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.

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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

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

Jason Roberts, Co-Founder, Better Block to speak at 2013 Liveable Cities Conference in Melbourne

Jason Roberts, Co-Founder, Better Block has been featured in the Washington Post and New York Times, and was recently awarded an American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Award. Team Better Block was showcased in the US Pavillion at the 2012 Venice Biennale (the ‘Architect’s Olympics’).

Jason has over fifteen years of experience in IT consulting and Communications. Before founding the Better Block project, Jason Roberts led multiple community non-profit organizations focused on alternative transportation including the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. In 2010, Jason spearheaded the City of Dallas’s effort in garnering a $23 Million dollar TIGER stimulus grant from the FTA to help reintroduce a modern streetcar system to the region. In the Spring of 2010, Jason organised a series of “Better Block” projects, taking blighted blocks with vacant properties in Southern Dallas and converting them into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping. The project is now being duplicated throughout the country.

You can watch Jason’s TEDx address 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

Review of public health and productivity benefits from different urban transport and related land use options in Australia.

Concurrent Sessions

The relationship between public health, urban forms and transportation options in Australia is examined through a review aimed at determining possible health indicators to be used in assessing future land use and transportation scenarios.

The health benefits, and subsequent economic benefits of walkable, transit orientated urban forms are well established and are measurable. Important health indicators include vehicle miles travelled, access to public transport, access to green areas, transportation related air pollution levels, transportation related noise levels, density and mixed land use.

A comparison between a high walkability urban environment and a low walkability urban environment identifies various infrastructure, transportation greenhouse gas emissions and health costs. From this it is determined that infrastructure and transport costs dominate, health costs are relatively small and that health-related productivity gains associated with highly walkable urban areas are substantial.

This review provides heath and economic rationale for developing urban forms geared towards active travel.

You can download the full paper here.  It was presented at The 5th Healthy Cities: Working Together to Achieve Liveable Cities Conference, Geelong – 2012

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

We must use our space wisely as part of new planning protocols

melbourne Liveable Cityby Matthew Guy in an article for the Herald Sun

PLANNING the growth of a city that is home to 4.5 million people is not easy.

Melbourne is one of the world’s most liveable cities, but it hasn’t achieved this by chance and won’t stay there under the current planning regime.

That’s why the Victorian Coalition Government has embarked on a total reform of our planning system to put a much greater focus on liveability than ever before.

“The view that every tram line should be lined by seven-storey apartments is one that might suit a city of 400,000 people in Switzerland, but it’s not as feasible in Australia.”

Despite a tough economic climate, Melbourne’s population is still growing strongly. Each year upwards of 60,000 more people call our city home, placing great pressure on how Melbourne is planned and ensuring that government planning blueprints are focused on the longer term, not just the next few years.

Good planning requires a multi-faceted approach to managing growth but, first and foremost, we have to recognise that our city is not all the same.

Our suburb’s character greatly differs from Bayside to the Dandenong Ranges; from Eltham to Carlton and Werribee to Pascoe Vale.

Melbourne’s greatest asset is clearly that our city has so much diversity within it and it is these differences in neighbourhoods that have made Melbourne so liveable and desirable to call home.

Our planning system is governed by planning zones that determine what building can go where.

There are commercial, industrial, farming and residential zones, which are now being reformed and modernised.

Read more