Activation of Auckland’s Wynyard Central

Development in Wynyard Central in Auckland’s waterfront allows buildings of up to 28 storeys. The Council’s objective to create a “vibrant neighbourhood” here could be compromised by a series of tall buildings that have the potential to deny spatial intimacy at the ground plane.

Wynyard Central vibrancy is a reflection of the number of people walking in public space and the time they spend in that space. Activation of the public realm is an activity response to the “functional” environment and to the “physical” environment.

So, whilst the initial activation brief was heavily focused around a “mix of ground floor activities” it was clear that the majority of Wynyard Central’s streets could not be activated by retail, given the relatively small size of existing and future on-site markets.

Defining the extent of retail capacity

The demand for functionally (retail) active edge was estimated at 280 linear metres from a total linear edge of 2.6 kilometres in Wynyard Central. The balance of ground floor activity will therefore be either office or residential. Functional” activation contributing to a “vibrant neighbourhood” is therefore limited in its influence and determining the “physical” environment becomes relatively more important.

Motivations to walk are affected by attraction or pulling power of the walk-to destination and by physical features or building elements that influence the quality of the built environment and therefore the visual richness of the walk.

“Plane Transition” (Drawing by Steve Thorne, Design Urban)

The spatial brief

In order to achieve Waterfront Auckland’s Vision and objectives, buildings in Wynyard Central are proposed to be brought to ground in a manner that supports the visual perspective of the pedestrian.

This more intimate pedestrian perspective requires a “plane transition” so that the lower levels of each building begin to engage with the street and become buildings “common in conversation” (as shown in the image). This transition is proposed at level three of all buildings.

At this point the use of dominant vertical proportions and higher level of detail in the composition of the building facade will assist to render the buildings as more pedestrian friendly.

Panuku Development Auckland is using this approach to manage the delivery of its objectives in Wynyard Central.

By Michael Cullen, Principal of Urbacity, Sydney

Michael attended the 2015 International Urban Design Conference.

Adopting the Sustainable Development Goals is a Business Opportunity for Australia

It has been 25 years since Australia last experienced a recession. We’ve had an extraordinary period of uninterrupted economic growth – the longest in modern history – and this has greatly increased our prosperity.

Thanks to the abundance of natural resources needed to build roads, railways and skyscrapers in fast-growing cities across Asia, Australia’s economy has had a good run over the past quarter century.

But an expanding list of environmental, health and social burdens risk undermining our growth model. Business as usual is not an option. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched in 2015, are 17 goals for ending poverty, transforming health and education, improving our cities and communities, addressing gender equity and tackling urgent challenges such as climate change. Collectively, they propose a new development pathway, based on partnership between governments, civil society and business that could transform our societies.

Photo: article supplied

Take our cities, for example. Cities are the economic powerhouses of our country, especially since the end of the mining boom (our capital cities alone generate around two-thirds of our GDP). Cities matter more than ever to our future employment and prosperity, but our urban quality of life is deteriorating. We spend on average 85 minutes a day commuting, up from 50 minutes half a century ago. Congestion already costs our capital cities $16.5bn annually, and that could double by 2030. The affordability of housing nationwide has more than halved since 1980, locking many out of the Australian dream.

Our urban lifestyles have become a growing burden on our health, too. A rising set of noncommunicable diseases, such as obesity, are posing massive challenges for the health system. In 2015, almost two in three Australian adults were overweight or obese.

The labour force is changing dramatically. A report completed by AlphaBeta for the Foundation for Young Australians found that 70% of young people currently enter the workforce in jobs that will be radically affected by automation and imports over the next 10 to 15 years.

This article was originally published by The Guardian.

Click here to read the entire article.

 

Join us at the 10th International Urban Design 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.

The conference theme for the 10th anniversary is Disruption, Divergence and Designed Intervention – Making Change Happen and will showcase innovations and projects embracing and creating transformational change in urban environments. The aim is to include highlights ranging from the modest but high impact idea to the new Eco-city, from technological experimentation to multicultural cities and from the use of big data to physical city making.

Abstract Submission is now open for those wishing to present at this years’ conference, topics include:

  • City making and disruption
  • Community advocacy
  • Creating equitable cities
  • Diversity in the ecology of technology
  • Design and climate change
  • Population growth, densification, renewal and innovation
  • Urban regeneration
  • Urban Design Policy
  • “The Missing Middle” – how to transform suburbia
  • Risk and resilience
  • The future of work, urban impact
  • Transport and traffic
  • Satellite cities
  • Planning, functional design
  • Public space transformation

Individuals and organisations are invited to submit an abstract to deliver an oral presentation; panel presentation or poster presentation which addresses one or more of the conference topics. The abstract should be no more than 300 words and outlines the aims, contents and conclusions of the presentation.  Authors will be notified by e-mail of the outcome of their abstract submission.

Submit your Abstract for 2017 here!

Registration is also now open for those wishing to take advantage of early bird discounts currently available.

For more information on the 2017 International Urban Design Conference on the Gold Coast this November, please visit www.urbandesignaustralia.com.au

 

Singapore to Provide Inspiration for Darwin Change After City Deal

Singapore will serve as the inspiration for Darwin’s transformation into a major international tropical city, as Chief Minister Michael Gunner leads a delegation to the Asian country this week.

Mr Gunner said the seven-person delegation would examine Singapore’s urban, green architecture and heat mitigation measures to incorporate into the Government’s $100 million Darwin CBD revitalisation plan.

Image: article provided

The trip follows the City Deal memorandum of understanding signed with the Federal Government this week.

“Singapore is a green oasis that thrives in a humid tropical climate and we can learn a lot from them about transforming Darwin, particularly in relation to using cutting-edge architecture, building vibrant centres and designing heat mitigation strategies,” Mr Gunner said.

“The delegation will meet with world-renowned architect Richard Hassell and connect with urban renewal project leaders with a view to use lessons learned in the Darwin CBD redevelopment.”

On Friday, the Sunday Territorian revealed the City Deal MOU signed with the Federal Government could see $100 million in federal funding ­invested in Darwin.

The PM’s Office said the deal would “help transform the Territory’s capital into a world-class tropical tourist and cultural destination”.

The City Deal requires all three levels of government to work together to develop priority reforms in investment and planning for the Darwin CBD.

This article was originally published by NTNews.com.au.

Continue reading the entire article here.

Step outside for a moment: the value of pedestrians in healthcare precincts

Michaela Sheahan, Researcher, HASSELL

Bump space, serendipitous encounters: whatever the label, the name of the game in healthcare design is connecting people. But the focus on internal collaboration has some unintended side effects: buildings get bigger, and people spend more time inside.

External space is shrinking as large clinical and research buildings bring teams closer together via soaring atria, internal streets, and sky-bridges. Good connections are vital to a well-functioning hospital, but as public realm diminishes, so does walkability and street activity. Nothing kills a precinct quite like a deserted street.

My research shows that as these precincts grow, two indicators of pedestrian activity – Walkscore and intersection density – decrease. The bigger a precinct becomes, the more difficult it is for people to walk around.

Large buildings and impermeable blocks obstruct pedestrians, and limiting land use to only healthcare decreases small business opportunities. If every nearby building is a health facility, people won’t go outside to grab lunch or drop into the bank. In Boston’s high density Longwood precinct an internal pedestrian network is being developed in response to traffic danger and a need to connect teams across buildings and streets. In Houston’s vast Texas Medical Center, the combination of a sky-walk system, a car-dependent location, and exclusive healthcare land-use leaves the footpaths empty. The meticulously landscaped gardens and public spaces are wasted.

Designers and administrators are working to overcome the barriers to vibrant precincts; high land costs and burgeoning healthcare space requirements limit opportunities. But modest initiatives in external space can deliver large benefits.

At the Gold Coast University Hospital, courtyards provide opportunities for fresh air and quiet conversation.  The Necker Hospital in Paris is replacing obsolete buildings with a park.  In Boston, small public spaces host musical performances to coax staff outside. In Melbourne’s Parkville, public seating has come a long way since the old wooden park bench, and at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital precinct, a new vision that prioritises walkability and community integration is just beginning.

These small acknowledgements of the importance of street level activity suggest a willingness to invest in public realm projects for the good of patients, staff and the community. High quality design of the spaces between buildings plays a crucial role in inviting everyone to step outside for a moment.

This research project was funded by the National Association of Women in Construction, and Cult Design. The full report can be accessed here: http://apo.org.au/node/53548