is currently undertaking a PhD titled Performative Urbanism, exploring the relationships between public space, urban society and narratives of heterogeneity and independence. His diverse interests in cities and the environment will see him contributing to the urban layout of the Burning Man festival this year. He has also been accepted into Al Gore’s Climate Ambassador Training program this year.
For more information on the 2018 International Urban Design Conference and to secure your spot visit the conference website at urbandesignaustralia.com.au