The Gold Coast Urban Design Awards 2011 were revealed on September 23rd 2011 during the Awards Gala Ceremony at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa in Australia.
“Since inception, this awards scheme that celebrates excellence in urban design throughout the Gold Coast has grown in prominence to where today it has become our city’s most prestigious platform for recognition of design, livability and sustainability.”
Some of the big winners this year include:
Sue Robbins Award for Excellence in Urban Design: Broadwater Parklands
Helen Josephson Award for Innovation in Urban Design: Metricon Stadium
People’s Choice Award: Broadwater Parklands
Special Mention Certificate, Space and Space Making: Surfers Paradise Foreshore
Special Mention Certificate, Environmental Sensitivity: Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Life Saving Club
Special Mention Certificate, Community Enhancement: Pizzey Park Community Skate Park
Special Mention Certificate, Community Enhancement: Australian Industry Trade College
Design Education Award: Platform C Project
Design Education Commendation: The Ocean and Surf Precinct and Transit Integration Project
For a full list of projects and jury comments, visit the Gold Coast City Council website.
The discussion surrounding the redevelopment of and connection to the New York City waterfront has been going on for quite some time now. The implementation of ideas has potentially become all the more real with the Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan and the Waterfront Action Agenda.
The intent of Vision 2020, released on March 14th, was to create a sustainable framework for connecting the city to the waterfront on a daily basis over the next ten years. The plan calls for an increase in water transportation, parks, greenways, and economic opportunities, all of which would add toward activating the water’s edge. Michael Marella, the guiding force behind Vision 2020, has noted in an article in The Architect’s Newspaper that the idea is not to displace industry or housing from the waterfront, but to look at the relationships between all of the uses and devise a solution where previously incongruous uses can fruitfully coexist. Continue reading
The first ever Urban Design Week comes to NYC! “Urban Design Week is a new public festival created to engage New Yorkers in the fascinating and complex issues of the public realm, and to celebrate the streetscapes, sidewalks, and public spaces at the heart of city life.”
The Institute for Urban Design held an open-call ideas competition that has culminated in a week full of events that “highlight the fact that cities are made by collective effort, and that each of us can play a part.” In the weeks leading up to the competition, designers, students, community members, and citizens posted ideas to the website which were then categorized and mapped onto the NYC grid. Trends such as walk-ability, adaptive re-use, vacant spaces, and art in the city are among the popular categories; however, all things transit-oriented topped the charts, from bikes, to boats and rail. Ten winning entries are on display during the week-long exposition and can be seen on the Urban Design Week website, along with all of the other entries.
The events began Thursday, September 15 and will run through Tuesday, September 20. Several interesting events are still to come, including “Drawing the City” on Monday and the premier of Urbanized, a documentary about the issues and strategies behind urban design…I’m sure that an lively discussion will follow! A full list of the events can be found here: Festival Schedule.
“Government Creates an Environmental Awareness Day to Counter Ill Feelings over Highway Plans”
The BBC reports that Bolivia held their first “National Pedestrian Day,” intended to raise awareness about the environment. Unfortunately, for President Evo Morales—known as “a prominent advocate of indigenous rights and the protection of ‘Mother Earth’”—this national day was implemented on the heels of government plans to build a highway through the rainforest.
Although “National Pedestrian Day” was celebrated nation wide, removed two million cars from the streets, and raised awareness about the environment, it also seemed to bolster the activists plea to abort the highway construction through the rainforest.
The government must try to balance the immediate needs for development and growth while protecting the seventeen hectares of rainforest affected by the highway construction. “We strive to protect Mother Nature but we also want to create mechanisms for the integration of people. This is the balance we seek,” said Bolivian Vice-President, Alvaro Gargia Linera.
How are these priorities weighed? A slice through the rainforest, no matter how carefully done, will certainly impact this sensitive ecology. What creative solutions can we come up with to work with these fragile ecosystems?
The countdown has begun to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. With construction well underway for Queen Elizabeth Park, the Stadium, the Basketball Arena, and the Velodrome, everyone is quick to note the remarkable transformation of Stratford, England. However, not everyone is focused on the Olympic Park Development as the site of the Olympics. Instead, the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), headed by Eleanor Fawcett, is focused on how the site will develop after the games depart. Fawcett is concerned with “how the OPLC can make a meaningful London place in the gaps between the Olympic venues.” This approach may be ill-conceived—I would hope that the committee would have worked with the planners of the Olympic Park to create a unified vision for the games and the transition of the space beyond the games. With all of the effort that goes into its development and what the OPLC considers to be “a new bit of city,” I would hope that it wouldn’t just be inserted into something that does not yet exist.
The project description involves a five neighborhood scheme: The first neighborhood, Chobham Manor, adjacent to the atheletes’ village, is slated to have “low-rise terraced houses, with mews houses behind them.” The other neighborhoods seem much less defined, although Marshgate Wharf will have primarily large apartment buildings that are intended to screen the large Westfield mall. Unfortunately, the project, as described, seems to be composed of disparate and unrelated components that lack connectivity, a wholistic vision, and an unified system. This could have been a great project, at the forefront of landscape urbanism, but unfortunately, it seems uninspired and like a typical suburban vision of landscape and community. I hope to be proven wrong.
Original article by Kieran Long, London Evening Standard: Queen of the East: Olympics head of design shares her vision
Are there fundamental similarities to all cities, regardless of location? Are cities all really just the same? Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist who has spent much of his life studying fundamental questions in physics, has turned his eye to underlying correlations between biological systems and cities. In a compelling article by Jonah Lehrer in the New York Times this past winter, Lehrer presents West’s research on the chaotic urban jungle and his quest to prove that there are fundamental similarities in all cities, regardless of location, population, influences of social science, and urban identity. Working with Luis Battencourt, also a theoretical physicist, the team began collecting and analyzing data on cities all over the world. Remarkably, the men formulated several basic equations which enable them to “estimate, with 85% accuracy, [a city’s] average income and the dimensions of its sewer system” with only the metropolitan population data. “I don’t know anything about this city or even where it is or its history, but I can tell you all about it. And the reason I can do that is because every city is really the same.” Continue reading
Bat Yam, a small city with a checkered past of violence and bankruptcy, in 2003 began to prosper and revitalize itself under new leadership. Located just south of Tel-Aviv along the Mediterranean Sea, Bat Yam holds a number of museums and cultural institutions which the city highlights in its new local prosperity and rejuvenation initiatives by fostering art and design.
Bat Yam began the Biennale of Landscape Urbanism in 2008 as a way to re-examine the existing urban fabric, and to explore the use of art, landscape, and architectural installations as a way to weave the city together, improve lifestyles, bring awareness to the ideals of landscape urbanism, and use it as a medium in which to explore change, both political and social, through local design and craft. Continue reading