Urban Design 98 - Spring 2006

Urban Design in Australia

Publication Date: 01 April 2006


It is widely acknowledged that the UK’s planning and design system is underpinned by a fresh-faced and enthusiastic stream of urban designers from Australia and New Zealand. This issue of Urban Design, the quarterly journal of the Urban Design Group, sheds some light on what has been happening on a few key Australian urban design projects and issues in their absence.


Susan Parham draws together a range of articles which indicate that density, transport oriented development and ‘urbanising’ the suburbs are still key issues, while Barrie Shelton offers an overview on the future influence of Europe and Asia on Australian urban design. The Melbourne projects featured include RMIT’s Urban Spaces project (Young Designer - Helen Day), an interview with Federation Square’s designer Peter Davidson (Quentin Stevens), the city’s 2030 Challenge ‘vision’ (Bronwen Hamilton), and from Sydney, the western land release project (Chip Kaufman).


The April issue of Urban Design also reports on recent UDG lectures, Richard Sennett’s RTPI talk and reviews of recent books. It features the Urban Design Group’s proposed new membership structure which would give urban designers professional membership for comments. CABE outlines its ongoing research to map the actual value of good design, to give ammunition on why design matters, and the Prince’s Foundation desrcibes the design coding ‘Transect’ idea with US examples. In reaction to recent articles in Urban Design, there are two Reader’s Responses about perimeter blocks, figure ground plans and the privatisation of public space in Birmingham city centre.


The Viewpoints cover how to design higher density housing, drawing upon work in Edinburgh (Eugene Mullan), while Andreas Luque and Mike Duff argue for the valuation of urban ecosystems, to reinforce sustainable development policies and recognise their essential contribution. On an international theme, the rise of Bilbao is described (Judith Ryser), and a new way of ‘exposing’ urban data is shown for London, New York and Toronto (Nadia Amoroso). Three case studies feature the new model village New Waltham near Grimsby (Derek Latham), the renaissance of King’s Lynn (Richard Walker), and the Wonford Home Zone project championed by Devon County Council (Dan Hutchinson).