International Urban Design Conference (IUDC)
This month, staff from DLA attended the International Urban Design Conference (IUDC) in Melbourne. Held over three days, the conference showcased a range of keynote speakers presenting innovative ideas from within the industry, as well as insights from other related industries.
Of particular interest, Marcus Westbury from Renew Australia spoke about urban renewal in Newcastle, providing a case study where creative thinking and opportunistic urban design were used to overcome local issues of urban decay.
Renew Newcastle (based in downtown Newcastle, NSW) used temporary solutions to activate empty spaces and streets. The initiative sought to provide for people who had creative ideas but limited funds. Utilising as-of-right uses ensured no planning processes or financial investments were required, encouraging ideas to be fast-tracked. The project followed a simple and strong concept – ‘what is left behind is what has worked.’
A similar principal was used following the 2010/2011 Earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. Re:Start, the vibrant container based retail precinct in central Christchurch has gained international acclaim. Seeking to bring people back into the CBD, the project showed how to combine pragmatic design and temporary planning. The project has encouraged ideas to be actively tested by the community and has responded to the devastation of the earthquakes in a cost-effective and relatively simple solution.
Challenges of temporary planning include the need to manage the transition from responding to short-term opportunities to developing more permanent development.
A city is an amalgamation of activities, art, culture, people and nature that is in constant transition. A framework for planning and design must be responsive to these transitions and harness the opportunities presented by the ever-changing city.