Posts Tagged ‘urban design and built form’

Making Cities: A Synopsis of the Melbourne Roundtable Event

Posted in Models by missleeder on April 19th, 2013

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Photo by ¡kuba! via flickr CC

The IFPH (International Foundation for Housing and Planning) are celebrating their centenary this year, with a series of worldwide events to discuss important urban design matters from local to global scale. They are focusing on the seven foundations they see to be crucial to creating more sustainable cities: ‘Making Cities: Smarter, Grow Green, Climate Resilient, Healthier, Globally Connected, Socially Cohesive and Safe and Secure.’

Melbourne was the location for the ‘Making Cities: Safer?‘ Roundtable event, moderated by Dr.Soren Smidt-Jensen of the Danish Architecture Centre, with panellists Jan Gehl (Gehl Architects,Denmark), Rob Adams (Director of City Design, City of Melbourne Council), Hugh Nicholson (Principal Urban Designer at Christchurch City Council, New Zealand) and Khoo Teng Chye (Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), Singapore). An easy camaraderie, ensuing, no doubt from their numerous walking tours around the city in the previous days, added to the enjoyment of the evening.

Some key themes were addressed; the importance of both Government and Community approaches, the Docklands, small versus big developers, strategic retreats and most pertinently for its location, the implications, problems and ideas for Melbourne’s predicted growth.

This intriguing latter topic was expansive with ideas; one being the threat that a lack of social cohesion can have during growth, leading to a disparate city of the ‘haves and have-nots,’ according to Rob, who suggested mixed use, public realm, good connectivity and local character instead. Another threat, to both the aforementioned mixed use and public realm qualities, as well as active street frontages, was raised; that being the demise of the high street shop, in part due to supermarkets, the internet and out of town malls. Jan suggested new opportunities could arise from this, such as spaces for smaller scale businesses, voluntary organisations and creative outlets, whilst acknowledging that these would involve a new type of tenancy, and to a certain degree, economy. The work of Renew was mentioned as showing viable alternatives and opportunities to combat this issue, whilst Rob implored a move away from our current throw-away culture, to better, longer lasting products.

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Creative Suburbs consultation project

Posted in Movements, Seeking by Creative Suburbs on April 15th, 2013

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Ever wondered how your suburb and Melbourne could look like if you had a chance to design it? Where would you start? Maybe with a basketball court in your local park, a tramline or a veggie patch on your nature strip?

There’s finally a site to share and support ideas on how to enhance our suburbs and identify the places and things we love about them. CreativeSuburbs.com.au offers ways to connect with people and organisations who want the same thing, share knowledge and resources and make good things happen.

Let relevant organisations know how you think your suburbs can evolve, how much you love them and other ideas you may have on planning our city’s future.

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Creative Suburbs has also launched the first consultation project: Our Love of the Queen Victoria Market. The marke is a thriving and vital place pulsating with life Creative Suburbs wants to know what you love about the Queen Victoria Market, why you shop at the market, the places you love and if there are any special secrets you know about. The space will be used to share and support ideas on what we love about the market and ideas will be communicated to our Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.

If you want to consult a specific issue, write us an email. We can customise what and how you consult for any amount of time.


Speed Date a Sustainable Designer

Posted in Events by sashashtargot on February 15th, 2013

17 February , 2013
3:00 pmto5:00 pm

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It’s back in 2013! If you missed Speed Date a Sustainable Designer last year, this is your chance to discuss home renovation/building plans and ideas with leading green architects and designers. Held by the Alternative Technology Association with support from bankmecu, it’s free and part of the Sustainable Living Festival.

Ten minutes per ‘date’. All questions asked and answered!

When: Sunday February 17, 3pm

Where: The Green House, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

Bookings essential. For more information on the event, designers available on the day and bookings, go to sdsd.ata.org.au

 


Livable Housing Guidelines: Extending the usefulness of a home

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 2nd, 2012

Source: The Fifth Estate

From Silver standard aim for livable housing:

Livable Housing Australia is hoping industry will take up its silver performance rating – the lowest of three ratings – in a bid to make all new housing suitable for aged and disabled people.

Livable Housing Australia’s program was launched this week.

Executive director Amelia Starr said the program focused on “a mainstream adoption” and was therefore working on the “silver” rating as the most easily achievable.[…] Ms Starr said current building saw houses for “the here and now, the fit and well” but “life wasn’t like that, it’s fluid”.  “We work on sustainability in the home, with lighting and heating, but we don’t look at sustaining ‘us’ in the home. Livability is something we should all be aspiring to.”  Ms Starr said while the program was aimed at making homes suitable for aged and disabled people it would also provide for parents. […]“The reality is that at any one time there could be four generations in the one house.”

LHA chair, Peter Verwer, who is also chief executive officer of the Property Council of Australia, said the organisation’s goal was for the housing industry to step up to a new design standard, the Livable Housing Design Quality Mark, to ensure all new houses were safer, more comfortable and easier to get around by 2020. “Livable Housing Australia champions the adoption of seven critical ‘livable’ design features that help make homes easier to access, navigate and live in, as well more cost-effective to adapt when life’s circumstances change,” Mr Verwer said. “Livable homes work for pregnant mums, young families with kids, as well and those with disability and Australians with sporting or traumatic injuries.

“‘Livability also caters for the needs of an ageing society by promoting homes better suited to seniors. Livable homes will also reduce stress on Australia’s 2.6 million-strong army of unpaid carers.”

Living housing standards will have three performance ratings – silver, gold and platinum. Mr Verwer said the features contained in the guidelines were inexpensive to incorporate into new-build dwellings and would deliver huge dividends as well as peace of mind to future generations of Australians. “It makes sense to commit to livability features when a home is first designed and built rather than wait for an unplanned need to arise,” he said.  “Our goal is to persuade the market to incorporate silver level livability features in all homes by 2020.”

[…]

The seven core design features elements in the silver level are:

  1. A safe continuous and step free path of travel from the street entrance and/or parking area to a dwelling entrance that is level
  2. At least one level (step-free) entrance into the dwelling
  3. Internal doors and corridors that facilitate comfortable and unimpeded movement between spaces
  4. A toilet on the ground (or entry) level that provides easy access
  5. A bathroom that contains a hobless (step-free) shower recess6
  6. Reinforced walls around the toilet, shower and bath to support the safe installation of grabrails at a later date
  7. A continuous handrail on one side of any stairway where there is a rise of more than one metre
See the the Living Design Guide here and read the full article from the Fifth Estate here.


Learning from European Cities

Posted in Models, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on July 12th, 2012

 Source: The Fifth Estate


Photo by Jason Pier in DC via flickr CC

From “Sexy … as in small: the European angle on cities” by Robin Mellon, Green Building Council Australia (GBCA):

[…]

In Australia, we have borrowed much from Europe in the evolution of our cities, not least some of the names. But the majority of Australia’s urban development has occurred during the era of the motor car, and so our towns and cities are much less dense and much more sprawled. And with that broad expanse of country on which to build have come larger and larger homes.

On a worldwide scale, Australia already has five of the 20 least affordable cities, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2012 Worldwide Cost of Living survey. Energy prices are rising fast, mostly due to under-investment in infrastructure over the past 25 years, and water and landfill charges will be tracking in a similar direction.

Europe is similarly undergoing its own financial worries, with significantly higher levels of unemployment, inflation and national debts than Australia. But can we learn from our European cities? What have I taken away from the last few weeks? The lessons I’ve learned can be grouped into four areas:

It’s not the size that counts.

First and foremost is the question of building size – it really isn’t how much you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts. Many of the offices, houses and apartments I saw were simply smaller – there was less space available and a much greater demand for what there was, and so small apartments were the rule rather than the exception. There were also many more good design and good technology solutions for coping with small spaces – whether new development or retrofits. The bottom line is that smaller homes are cheaper to run – how much less would a 100 square metre apartment cost to operate than a 150 square metre apartment?

Small equals savings.

The cars you see in European capital cities are also smaller on average than those in Australia. Whole days would go by without me seeing a big 4WD or people-mover, with everyone using bicycle share schemes, public transport or chic little cars (many of which were, in turn, either car share schemes or rechargeable cars). Small cars are just cheaper to run, and often have a comparable safety rating to larger cars, especially when considering where and how they are most often driven.

Old world ideas for a new age.

Most of Europe’s older buildings were built at a time when ‘sustainability’ was not a buzz-word – they depended upon natural ventilation and natural daylight, shading from the sun, eaves, shutters, balconies on which to grow plants, dry washing and sit outside, and thick walls and insulated roofs to keep the buildings cool in summer and warm in winter. Many of these older buildings, therefore, have good opportunities for retrofitting, now that we can combine good passive design with good technologies and good behaviour.

Adjusting expectations.

Because smaller apartments and cars, and often older buildings, are the norm, people have different expectations. Sure, they might want the latest in modern convenience, but what was most readily available was small and traditional and so the expectations were lower. Certainly the dreams of a European first-time home owner do not equal a 250 square metre house and land package with double garage thrown in, but a small apartment in a walk-up block close to public transport. In Europe I heard many times that the percentage deposit needed for a mortgage was much higher; in turn this helps to keep expectations lower because the smaller the purchase, the smaller the deposit needed.

[…]

Read the full article by Robin Mellon on the Fifth Estate.


Bring back the Bike Budget: Rally tomorrow morning

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on June 20th, 2012

21 June , 2012
7:30 amto8:30 am


World Naked Bike Ride 2012 photo by Charles Van den Broek via flickr CC

Bicycle Network Victoria is inviting every person who rides a bike and cares about the safety of our streets to attend the before-work rally from 7.30-8.30, Thursday, 21 June to express their amazement and disappointment at the Baillieu decision to cut funding for bike infrastructure to zero.

“Ted Baillieu’s Government has snubbed the 1.1 million Victorians riding a bike every week and ignored the million more who want to join in but are waiting for appropriate facilities to appear,” Bicycle Network Chief Executive Officer Harry Barber said.

“We’re going to tell the Baillieu Government that we are amazed and disappointed that they seem to think doing nothing on bike infrastructure is an option – it’s not.

“The Baillieu Government have not grasped the unique ability of bikes to improve the carrying-capacity of our already congested road network. The simple truth is more cars can’t be added to already jammed roads but what we can do, for a small investment, is move thousands more people along existing roadways just by installing appropriate bike facilities.

“Thousands are already riding every day, thousands more want to ride but are waiting for the Government to act – Mr Baillieu, his Government and his zero-bike Budget are failing Victorians.”

Support for the rally is growing across the bike riding community. A number of groups and clubs have organised riders to travel to the rally together. Meeting places so far include:

  • Footscray – 7.00am Hyde Street opposite the Police Station.
  • North Melbourne – 7am North Melbourne Pool, 1 Macauley Rd – coordinated by Melbourne Bicycle User Group
  • Coburg – 6.30am Coburg Railway Station.
  • East Brunswick – 7.00am Café L’Amour, 76 Lygon St, East Brunswick, coordinated by Moreland Bicycle User Group.
  • Carlton – 7.00am Outside Dan O’Connell Hotel, Corner Princes and Canning Streets – coordinated by Yarra Bicycle Users Group.
  • Northcote – 7.00am, Jika Jika Community Centre, Corner Plant and Union Streets – coordinated by Darebin Bicycle User Group.
  • Brighton – 6.45am, corner Bay St and Nepean Highway.
  • Richmond: 7:00am Elizabeth Street and Church Street—outside the commission flats.

The Moreland and Yarra Councils have also passed resolutions supporting the rally. Moreland Council is promoting the rally and encouraging all staff who want to attend to do so. Yarra Council has adopted a similar supportive position and also “authorises a City of Yarra banner or banners being taken to the rally and displayed”.

High performance riders are also getting on board. The North Road Group – a regular Thursday early morning training ride to Mordialloc for road riders – has modified its course and timing and will now finish at the Parliament House steps in time to join the start of the rally at 7.30am.

The 2012 Victorian Budget papers show the government has allocated zero funding to the VicRoads Bicycle Program. (Some already-announced commitments from previous budgets are still trickling through. The Baillieu Government is trying to hide behind these carry over items.)

No high priority infrastructure projects planned for next year have been funded and desperately needed lanes, signals, intersections and other urgent safety improvements have been scrapped. The decision will increase the level of risk for existing riders and stop new riders joining in an activity that improves community health and cuts congestion.

7.30-8.30am, Thursday, 21 June
www.bicyclenetwork.com.au

Streetscape Raingarden Design Principles: Guide

Posted in Models, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 28th, 2012


From the reference guide.
-

Sourced from Clearwater :

This A3 Quick Reference Guide will introduce the reader to the basics of streetscape raingarden design. The guide indentifies the critical elements for a good design as well as some tips for what to watch out for. Links are provided for more technical guidance and to video clips on how to build a raingarden.

http://www.clearwater.asn.au/content/streetscape-raingarden-design-principles


Passive Design for Ventilation in Apartments

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on May 16th, 2012

Photo by John Gollings

From Maitiú Ward’s “Lilli Apartments” on Australian Design Review:

[…]

Despite the challenges of working mainly within the tight constraints of high-rise residential development, it is Elenberg Fraser’s stated ambition to introduce one new environmental feature into every building it designs.

As Fraser describes it, to date Lilli is the most successful exploration of the wind-model driven, passive systems approach it has been developing. While aesthetically striking, the distinctive scalloped striations of Lilli’s balconies have actually been carefully designed to draw air into the apartment interiors.

Working with engineering company VIPAC from data on site-specific solar and wind patterns, the facade elements have been modelled to not only provide sunshading, but also emphasise pressure differentials between the balconies off the living rooms and windows in the bedrooms.

In effect, rather than cross ventilation, what this creates is ‘through’ ventilation, as wind is trained across the facade and then sucked laterally through the apartment interior, in one opening and out the other.

Leaving the window to the surprisingly deep balcony open a crack, Fraser pops the casement window in the main bedroom, and sure enough, from my spot in the centre of the living room I feel a distinct breeze begin to play across my skin. It seems like such a small thing – a gentle eddy so subtle that many occupants may not even notice it; enough, perhaps, to keep them just those few degrees shy of reaching for the air conditioner remote – but it has wide implications.

[…]

Read the full article by Maitiú Ward.


Sustainable Communities: Collaborating, Planning, Delivering

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on March 22nd, 2012

29 March , 2012
6:00 pmto7:30 pm

This Melbourne Conversations event has been developed to support the C40 Workshop. The desire for sustainable communities is the touchstone of city-forming when comparing major cities across the globe.  As city design and planning experts meet in Melbourne as part of the C40 group, never have the challenges of city growth been so great, nor the achievements so promising. Hear about our local achievements and those of comparable large world cities.

Speakers include:

  • Ms Romilly Madew – Chief Executive, Green Building Council of Australia, Sydney
  • Ms Melanie Nutter – Director San Francisco Environment Department, USA
  • Prof Jan Gehl – Gehl Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Prof Billie Giles-Corti – Director, McCaughey Centre, Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne
  • Ms Li Lixin – Deputy Chief of Air Pollution Control Division, Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, China

Moderated by Peter Mares, Grattan Institute, Melbourne.

Thursday March 29, 6-7:30pm
BMW Edge, Federation Square

Free event, no bookings needed.


Speed Date a Sustainable Designer

Posted in Events by sashashtargot on January 30th, 2012

19 February , 2012
1:00 pmto3:00 pm

Are you renovating or building? Do you have plans and ideas you’d like to discuss with green architects or building designers?  The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) would like to invite you to Speed Date a Sustainable Designer.

When: Sunday 19th February

Time: 1-3pm

Where: The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne

Speed Date a Sustainable Designer brings together Australia’s leading sustainable architects and building designers so that you can discuss your plans in a relaxed ‘no obligations’ environment.

What to Bring

Bring your sketches, plans and photographs on your tablet, laptop or good old hard copies! The designers will offer solutions, ideas and alternative viewpoints.

You can watch the short YouTube video from the last event here: http://bit.ly/gi1vnt

Supported by bankmecu

A free event. Limited spots available!  Bookings are essential. Go to sdsd.ata.org.au