The 2018 Liveable Cities Conference is being held next month over 16 – 17 July at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park.
Now in its 11th year, this Conference will continue to explore the liveability of our metropolitan and regional urban centres.
Ms Dina Bacvic, Architect and Urban Designer at Plus Architecture joins us at the conference to discuss ‘Neighbourhood living rooms: how town squares can build better communities’.
Australian urban design has historically focused on providing and improving access to public green spaces. As our cities expand and increase in density, this is a crucial part of creating healthy, engaged communities. But Australian urban designers often fail to consider the “other half” of public space – the town square.
Public squares or plazas were, and are, the centres of daily public life in many European towns and cities. Today they still influence the perception of place and help shape local identity. In Australia however, public squares are predominantly found in cities – limiting the benefits such spaces can provide for suburban communities. Social isolation is a major health concern and public spaces that offer opportunities for incidental interactions can help build healthier and less isolated communities.
A short history of public gathering spaces in Melbourne will be presented, followed by a reflection on Italian town squares which will introduce what a successful town square might feel like. Combating social isolation, a sense of place and other benefits a range of public gathering spaces provide for a community will also be examined.
Finally, a plan of Merrified, a new city centre 30km from Melbourne, will be presented. Merrifield will be Victoria’s largest mixed-use master planned city, designed around principles of sustainability, liveability and health. It represents a new direction for Melbourne’s expanding satellite cities with provision of employment, recreational and leisure opportunities to ensure a sense of vibrancy and engagement. The presentation will focus on the ideas behind the plan and how a range of public spaces were included in the concept.
Awarded the DesignInc Prize for Environmentally Sustainable Design in 2014, Dina imbues her work with a focus on improving urban development outcomes to deliver more liveable cities. Her thesis completed at the University of Melbourne explored Japanese city structure as an alternative to the Anglo-American development pattern evident in Melbourne. With extensive experience in multi-residential design and delivery, Dina uses her detailed understanding of best practice urban design to inform and educate her work. She has written for academic news publication The Conversation, and tutors at The University of Melbourne.
For more information on the upcoming 2018 Liveable Cities Conference in Melbourne and to secure your spot please visit liveablecities.org.au