Desegregating Urban Space in the Age of Sharing

Matt Davis

Over the course of the last 100 or so years, we have seen the systematic privatisation of urban space driven largely by architectural and urban planning practices that responded to the rise of car culture in our cities.

With the gradual realisation that this paradigm is broken, and a growing groundswell for policies that support ‘people and place’, there is a renewed sense of the value of public space.

Delivering liveable cities at a time of unprecedented urbanisation presents us with both the greatest opportunity and challenge for a sustainable, resilient and prosperous future. How can we deliver cities that are denser, greener, and smarter, while maintaining their liveability? The answer, I believe, will largely be determined by the quality of our public space.

As the density of our cities grows, the demands placed on public space will increase but at the same time its availability will be heavily constrained. How can public space be individually allocated to simultaneously serve the social, business, and mobility needs of its citizenry? It can’t. Public space must be multi-functionary, serving the many needs of many disparate groups, all at the same time.

In short, public space must, as it was originally intended, be shared. From the rise of collaborative consumption to the evolution of shared mobility systems, ‘sharing’ will underpin the liveability of our cities. The shift from privatised urban space to truly public space will require a significant cultural adjustment for many cities, particularly those with a strong ethos of self-interest, self-entitlement and ownership.

Mat will explore the cultural issues that underpin the success and failure of public space in the context of Australian cities, and contrasted against global experience. The concept of behavioural design will be introduced as an approach to designing public space that enables coexistence, by closing the gap between design intent and actual, rather than assumed, human behaviour.

Matt Davis Lecturer in Architecture, UNI of SA will present at the 6th Making Cities Liveable Conference, 17th – 19th June 2013 at Novotel Melbourne St Kilda.

Build it and they will walk: the suburbs that foster good health

Jason Dowling  |  City Editor for The Age

If you design suburbs so walking to public transport, shops and parks is an easy option, people will walk – that is the simple and clear finding of long-term Australian research.

urban sprawl

Health and planning experts are urging governments to make health a feature of planning laws and city growth strategies.

Researchers monitored the amount of walking by more than 1400 people building homes in new developments in Perth. Readings were taken before moving in and about 12 months later.

The results, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, showed transport-related walking declined and recreational walking increased.

Read the full story here

LIVEABLE- “Evolving the density models to address our growing pains”

Like it or not, our population is growing, and the decision makers of society continue to wrestle with the dilemma of accommodating the dreams of this next wave of new home owners. However cracks are starting to appear in the bricks and mortar as society leans on the comfort of conventional housing models.

Beneath suburban utopia’s veneer lie some dark ills that are of grave concern to the social planners and urban designers.  Family violence, youth suicide and mortgage stress have been directly linked with sprawl, and it is evident that the dream is actually unliveable.  Typically attention is turned to the opportunities of densification, however the majority of successful and vibrant higher density models tend to be CBD and inner suburban contexts, with a significantly different demographic profile and a paradigm that is receptive to alternate housing and living models.

This paper aims to better understand the impacts of urban consolidation on liveability by finding common ground between the inner Melbourne and outer suburban Casey contexts, and then articulating where the differences lie, what definitions need to be reconsidered, and how this needs to be physically manifested in the outer model. The study includes an assessment of the raft of benefits of alternate models, which extend far beyond basic higher yields, reaching into the viability of our transit networks, the efficacy of our efforts towards a sustainable city, and the physical and emotional health of our community.

Growth can be in harmony with liveability, and this has a clear built form outcome. Invariably the solutions lie not simply in built form, but in a more foundational shift in the psyche of our society. While not all questions can be answered, the paper seeks to sharpen the dialogue, elucidate the opportunities and pave the first steps for a liveable society.

Nathan Islip, Team Leader – Urban Design, City of Casey will speak at… the 6th Making Cities Liveable Conference, in conjunction with the Sustainable Transformation Conference, is being held from the 17th – 19th June 2013 at Novotel Melbourne St Kilda. The collaboration brings together National, State and Regional delegates to explore, exchange ideas and network.

Two Conferences! Three Days! 90 Presenters! One Location in 2013Healthy Cities.com.au

Walk it out: urban design plays key role in creating healthy cities

Professor Billie Giles-Corti

Residents of new housing developments increased their exercise and their wellbeing when they had more access to shops and parks, a new University of Melbourne study reveals.

The ten year study found that the overall health of residents of new housing developments in Western Australia, improved when their daily walking increased as a result of more access to parks, public transport, shops and services.

Lead researcher Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne said the study provided long-term evidence that residents’ walking increased with greater availabi

“The study demonstrates the potential of local infrastructure to support health-enhancing behaviours,” she said.lity and diversity of local transport and recreational destinations.

The study examined the impact of urban planning on active living in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. More than 1,400 participants building homes in new housing developments were surveyed before relocation to new homes and approximately 12 months later.

The study found that for every local shop, residents’ physical activity increased an extra 5-6 minutes of walking per week. For every recreational facility available such as a park or beach, residents’ physical activity increased by an extra 21 minutes per week.

“This means that where there is an environment that supports walking with access to multiple facilities residents walked much more,” Professor Giles-Corti said.

These findings could inform public health and urban design policy demonstrating that people respond to an environment that is supportive of physical activity.

“Given that being physically active reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, which are both huge costs to the health system, these results could have huge implications for government policy such as the Victorian State Government’s new Metropolitan Planning Strategy,” Professor Giles-Corti said.

The study was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

Two Conferences! Three Days! One Location in 2013

6th Making Cities Liveable Conference, in conjunction with the Sustainable Transformation Conference, is being held from the 17th – 19th June 2013 at Novotel Melbourne St Kilda. The collaboration brings together National, State and Regional delegates to explore, exchange ideas and network.

The joint conference will be a platform for Government, Industry sector professionals and Academics to discuss causes, effects and solutions. Delegates will have access to an extensive range of topics with over 90 presentations across three days including Keynotes, Concurrent Sessions, Case Studies and Posters. www.healthycities.com.au

Parenting and place: pilot study exploring experiences of women from inner and outer Melbourne suburbs

Books of Proceedings

Conference Papers

Fiona Andrews, Claire Henderson-Wilson, Mardie Townsend from the Centre for Health through Action on Exclusion, presented this paper at the 2012 Conference.

This pilot study explored the views of women from inner-city and outer suburban municipalities on their residential location as a place in which to raise children.

Thematic analysis of interviews revealed that, irrespective of location, women had not chosen to reside in their municipality on the basis of child-rearing. However there were key differences between their experiences of raising their children in the two municipalities in relation to the social connections they both expected, and encountered in their local communities, as well as their attitudes towards transport,open space and safety.

Findings will help inform the design of a larger scale study comparing families’ experiences of raising children in a changing urban environment.

You can get a copy of the full paper here

Two Conferences! Three Days! One Location in 2013

6th Making Cities Liveable Conference, in conjunction with the Sustainable Transformation Conference, is being held from the 17th – 19th June 2013 at Novotel Melbourne St Kilda. The collaboration brings together National, State and Regional delegates to explore, exchange ideas and network.

The joint conference will be a platform for Government, Industry sector professionals and Academics to discuss causes, effects and solutions.  Delegates will have access to an extensive range of topics with over 90 presentations across three days including Keynotes, Concurrent Sessions, Case Studies and Posters.  www.healthycities.com.au

Planning and design of masterplanned communities for healthy living

Planning and design of masterplanned communities for healthy living

Planning and design of masterplanned communities for healthy living

Due to growing health concerns linked to inactive living, a number of new masterplanned communities in South East Queensland are creating supportive environments for physical activities.  As part of promoting active and healthy living, these communities provide a number of amenities such as public green spaces, hike and bike trails, sporting and recreational activities within the development.

Varsity Lakes (estimated population 9,000) in Gold Coast is an example of such community.  Varsity Lakes boasts of a large public green space and a new Sports House for community recreational activities as well as for organising corporate sporting events for businesses in the area.  A not-for-profit entity Varsity Lakes Community Limited has been established by the developer to engage the community as well as to develop partnership with local council and other sporting organisations. Varsity Lakes is one of the few major developments in South East Queensland where a full time sports and recreational officer has been employed to promote active and healthy programs.

Dr Bhishna Bajracharya examined the emerging role of masterplanned communities in promoting active and healthy living, using Varsity Lakes as a case study area.  Dr Bhishna Bajracharya developed a conceptual framework for analysis of active living in the masterplanned communities and apply it to the case study area.

It focused on three critical themes to support active and healthy living:

  1. provision of sports and recreational infrastructure;
  2. development of recreational programs;  and
  3.  governance mechanisms.

Dr Bhishna Bajracharya’s presentation at the 5th Australian Healthy Cities: Working Together to Achieve Liveable Cities Conference, further identified some of the key challenges Varsity Lakes is facing in terms of gaps in provision of services for active living and draw lessons for other masterplanned communities.

Sydney’s sore point: Urban design plans for Parramatta Road stir controversy

Urban Design Parramatta Road

Parramatta Road Congestion

Ambitious plans for the urban renewal of Parramatta Road in Sydney, one of Australia’s most run-down urban corridors, are causing a stir in NSW.

The plans released by property development industry group the Urban Taskforce include the redevelopment of Parramatta Road into a new green, “liveability corridor” along the major link between the centre of Sydney and the city’s other major hub, Parramatta, to the west.

Architects, landscape architects and urban designers from nine firms are involved in the Urban Taskforce Australia plan for Parramatta Road in Sydney, currently widely regarded as an eyesore that includes as mix of car yards, run down buildings and decaying infrastructure.

The proposal was published in its magazine Urban Ideas where it identifies 12 major development sites along the corridor.

However members of the SydneyCENTRAL – the design consortium which won an international urban design competition for the Parramatta Road Corridor over a decade ago – have claimed the plans were identical to their work, labelling it “plagiarism”.

The University of technolgy, Sydney’ architecture department has published the SydneyCENTRAL – the design consortium on its website (PDF).

Heavily critical of the development plans, Sydney Morning Herald critic Elizabeth Farrelly says the chief obstacle to renewal for the strip is ”the NSW disease” – transport. She contends the best approach would be to install a tramline between Sydney’s two largest CBDs.

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21 June 2012 | by David Wheeldon