Ten Steps to Better Sports Investment

Across the world, governments and sports fans continue to be enamoured of huge sporting events and the ambitious new infrastructure that goes with them. We all understand the health and wellbeing benefits and the value to local economies. But without careful planning they can equally become dead places, or end up a drain on public funds.

Matt Lally 

Taking a global perspective I’ve arrived at ten rules for creating vibrant sporting destinations that have real long-term value:

1. Think beyond the finish line. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was planned to provide a huge variety of on-going uses in its post-Games phase. It’s now a much-loved leisure destination for Londoners, bordered by a new neighbourhood that was originally the Olympic Village. Athens 2004, by contrast, demonstrates how not to do it.

2. Take the wider view. A successful venue must connect to the world beyond its doors or gates. That’s why the 2012 Games in London included regeneration plans for much of East London’s surrounding waterways and parkland.

3. Sustainability in each mode of operation. Set clear achievable targets for energy, waste, materials, water and mobility, from base-build, through event and legacy modes. These will safeguard long-term operational costs, while doing the right thing by the environment.

4. Not just sport. Enduring footfall relies on local enthusiasm. In its first year of operation the Singapore Sports Hub, with its mix of sports, entertainment, office, retail and community uses set in parkland, attracted more than one million people on non-sporting-event days.

5. Embedded urbanism. Be a valued neighbour. The Emirates Stadium precinct in London, squeezed into an unforgivingly tight site, has managed to incorporate mixed-tenure housing (including more than 1,000 affordable homes) helping its bottom line while meeting community need.

6. Partnership in delivery. Public and community bodies need to work with private ones. After London’s 2011 riots all key stakeholders came together to find more inclusive ways to use public space. Coinciding with local Tottenham FC’s redevelopment plans, the result is a proposed enlarged stadium that integrates with the surrounding area, creating new, more engaging public spaces.

7. Focus on the ‘Last Mile’. Get the first and last leg of the journey wrong and a facility might be doomed. Ensure good public transport connections, pedestrian ease, wayfinding and accessibility.

8. Beyond the front door. Facilities need to embed attractively and intuitively into their immediate surroundings, with a focus on the quality of public spaces.

9. Build a broad business case. A venue should have breadth of commercial audience and purpose all year round, from sport to music, art to business.

10. Think local. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC, has embraced local food and drink vendors, building a reputation for supporting neighbourhood artisans and entrepreneurs, rather than relying on the usual giants like KFC and McDonalds.

Taken together these rules provide an approach that ensures the whole community, from sports fans to local businesses, contractors to local government gains long-term benefits from sporting infrastructure investment, socially as well as financially.

This article was supplied by Matt Lally, Associate Principal of Integrated Design + Planning for Arup.


Remembering the Brisbane Tramways

Everything old is new again

The 8th International Urban Design Conference will be held at the Sofitel Brisbane from Monday 16 November to Wednesday 18 November 2015. Wednesday 18 being optional walking tours.

This years’ theme titled Empowering Change: Transformative Innovations and Projects will focus on inspirational changes in urban environments – see more at: http://urbandesignaustralia.com.au

A review of the impact light rail is having on the City of the Gold Coast – lessons for other city’s considering light rail

In a years time people will be using light rail on the Gold Coast to move between work and home; study and play; and dinner and drinks. This will have enormous ramifications on the lifestyle of locals and the experience of visitors, allowing the city to contract and expand at the same time. However, the successful effort to secure funding from the three levels of government for city building transport infrastructure has generated change even before the system is up and running.

This is best demonstrated by the City’s expanding ambition evidenced by planning to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games and iconic projects such as the Broadwater Marine Project and Gold Coast Cultural Precinct. Culturally, we are also seeing change with a recognition that the City is rapidly evolving from a series of coastal villages joined by a single road in the 1960’s to a City with grand plans for a comprehensive network of light rail in the next twenty years. In the built environment, significant transformation is underway with an emphasis on people-focussed place making and a review of the amount of space allocated to private vehicles.

This is complemented by market driven forces adopting a style of architecture that complements the light rail system in the form of plazas and retail frontages. Similarly, the introduction of light rail is increasing the level of “urbanity” through the heart of the city forcing a re-think across policy settings such as public realm, alfresco dining, built form, public art, private investment and car parking.

We thank Mr Dan Barr who recently spoke on this topic at the 6th  Making Cities Liveable Conference was held in conjunction with the Sustainability Conference “SustainableTransformation held from the 17th – 19th June 2013 at Novotel  Melbourne St Kilda.  He detailed the changes that the introduction of light rail is having on the City of the Gold Coast including the expected and unexpected; and the positive and negative. Click here for full story.

The 6th International Urban Design Conference will be held at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park from Monday the 9th to Wednesday 11th of September 2013 where similar topics will be discussed such as NEW PARADIGMS FOR THE 21st CENTURY AUSTRALIAN CITY, being presented by Mr Sasha Ivanovich of FHSIA Architects PL, WA and many others.  Registrations are still open click here to attend.

We must overhaul bus routes to allow cross-town journeys, says UDIA SA

The Australian Julian Swallow  From: The Advertiser
July 07, 2013 10:57PM

ADELAIDE’S public transport system must be radically overhauled to allow more cross-suburban journeys that help people get to work more easily, the head of the state’s peak developer’s body says. With just 20 per cent of Adelaide’s population now working in the CBD, Urban Development Institute of Australia SA executive director Terry Walsh said most routes going to and from the city no longer met workers’ needs and must be changed as part of a wider rethink of transport infrastructure.

“We need to start looking at some creative ways of getting some east-west traffic … because only 20 per cent of our working population actually work in the city,” Mr Walsh said.

“Looking at the next 50 years, we’re now going to have to get some tree-branch models, and particularly in the north. We have an opportunity, we have time, but its critical.”

This radical switch would create jobs, boost economic growth, and set Adelaide’s public transport system up for the next 50 to 100 years, Mr Walsh said.

Public transport users who last week spoke to The Advertiser expressed support for a rethink about where services are provided, including the introduction of more cross-city services to take into account changing work and social patterns.

“I think it would work really well for people who don’t have a driver’s licence or cannot drive and who are travelling to work or to see friends,” Chris Graves of Paradise said. “There is no reason why buses should just be going into the city.”

The State Government is currently involved in a record multi-billion-dollar infrastructure-spending program but has had to downgrade some plans, such as the full electrification of the rail network, as it attempts to rein in debt of up to $13 billion.

Rundle Mall Management Authority chairman Theo Maras said the obvious solution was to pursue public-private partnerships to pay for infrastructure, including the use of toll roads.

“In South Australia, we seem to have a mindset that it’s wrong to have a toll road or toll bridge or main infrastructure like harbours,” Mr Maras said.

Without that infrastructure built economically, the state was “behind the eight-ball, he said. “The answer is that we must have it, we will have it, better do it, sooner than later to avoid missing out on the pie,” he said.

A spokesman for Transport and Infrastructure Minister Tom Koutsantonis said a federally funded study was under way to examine all traffic movements.

“The study will feed into the review of the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide and a foreshadowed infrastructure plan so that we can ensure we continue to integrate our network to meet the needs of our growing population,” he said.

Read more here.

Related articles


Parking infrastructure is often treated as a poor cousin to other infrastructure however it is very important for quality urban life. Every time people are asked about traffic in a town, village or city, the phrase ‘there is not enough parking’ comes up in almost all conversations. Retailers claim they suffer from lack of parking, people say they can’t shop without parking and we apparently can’t live without parking attached to each residence. This has a massive impact on the quality of our urban places. But how much parking is enough, who should pay for it and what influence does it have on the overall movement system are important questions. We have minimum parking rates for development, maximum parking rates for development, free parking, paid parking…we actually have a bit of a mess…and there are significant impacts on place, prosperity and vitality.

Mr Steven Burgess is an engineer and urban strategist with an extensive mix of public and private sector experience spanning more than 25 years. Mr Burgess will be presenting on some of the facts, myths and mysteries about parking and will look at some meaningful ways forward for quality urban places at the 6th International Urban Design Conference being held at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park from Monday the 9th to Wednesday 11th of September 2013.