The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June 2017.

This successful conference grows with importance each year as a platform for innovative discussion on the approach to follow and the actions to undertake in making our cities
liveable and healthy urban communities. Abstract Submission and Registration are now open!

Conference Topics Include:

  • The New Urban Agenda
  • Commitment to Health
  • Community Participation and Social Development
  • The Liveable Neighbourhood
  • Responsible Resource Management
  • Bringing Nature Back
  • Showcasing Regional Liveable Cities and Centres

Presenters or organisations are invited to submit an Abstract to present at the conference. Presenters are encouraged to submit papers that in particular demonstrate evidence of change – highlighting an understanding of the issues, framing the action and interpreting the change. Abstract submission is open until 27 February 2017.

SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT HERE

REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE HERE

Who Should Attend:

  • Policy Makers
  • Urban Designers
  • Politicians
  • Senior Public Servants
  • City Governance Personnel
  • Public Health Administrators
  • Academics
  • Waste Management Professionals
  • National Resources Administrators
  • Planning Professionals
  • Environmental Groups
  • Engineers
  • Sustainability Practitioners
  • Business Development Managers
  • Transformation Leaders
  • Environmental Managers
  • Consultants
  • Social Planners
  • Town Planners
  • Mayors
  • Non-Government Agencies
  • Students
  • Coastal Resource Managers
  • Place Makers

Discount registration is available for those attending both the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and the 2017 Safe Cities Conference which run consecutively at the same venue.

We are looking forward to another successful year of the Making Cities Liveable Conference and hope you can join us, for further information please visit the conference website.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June 2017.

This successful conference grows with importance each year as a platform for innovative discussion on the approach to follow and the actions to undertake in making our citabstract-submission-now-open-for-2017ies liveable and healthy urban communities. Abstract Submission and Registration are now open!

Conference Topics Include:

  • The New Urban Agenda
  • Commitment to Health
  • Community Participation and Social Development
  • The Liveable Neighbourhood
  • Responsible Resource Management
  • Bringing Nature Back
  • Showcasing Regional Liveable Cities and Centres

Presenters or organisations are invited to submit an Abstract to present at the conference. Presenters are encouraged to submit papers that in particular demonstrate evidence of change – highlighting an understanding of the issues, framing the action and interpreting the change.

SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT HERE

REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE HERE

Who Should Attend:

  • Policy Makers
  • Urban Designers
  • Politicians
  • Senior Public Servants
  • City Governance Personnel
  • Public Health Administrators
  • Academics
  • Waste Management Professionals
  • National Resources Administrators
  • Planning Professionals
  • Environmental Groups
  • Engineers
  • Sustainability Practitioners
  • Business Development Managers
  • Transformation Leaders
  • Environmental Managers
  • Consultants
  • Social Planners
  • Town Planners
  • Mayors
  • Non-Government Agencies
  • Students
  • Coastal Resource Managers
  • Place Makers

Discount registration is available for those attending both the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and the 2017 Safe Cities Conference which run consecutively at the same venue.

We are looking forward to another successful year of the Making Cities Liveable Conference and hope you can join us, for further information on the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference please visit the conference website.

Higher density urban living has become a primary concern for urban planners, who grapple with issues such as infrastructure development, traffic management and housing solutions. But beyond these physical concerns, there are a number of very real human issues that also need to be addressed by planners as well as developers and architects.

For all of its benefits, city living isolates people from the natural world, and new research is finding that this isolation affects the wellbeing of urbanites. With some clever design thinking, however, we can create cities that are more sustainable and offer a higher quality of life.

As cities grow, it’s easy for green spaces to become an afterthought in the planning process. This is not just the case in public spaces, but also in the development of residential and commercial projects.

Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore

Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore

Many city councils now have limited regulations in place specifying how much green space a new building should deliver, but going above and beyond this will have a positive impact on the environment, wellbeing of residents, the liveability of the property and its resale value.

In the last week alone there has been a great deal of public discussion over the design of apartment buildings in Brisbane, after research by Associate Professor Rosemary Kennedy from QUT’s Design Lab found that many new developments are too hot for the city’s sub-tropical climate.

Due to the excessive heat generated from their glass facades, these building require a higher amount of air-conditioning for temperature regulation.

“One of my major concerns is that we’re not designing our buildings using good design; we’re using electricity to solve design problems,” she said in an interview with ABC News.

She believes that as buyers become aware of these design issues, resale prices will suffer and tenant turnover rates will increase.

Building our cities without any regard for climate regulation contributes to the urban heat island effect, which negatively impacts the liveability of a city. This effect occurs when building materials such as concrete, glass and bitumen absorb and hold on to heat and, as a result, increase the temperature of a city.

By incorporating plants into buildings through rooftop gardens or green walls, however, we can begin to offset this effect and cool the structure, in turn reducing the need for air-conditioning.

If we were to create enough green spaces to cool Australia’s cities by eight degrees, it is estimated that the reduced use of air-conditioning alone will lower carbon emissions by 12–15 percent each year.

One Central Park, Sydney

One Central Park, Sydney

Integrating plants into city buildings is also an effective way to absorb stormwater runoff and reduce the noise levels experienced within office and apartment buildings.

These benefits are in addition to the well-known role trees play in filtering the air by soaking pollutants. So what seems like a simple element of city design can have a big impact on sustainable living and the practicality of a building.

It’s not just the environment that benefits from the practice of biophilic design – human health and mental wellbeing improves too. A recent 2009 Dutch study found that those who live less than 1km from green space had lower incidence of 15 diseases including depression, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

Here at home, 83 percent of Australians relate relaxation and time out with green spaces, and 73 percent see their garden as a place to improve their mental wellbeing.

It is believed that this inherently positive association with nature lowers stress and anxiety levels, contributing to improved mental and physical wellbeing. Given this association, buyers are willing to pay more for a feeling of connection with nature.

Read more.

Growing the economy – not city planning – has become the government’s main rationale for building urban transport infrastructure.

Soon after becoming prime minister in September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull declared:

I will be an infrastructure prime minister.

Subsequently, his government’s focus seems to be largely on infrastructure projects – including urban transport infrastructure – “which drive … growth and jobs”.

Transport infrastructure is seen as a facilitator of growth and competitiveness in our cities. This is where much of Australia’s economic growth is generated. But, while important, promoting economic growth is not transport’s only major function.

Until recently, it was generally accepted that urban transport and land development needed to be planned in an integrated way, having regard to what city future was desired. Transport infrastructure investment would then help to achieve that city future.

While city planning was once a “tool for correcting and avoiding market failure”’, it is now much more about promoting economic growth by providing certainty for the development industry and reducing regulation.

Under this increasingly dominant view, city planning (by governments) is seen as a generally distorting influence on property markets. Regulation is a “transaction cost”.

Major urban transport investment is increasingly divorced from achieving broader city planning objectives. This includes equitable access to services and facilities.

For example, there is a disconnect between the TransApex major road program and urban planning in southeast Queensland. This program of four major road projects in Brisbane aimed to improve cross-city travel and keep the economy strong. However, TransApex was at odds with the southeast Queensland regional plan’s aim of promoting sustainability and reducing car dependency.

Instead of an integrated city planning approach, governments are increasingly basing transport investment decisions on cost-benefit analyses.

Cost-benefit analysis for transport projects involves weighing up the costs (construction and operating costs) and benefits (travel time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, crash cost savings and wider economic benefits). If the dollar value of the benefits exceeds the costs, the project is considered justified.

It has recently been suggested that all transport projects where benefits exceed costs by some margin should be built, apparently with little regard to the effects of those projects on city planning. The significant limitations of cost-benefit analyses are well documented. It is particularly troubling that, for transport projects, these analyses rely on a flawed assumption that motorists aim to minimise generalised costs.

Cost-benefit analyses also provide limited guidance in deciding which projects advance broader city planning objectives. Decisions about transport investments are really about what kind of future city we desire.

These are decisions about values as much as they are about economics. American philosopher Michael Sandel is concerned that conversations about the future are largely framed in technocratic (often economic) terms. This leaves public discourse “hollowed out”.

The Gold Coast light rail project neglected the social equity effects of a roughly $1 billion public investment. AAP/Dave Hunt

The Gold Coast light rail project neglected the social equity effects of a roughly $1 billion public investment. AAP/Dave Hunt

The social equity effects of transport investment are not usually taken into account. The public investment of about A$1 billion in the Gold Coast light rail disproportionately benefits residents, landowners and businesses close to the stations. Other Gold Coast residents – including many disadvantaged people – have to drive or make do with a relatively low-quality bus service.

With cities now urged to market themselves, “flagship” projects like the light rail are valued as means of giving cities an advantage in a world of footloose businesses and investors. These projects are considered important for growing the economy.

The Gold Coast light rail is an 18-year public-private partnership (PPP). PPP contracts frequently include “non-compete” clauses (no new competition with the PPP infrastructure). These can constrain future city planning decisions, however desirable they may be.

Read more.

Castlemaine architect Simon Disler thinks there is a crucial missing step when designing more sustainable houses for the mass housing market: flexibility.

“We wanted to come up with a building concept that was really about having a modular floor planning system that means you can shuffle the parts of the building around to adapt to a site to get good performance,” Mr Disler said.

That means thinking about lot size and orientation and then adapting a floor plan to the site so that a house faces the sun. He said this step is a cost-effective way to save energy consumption — but it is missing in the mass housing market.

Dr Masa Noguchi, Associate Professor in Environmental Design at The University of Melbourne agrees.

Even through it was difficult to provide a precise figure in terms of estimated savings, he estimated a 30 percent reduction of use of free clean energy provided for by the sun if a house facing west or east instead of north.

“Orientation of the building is extremely important,” he said.

“The sun is free clean energy so why don’t we use free clean energy?”

Architect Simon Disler thinks customised floorplans are crucial for good solar passive design.

Architect Simon Disler thinks customised floorplans are crucial for good solar passive design.

Mr Disler said one of the problems with the mass housing building industry was the focus on the end product rather than customising the product to suit its location.

“The building industry is sort of characterised by choosing a postcard of a house and crowbarring it into a site,” he said.

“There’s not really any expertise and much consideration of which way it should face regarding the sun which is going to give you your sort of key performance.”

Despite all new Australian housing having to comply with a national six-star energy rating system, Mr Disler said there are “lots of holes in the system” because the energy rating happens on paper prior to construction of the building and not after the build.

According to Mark Davies, group manager at Australian Buildings Codes Board (ABCB), the board is responsible for developing the national construction code but not enforcing it during construction.

“There needs to be both the prescriptive requirements and the code and the follow up by the appropriate building authority,” he said.

Greg Rowell, general manager at mass housing provider Cavalier Homes Bendigo, said a certificate of occupancy is granted by a building surveyor after a “fairly comprehensive” inspection, but it is limited.

“[It] is a visual inspection by the inspector, it’s not based on any thermal testing or that type of thing,” he said.

Mr Rowell agreed that, in an ideal world, a block would be selected and the house designed to suit that block. He said it is something the company does but not often. Instead, most houses are built to face the street.

Instead the company meet their six-star energy rating through the use of efficient materials and includes double-glazed windows, rainwater collection systems and solar panels.

“We do allow quite a few changes that will give the house a better footprint, if you like, to sustainability,” he said.

Read more.

National developer Mirvac has unveiled its plans to deliver a new, 187-hectare masterplanned community in Melbourne’s northern growth corridor, named ‘Olivine’, that will build on its strong track record of creating award winning communities across Australia.

Olivine in Donnybrook is planned to strengthen and exceed previous benchmarks set for education, community wellbeing, urban design, sustainability and housing diversity in greenfield communities. To be developed over 10 to 15 years, the community will be home to approximately 7000 people across 2250 homes.

It will feature a new local town centre as well as education, health, sports and community infrastructure, with a destination adventure park to draw people from across the region. Mirvac’s General Manager of Residential Victoria, Elysa Anderson, said access to early amenity and affordable quality education were some of the most important factors in residential development and Mirvac had prioritised this aspect through a landmark agreement with Hume Anglican Grammar.

The renowned local school will open a new campus at Olivine offering innovative learning models for students from Prep to Secondary school. It is anticipated to open in 2019 as the first residents move in. Mirvac is also in talks to establish a government primary school on site to service Olivine’s eventual 7000 residents.

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“Olivine will be one of Melbourne’s most anticipated residential communities, promising exceptional amenity and community assets from day one,” Ms Anderson said. “Our integrated Mirvac team have aimed to reimagine urban life. The focus has been creating a walkable neighbourhood as well as a community that offers residents considered opportunities, including education, retail, commercial, employment, as well as community amenities with open green spaces never more than a 400m walk from their new home.”

Hume Anglican Grammar Principal, Bill Sweeney, said years of planning with Mirvac has resulted in what will be an exciting campus and an integral part of the community at Olivine, where more members of the Hume and Whittlesea areas can access an outstanding educational experience.

“Young families are looking for a quality education for their children and Hume Anglican Grammar at Olivine will provide this opportunity for 1,200 students on the expansive eight-hectare site,” said Mr Sweeney. “This campus will also provide a focal point where Olivine’s residents can come together with other families, building a strong sense of belonging and community.”

Mirvac will bring the thinking behind its Smart Cities strategy launched at Woodlea to Olivine, using new technology to raise awareness of environmental sustainability among the community.

Read more.

Another week, and another duel between rivals Sydney and Melbourne as to which city is more liveable/cultural/interesting/full of wankers.

This time, the salvo was inadvertently thrown by Time Out magazine, which awarded Melbourne second place behind Chicago in its index of the most fun cities in the world.

Sydney came a sad third-last and, according to Time Out, Sydneysiders are “drunk, horny and miserable”. Quite the trifecta of emotional dead-ends.

Brisbane is much like Sydney and Melbourne were 20 years ago — up and coming, friendly, affordable and totally liveable.

Brisbane is much like Sydney and Melbourne were 20 years ago — up and coming, friendly, affordable and totally liveable.

Smug Melburnians, meanwhile, get to delight in yet another survey, which confirms the most entrenched of Melbourne prejudices: that we live in the best city in Australia and Sydney is the flashy, tarted-up counterpoint to our gentle sophistication.

But as someone who has lived in all three capital cities at one point in her adult life, and who has called Melbourne home for the past eight, I’m here to tell both Sydney and Melbourne residents that you have it wrong.

The best capital city to live in is Brisbane.

Yes, the Brisbane river might be brown, but the man-made beach at Southbank is really very nice. Picture: Anthony ReginatoSource:News Corp Australia

Yes, the Brisbane river might be brown, but the man-made beach at Southbank is really very nice. Picture: Anthony Reginato Source:News Corp Australia

Read more.

The Urban Developer

Do we get the maximum value from our urban environment in South East Queensland? The team at Scotty Valentine Design have taken on this question to develop a concept for the South East Queensland of 2031 and for the continued liveability and economic prosperity of the future.

We’ve developed an innovative concept that explores tourism opportunities in South East Queensland, exclusively for the SEQ Regional Plan Review. We’ve called our concept FLEXURBAN, a conceptual set of ideas for the development of our region to benefit the people of South East Queensland by creating flexible connections from our major port infrastructure, to our communities and our natural tourism resources.

seq-map_urban-developer

Connecting South East Queensland

FLEXURBAN proposes to connect all international airports to each other via a high speed rail link to drive more value out of our existing port infrastructure and to link our best tourism destinations, which would drive the growth of visitors to our region and the ability for visitors to enjoy world class tourism destinations minutes from our cities and airports. The implementation of a faster commuter rail and additional light rail systems connecting valuable coastal communities to airports, high speed rail and second tier cities will offer growth opportunities outside of our city centre creating a flexible city that spans the region. It will offer all who live and visit South East Queensland easy access to exciting destinations to grow, live and enjoy.

Growing Our Communities Responsibly

Our study on the Moreton Bay region highlighted the need for 91,000 dwellings by 2031 (that’s dwellings not people). To continue to develop as we have in the past and present could have catastrophic effects on our natural environment and our economy.

Read the full article from The Urban Developer here.

Did you know that 60% of the cities we will need by 2030 are not yet built? Thinking about this is both exciting and daunting (often not in equal measure). ‘Smart city’ is today’s trendy buzzword, but it is one that has various meanings depending on who you ask. Many believe that by creating smart cities we will inevitably address the challenges that our future cities face, but is this really the case? Are smart cities necessarily sustainable?Agneta Persson

With over 35 years’ experience and as WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Global Director for Future Cities, Agneta Persson has a vested interest in the future of the world’s cities. She has had a significant hand in a number of ground-breaking projects in her home country of Sweden, including the Royal Seaport in Stockholm – a place which is expected to be fossil-fuel free by 2030 and the new Brunnshög district in Lund, which is set to be one of the most advanced scientific hubs in the world.

But if you ask Agneta about smart cities, she’ll tell you that she’s not particularly fond of the phrase.

“I prefer the term ‘wise city’ because ‘smart’ is not necessarily best. Simply adding resources to cities for the purpose of making them smart won’t always provide added value.

“A sustainable city is always smart, but a smart city is not necessarily sustainable.”

So, how can we go about assessing the value of adding resources?

“You have to start with an early multidisciplinary analysis, keeping in mind the development goals you want to achieve. Then you establish what the most important areas are; is it infrastructure, is it property? From this you find common themes, identifying where there are synergies between different disciplines and what type of resources we should try to promote as well as identifying any conflicts of interests which need to be dealt with.”

When done well this offers a possible solution to many of the challenges that our cities face; one of those being climate change, which Agneta believes to be the most pressing issue facing our global cities.

The power of the people

Speaking to Agneta about future cities, you’ll note a reoccurring theme – the importance of effective stakeholder engagement, particularly in the planning of new developments.

“It is always important to understand who the most powerful driver is and what’s in it for them so you can develop and present a solid business case when starting discussions. This way you can ensure that the work that you’re doing will provide meaningful value.

“We also need to ensure that we plan around the citizen. In our industry we tend to assume a lot about what people want and how they want it. But we need to understand their preferences, and be more proactive in talking to them.’

Such proactivity has been successfully practised in WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff Canada where they have implemented a ‘tactical engagement’ program, as Agneta explains.

“The program allows us to analyse specific demographic groups affected by a proposed development and enables us to engage with them in a manner that is suitable and convenient for them. For instance, setting up a 7pm meeting in a council hall would not be useful if the key demographic you wanted to speak to was working mothers.

“Tactical engagement enables us to find where our key demographic is so we can meet with them to discuss their view and what’s important to them. This is an ideal situation because both parties leave the meeting better informed.’” Aside from citizens, Agneta also talks about the benefits of fostering for greater collaboration between different stakeholders including property owners, infrastructure owners, developers, architects, government, traffic planners, businesses and the academic world.

Sustainability in Sweden

Sweden is often hailed as the world leader in sustainable urban planning and design. In a country where landfill is illegal, city planners have been very resourceful, creating a system where waste can be used to produce energy.

Together with Sweden’s Green Building Council, WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff developed an ‘integrated planning method’ for development that has been widely adopted throughout the country.

“The method is very powerful as it offers the possibility to reduce resource needs. It also assists towards identifying synergies and any possible conflicts of interest early on, avoiding future complications and associated costs.

“For instance in energy where we work a lot, the starting point is looking at the amount of energy we need, not how much we can produce. First we start with energy efficiency in transport, and buildings, industry and infrastructure and then in the transmission and production of energy.

“We can create a circular economy with closed loops, where for instance we can make biogas, which can be used as fuel for vehicles from the organic waste. The remaining waste could then be used for incineration for electricity and heating or cooling. If we require additional energy supply, it should be produced from renewable sources; wind energy, solar, hydro power – whatever is deemed best.”

Agneta knows a thing or two about energy. She had a significant role in planning for the highly energy-efficient district of Brunnshög, Lund, chosen as the most appropriate location to house the world’s largest particular accelerator.

View the original article from The Urban Developer here.

Coromandel Place, Guildford Lane, Katherine Place and Meyers Place are set to be transformed into green leafy spaces as part of the ‘Green Your Laneway’ pilot project by City of Melbourne.

Working closely with residents and businesses, City of Melbourne has developed a range of preliminary concept designs for each laneway showing a range of greening options that are being investigated for each lane.

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With over two hundred laneways in the central city, totalling nearly nine hectares, the Green Your Laneway program was established to help transform the city’s laneways into leafy, green and useable spaces with vertical gardens, new trees and new places to sit and relax. The program seeks to enhance the experience of Melbourne’s laneways further, with the opportunity to transform them into the ‘city’s back yard.’ Concepts being investigated include potential for vertical greening, trees, and places to dwell and relax.

The selected laneways are Coromandel Place, Guildford Lane, Meyers Place and Katherine Place. Initial design concepts have been developed for each with further community engagement to refine the concepts, funded by the City of Melbourne.

Invitations are open for the public to share their views on the ideas by exploring the range of greening approaches being worked on with the stakeholders in each laneway. You can also provide your feedback and sign-up for updates on each laneway page.

The City of Melbourne, through our Urban Forest Strategy, has a comprehensive plan for greening major streets and precincts, but not the smaller laneways. Across the municipality, laneways occupy a ground area of 60 hectares, with a further 150 hectares of space on the walls in these laneways.

The Green Your Laneway pilot project investigates the opportunity for lanes to be greened for the following reasons:

  • providing shading and local cooling
  • improved aesthetics and local amenity
  • ecological benefits
  • health and wellbeing flow on effects
  • increasing landscape permeability (and hence flood mitigation and passive watering)
  • creating opportunities for relaxation and recreation.

Read more.