Following on from the 2015 X-Section article Reimagining a City: 21st Century Landscape Architecture and the paper given by Mike Thomas at the 2015 6th Liveable Cities Conference titled Reimagining Christchurch City’s Post-Quake Public Realm: The Influence of 21st Century Landscape Architecture on the Rebuild, Mike posited that it is the work of landscape architects that will most consistently influence the appearance and social and economic success of Christchurch’s new post-quake public realm in the rebuild.  The following is a brief update on progress.

Christchurch is unique in New Zealand. Following the 2011 earthquake, it has started over. 70% of CBD buildings have needed demolition, services under the street have needed reconstruction and the city is now in a slow-but-steady state of rebuild.

A positive outlook of a city ‘beginning again’ has been the opportunity for the government to engage with the city and put in place an infrastructure rebuild using principles defined by its people. Cantabrians have asked for a green, walking, cycling city with public transport.landscape driven city

City planning has zoned the CBD into ‘Frames’ according to the activity of the district (e.g. innovation, health). A focus has been applied to developing the public realm and streetscape and so landscape architecture is playing a dominant role in shaping the character of the city centre – an evolutionary shift not a wholesale changeover.

This South Frame project consists of 20,000m2 of mid-block lanes and plazas across seven city blocks on major arterial routes in the city (Tuam/St Asaph and Madras/Antigua Streets). It’s part of a wider ‘Accessible City’ project which consists of 75,000 m2 of streetscapes containing 250 new street trees and 4,000m2 of rain gardens,   developed by a consortium of Jasmax, AECOM and LandLAB. South Frame’s construction began in 2016 and is now approximately 20% complete with work now proceeding at full pace.

A 12 metre-wide, 700 metre long, heavily planted Greenway collects, slows and treats storm water runoff with almost 3,000m2 of rain gardens. Designed as a setting for a creative new mixed-use precinct, connecting the Innovation and Health Precincts, the Greenway is a canvas for cultural expression in partnership with Ngāi Tahu; the local Māori tribe. A theme of this greenway is a “Story of Stone”, which features backlit pounamu (Jade/greenstone) pavement inlays, basalt laneways and boulders. The Greenway will be a venue for social activation and a safe movement corridor, particularly attractive to inner-city living and working.

The layout for the Greenway owes much to Canterbury’s beautiful braided rivers, pixelated to align with urban geometry. Local tree species, Kahikatea and totara, will rise above the buildings as future sentinels to help navigate the city centre. Ethno-botanical plantings with historical value to Ngāi Tahu will be planted, with identification tags.

Separated cycle-lanes and shared surfaces will enable safe cycling through the city, and connect to a regional cycleway network, the Peloton. Architecturally iconic Super Stops (for buses) are being fabricated, ready to play their part in a three-fold increase (by 2041) of public transport movements.

Construction of these projects is in full swing with a significant portion built by 2018.

By Mike Thomas, Principal, Jasmax

 The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017.

Mr Mark Casserly, Director Community Services for City of Karratha joins us this year to present “From mining town to liveable city”.

The Pilbara region in Western Australia is a place of extremes in terms of scale, climate, history, resources and beauty. With just 2.6% of the state’s population the region delivers 11.62 % of Western Australia’s Gross State Product. The per worker contribution to the economy in the Pilbara is nearly three times that of the balance of the state and nearly four times that of the nation.

Mark Casserly

Welcome to the City of Karratha, the regional capital of the Pilbara and powerhouse of the nation; a place with a ‘can do’ and ‘fair go’ attitude.

Once a series of mining towns, Karratha is now a vibrant and modern cosmopolitan city. Karratha is underpinned by a strong and diversifying economy and offers an unparalleled lifestyle in a community with a rich tapestry of character, culture and heritage.

Riding the crest of the mining boom in the mid 2000’s and weathering the global financial crisis of 2008, the state government’s Pilbara Cities Initiative injected $1.7billion into the region. Karratha has been a proud recipient of this transformative initiative and has emerged with a vision to become Australia’s most liveable regional city.

The story of Karratha’s growth and development is exciting and compelling, clearly fuelled by world-wide demand for raw resources. The rapid fire injection of essential infrastructure, community facilities and social services to a booming economy and the consequential impact of a fall in resource prices in recent years have certainly been experienced. The relentless pace of exponential growth has softened. There is a sense of normalcy emerging in community life.

Now is the time to complete the city’s transition from adolescence to maturity. It is a time for consolidation, for deepening connections and growing resilience. This presentation will share the journey to date and the plans and initiatives proposed for the future.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out more here.

Australia’s poor recycling track record has an upside.

Cleanaway, Australia’s largest garbage company, has the potential to extract enough gas from rotting rubbish to produce electricity for as many as 80,000 homes, according to Chief Executive Officer Vik Bansal.

garbage to power australian homes

Photo: article supplied

“Twenty years ago, this was all going to waste,” Bansal said in an interview last week in Melbourne. The gas was getting “flared up in the environment, now it’s creating electricity,” he said.

Australia is the eighth-largest per-capita producer of municipal waste among developed economies, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. A report last year by the Australian Council of Recycling showed the nation recycled just 41 per cent of that waste, compared with Germany on 65 per cent.

That’s proving a boon for companies such as Cleanaway, which extracts gas from landfill sites to power engines, in turn generating electricity that’s sold to the national grid. It’s adding innovative, if relatively small, supplies of power as Australia debates its future energy mix and seeks to curb emissions.

Melbourne-based Cleanaway sold 145,000 megawatt-hours of electricity to the grid from 120 million cubic metres of captured landfill gas last financial year, according to its annual report. The company has 11 of its own landfills, seven of which are providing electricity, Bansal said.

The company isn’t alone in turning rubbish to power.

Suez, Veolia

Paris-based Suez generated 263,000 megawatt-hours of electricity from its Australian landfill sites in 2014, according to the company’s website. Veolia Environment says it currently captures enough gas to power 2,500 homes from a site in New South Wales state and within 10 years will power an additional 12,000 from a facility in Queensland.

Cleanaway says it has doubled capacity at its largest landfill site in Melbourne to 8.8 megawatts, which will come online by October. Within 20 years, depending on the volume of waste it collects, it could produce enough electricity nationally to power as many as 80,000 homes, Bansal said.

This article was originally published by Sydney Morning Herald.

Click here to read the entire article.

Sign up today to attend the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane this July!

Mrs Jaymie Webster, Principal Planner of Strategic Planning at Central Highlands Regional Council will be attending this year’s Conference, presenting “Beazley Park and the Rolleston Coffee Cart”.

The story so far: In 2012, Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC) prepared the Central Highlands 2022 Community Plan. We have been continuing to work with and deliver on our community plan and as a result in 2014 and 2015 CHRC established community reference groups (CRGs) across our thirteen (13) identified communities.

Each CRG provides representation of a cross-sector of the community to ensure that a wide sample of the community population is represented. Council is represented on the CRG through a local councillor and member of the community development team.

Rolleston is a small town with a population of approximately 109 persons and has a broader rural population of 291. The Rolleston CRG was established in 2015. The next step in the process of the community plan is implementation. The Rolleston 2022 CRG have been working through the Rolleston action plan where it was identified early on that the local park, Beazley Park, was the central focal point of the town, which needed some beautification to revitalise this space for residents and tourists/visitors.

Since this time the Rolleston CRG have taken advantage of knowledge and skills available internally within council, through the planning and parks and garden teams, and worked collaboratively to create a concept plan for Beazley Park and numbered priorities to stage the delivery.

The community of Rolleston have started the ˜Rolleston Coffee Cart in the Park” (check out their Facebook page!). The cart itself has been decorated and donated by a member of the community and the cart is run by dedicated bunch of volunteers. All funds raised from the operation of the coffee cart are going towards the beautification of Beazley Park project. The coffee cart started operation in March 2016 and operated during the drive-tourism season, which concluded in September 2016, raising over $30,000.

CHRC, in this year’s budget, has allocated $20,000 to each CRG. This combined with the fundraised amount and successful grant applications will mean the beautification project will be able to be delivered earlier than if Council needed to plan and budget for the project to take place.

The Beazley Park beautification project is a great example of council asking, listening to and working with the community to deliver outcomes the community want. The Rolleston CRG, and the CRGs as a whole are helping to develop relationships and trust between CHRC and the community.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out what’s on for this year here.

beazley park

Sign up today to attend the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane this July!

Mr Adam Davies, Principal at HASSELL joins us this year to present “Herston Quarter Redevelopment: Supporting new models of care through positioning, partnering and place-making”.

Since the decentralisation of the Queensland Health system regional Health Boards across the State have been defining new models of care and delivery, including the needs and direction of their health precincts and facilities. In 2014 the Queensland State Government and the Metro North Hospital and Health Service commenced the search for a development partner to redefine the future of almost six hectares of Brisbane’s largest health precinct at Herston in Brisbane.

adam davies

Adam Davies

This presentation will explore the rationale, process and outcome of what will become the Herston Quarter Redevelopment. The Herston Quarter will be a ‘health precinct plus’ that delivers: new services; uses collocation, adjacencies and partnerships to leverage value; and creates a new precinct that allows health, research, education and the city to coexist for the betterment of patients, staff, and visitors.

The $1.1 billion (Australian Dollar), Herston Quarter Redevelopment will be delivered in partnership with Australian Unity. It will deliver a range of new health and biomedical uses, complemented by a private hospital, student accommodation, residential, child care, consulting and a wellbeing precinct providing high quality accommodation and wellness facilities for an aging population.

The new Specialist Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Centre will anchor the Quarter, returning the now vacant Royal Children’s Hospital site, back into a modern public health use. The redevelopment will retain five heritage buildings at the core of the development showcasing some of Brisbane’s most important historical health architecture. This new piece of the city will invite human occupation, through a generosity of public realm, open spaces, safe connections and a new retail, food and beverage offer.

The presentation will introduce the Herston Health Precinct with an overview of the last six years that have included master planning, design and feasibility studies to firmly position the future for Brisbane’s largest tertiary health precinct. It will examine the key manoeuvres proposed for the precinct that will define its future. The precinct master plan, public realm and architectural strategy will be presented to establish how the precinct will evolve over the next 10 years.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out what’s on for this year here.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017.

Mr Charles Nilsen, Principal Consultant for Nilsen Consulting PDM joins us this year to discuss “How vulnerable is successful urban regeneration?”

Charles Nilsen

This paper examines the dynamics of successful sustainable urban regeneration, as well as the unintended negative consequences of short-term political and commercial objectives, and the lessons that can be learnt.

Located in a major activity centre in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the award winning Eaton Street Pedestrian Mall project is a case study in both successful urban regeneration, following a very considered planning and design process involving extensive community engagement, and commercial exploitation leading to premature, and avoidable, decline.

The project, which was designed as a ‘public living room’, has resulted in the creation of a very attractive and desirable place with substantial social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits.

These include private investment of more than twelve [12] times the public investment with growth in employment; greatly enhanced community pride and social inclusion; a safer, inclusive and more vibrant public place; development of a Greek cultural precinct; urban art work and a very liveable urban landscape for people supported by innovative water sensitive design.

However, just a few short years on poor governance, management and decision-making have compromised this success with removal of furniture, art works, plantings and democratic community space to provide more street trading space for a very small number of cafe traders. There are now the early signs of decline and loss of vibrancy.

The paper also examines the contribution of authentic community engagement and the essential elements of humanistic urbanism, why they matter and how they contribute to sustainable liveable streets and healthy places for people.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out what’s on for this year here.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017. 

Mr Peter Fryar, Director of Key Urban Planning will be attending this year’s conference, discussing “Greater Sydney Commission – Draft North District Plan (Hornsby Region – Case Study)”.

The NSW Government recently released its vision for the future growth and direction of the Sydney Metropolitan Area in a document titled ‘A Plan for Growing Sydney: Forming Part of the Greater Sydney Regional Plan’.

greater sydney plan

Peter Fryar

The NSW Government has established The Greater Sydney Commission and has placed on public exhibition the first ever 20 year draft District Plans one for each of Greater Sydney’s six districts.

The presenter has almost 30 years experience as a Manager in Local Government Planning working for a number of NSW Councils including Byron Shire, Wyong Shire, Hornsby Shire and Auburn Council. He now operates a Planning Consultancy based in Hornsby on the northern fringe of the Sydney Metropolitan Area for the past 4 years.

Sydney as a city is suffering a housing crisis particularly for affordable housing. The presenter has been involved in a Planning Proposal for significant lands just south of the Hornsby CBD as well as working on a Development Application for a 27 storey shop top housing development within the Hornsby Town Centre that ultimately went to Appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Achieving the ultimate objectives for future growth of Sydney is challenging as a Planner now working in private practice and having to deal with a complex Planning system in NSW, difficult Local Government situation undergoing Council amalgamations and a Planning Profession that can at times be obstructive to achieving development outcomes.

The purpose of the presentation is to give a challenging insight from the perspective of an experienced Town Planner.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out more here.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017. 

Ms Louise Sureda, Director of Planning & Environment Services for Transport for New South Wales will be at this year’s conference, presenting “Light rail – a catalyst for change in Western Sydney”.

The re-introduction of light rail is becoming an ever increasing trend across Australia. Major cities are seeing the benefits light rail brings to the revitalisation of places within communities. Light rail brings a more efficient form of transport that reduces congestion and promotes gentrification of urban environments and form.

Light rail in general is a more local/regional system of movement within a community that appeals to a wider demographic of customers for reasons of safety, frequency and local accessibility to services, facilities and attractions.  Light rail is more than a commute to work and the user profile has a more 24hr vibrancy of social connection and encouraging the night time economy.

Light rail requires an integrated solution with other modes of transport, promoting active transport with bicycle infrastructure, increased walkability and stimulating urban renewal areas.

Greater Parramatta is undergoing rapid growth and change, with an additional one million people set to call Western Sydney home in the next 20 years. In response, the NSW government is developing a new light rail in Parramatta, to service the Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula.

Parramatta Light Rail will support the growth area by connecting people to jobs, education and leisure opportunities and helping to create new communities. It will also support the government’s focus on revitalising the wider Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula area.

Planning for the Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula priority growth area will provide opportunities for new community facilities, vibrant public spaces and homes close to transport links and jobs in the Parramatta CBD.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out more here.

light rail western sydney

By Claire Painter, Project Manager, for ClimateWorks Australia

Transport will play an important role for Australia to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement, touching on two of the four steps or ‘pillars’ that can work together to bring us to net zero emissions by 2050.

In Australia, the transport sector is one of our fastest growing sources of emissions, increasing 47.5 per cent since 1990. It accounted for 16 per cent or 92 MtCO2e of Australia’s emissions in 2013-14 and is projected to continue rising.

Claire Painter

However transport also represents the most financially attractive emissions reduction opportunity across the Australian economy. Two pillars of decarbonisation are enacted to achieve this: ‘energy efficiency’- by improving the fuel efficiency of conventional internal combustion engines, and ‘fuel switching’ – shifting to electric vehicles.

So why EVs?

  • When linked to cleaner electricity supply, EVs can provide emission reductions of 16 and 47 per cent in passenger and light commercial vehicle segments by 2030 and 2050 respectively
  • Even EVs recharged by grid electricity are still projected to be less emissions intensive than the average passenger vehicle to 2030
  • Electrification can also significantly contribute to meeting energy productivity targets: approximately 1/3 of the 15 per cent improvement identified to 2030 across the economy
  • They’re now being deployed at scale: In 2015, EVs reached 23 per cent market share in Norway, nearly 10 per cent in the Netherlands and are past 1 per cent in seven other countries
  • Internationally there are moves to ban internal combustion engines: Norway, Netherlands, Germany and India are considering bans on petrol, diesel cars by 2025 and the European Commission plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2050
  • Australia is uniquely vulnerable to disruptions in fossil-fuel supply.

What’s stopping us?

  • EVs will be cost competitive when scale is reached, however large scale consumer uptake will only occur when electric vehicles are cost competitive
  • Lack of consumer knowledge around the value proposition of lower emission vehicles and fuels, concerns about vehicle range and charging infrastructure
  • Australia does not currently have a national EV policy framework and overall support and incentives are weak compared to global peers
  • Collectively, these challenges limit the number of models introduced to the Australian market.


  • Well-designed financial incentives could lower upfront costs, increase sales and infrastructure deployment
  • Non-financial incentives also encourage increased deployment, eg. priority lanes and reserved parking spaces
  • Introduction of collaboratively developed, well-designed best practice standards supported by suitable complementary measures, eg. policies and incentives to increase EV uptake, Government EV bulk buys, tax breaks and government support for the development of charging infrastructure
  • ClimateWorks Australia is drawing on research and evidence to help reduce emissions at national and regional levels and working with industry stakeholders on a range of activities to drive EV uptake.

ClimateWorks Australia is a leading, independent, evidence-based adviser, committed to helping Australia transition to net zero emissions by 2050.

ClimateWorks Australia was founded through a partnership between Monash University and the Myer Foundation and hosted by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

Update by Claire Bower, Healthy Communities Planner for Bellarine Community Health Ltd

The establishment of the three community led action groups has led to significant infrastructure improvements for the regional communities of Portarlington, St Leonards and Indented Head. Positive advocacy has been the process which all groups have employed to bring about change. An agenda for improvements has been devised and acted on by each group as outlined in this update.

The Northern Bellarine Transport Action Group (NBTAG) devised a community expectations document which included proposals for an improved public transport service. These expectations are a follow on from the reinstatement of the hourly bus service which was achieved by the group via a petition. The necessary improvements which are outlined in the document have been communicated to the local member for parliament via a public meeting.

The Bellarine Bicycle Users Group conducted a safety audit of the Bellarine Peninsula roads and bicycle infrastructure. This information was compiled in a document named Principle Bicycle Network for the Bellarine. It outlined the issues and suggested solutions. A video has also been created to communicate the same issues in a visual medium. Titled, “Behind the Handlebars- a bike riders view of the Northern Bellarine’, it clearly shows the issues cyclists face riding in the region. These advocacy methods have resulted in an increase in bicycle lanes, sealing of surfaces and an increase in safety signage.

Locomote, a walkability action group have implemented two different campaigns designed to engage the community on walkability issues. The two Happy Feet campaigns have required the community to vote for their most important improvement out of four key walkability issues in their town. A successful campaign in St Leonards meant that a pedestrian crossing, the most voted for improvement was constructed following the campaign. A similar campaign has commenced for the township of Indented Head.

The changes achieved are a result of the communities efforts coming together to advocate for better built environments. They have been central in creating supportive built environments which encourage everyone in the community to be active.

Claire Bower attended the 2016 Liveable Cities Conference.