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2004 Brisbane

TRANSCITY Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

Brisbane and its future can be understood in the context of the models of culture and form established by other cities. The connection has already been made: “Bris Vegas,” “Bris Angeles,” the numerous references to Miami…. What kind of city is Brisbane becoming?

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The logic of development and patterns for living of a city are highly diverse. The abstract grid of the American city creates one kind of pattern and consequent economies, infrastructures, relationships to “natural” spaces. The Latin American city produces another, the Australian city a third. The rapid growth of Brisbane and South East Queensland’s population has of course transformed the territory of the city in its relationship to undeveloped spaces. Sprawl development has occurred in various configurations (sprawl sprawl and concentrated sprawl?) as evidenced by the figure-ground of the newly developed urban areas in SEQ.

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The SEQ region’s cities and their growth have been determined mostly by the car. Will the transformation of Brisbane and the SEQ’s urbanism be directed by rail transport? How will the conflict between road and rail infrastructure play out in relation to density, open space, economy, and value, or in the imagination of the people living in SEQ? 1 Urban Patterns 2 Brisbane 3 Los Angeles 4 Detroit 5 New York 6 Brisbane Development from left to right: 1972, 1988, difference, figure-ground of transformed areas 7 Gold Coast Development from left to right: 1972, 1988, figure-ground of transformed areas 8 SEQ built areas 9 SEQ road 10 SEQ rail 11 Centers and markets


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about the virtues of promoting individual opportunity and rewarding initiative), walk away from involvement (let alone leadership) in the nation’s cities and warn of impending attacks upon Australian society from an increasingly unstable and ideologically violent world. At the same time, energy has become more expensive and water more scarce, the nature of jobs and workforce participation continues to change, and Australian society continues to become more multicultural and to age, with its households generally smaller and more child-free.

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And, more than ever, Australia’s future is inextricably enmeshed with the world’s future. What happens, in the pursuit of understanding where we are and what we need to do, if we extrapolate some of these trends to see where they might lead us? In a recent seminar I, along with others, was invited to suggest what Brisbane’s community might be like in 50 years’ time. At short notice, I offered (in my allotted time of ten minutes!) five quick caricatures— or might they be cartoons of our future reality?—for Brisbane, 2057AD. Scenario One The economic base of society has changed radically. 11

By 2057, all manufacturing, most retail,

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2004 Brisbane 2

VERANDAH URBANISM

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Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

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Veranda Urbanism is a strategy to reconfigure the spatial and cultural logics that have defined the suburban, private city. The urban site and problem are defined as a bricolage of various low-density urban conditions and patterns within South East Queensland: the island suburbs of Moreton Bay, the outer suburbs of Brisbane, and the canal suburbs of the Gold Coast. The project uses this combined (sub)urban construct to pose a new mechanism to reconfigure existing and future development at the most basic level, the private home and the private lot. Lifestyle: “What is the problem here?”

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The South East Queensland pattern of low-density development and the idealized Australian Dream “lifestyle” present key unresolved urban design issues and raises questions for the region given it’s large projected growth: Q1. Can the SEQ region handle large population growth while allowing for the current ideal of the ¼ acre lot? 1 Verandah elements: 4 dimensional territory 2 Property lines redefined: two private lots 3 Verandah strip 1D 4 Verandah strip 3D 5 Negotiated lawn 6 ‘Natural’ growth strip + 1 year 7 ‘Natural’ growth strip + 10 years 8 New spatial relationship: inside/outside 9 Queenslander house analysis CONSTRUCT VEGETATION WATER

10 Verandah typology 11 Before 12 After 13 Before 14 After PUBLIC PRIVATE

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SITE DOCUMENTATION CU 27

and many other jobs are now undertaken by robots and computers with artificial intelligence. Relatively speaking, few people “work” on a regular basis or for many hours, except for those involved in public administration, who represent a small but influential middle stratum. Housing is therefore now largely unrelated for most to the location of work. Rich housing is preoccupied with overt amenity and is high tech, providing for a continuous diet of entertainment and the means of political influence.

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Other housing is often small, substantially owned by the state, and has relatively fewer technological supports. There is therefore a big demand for public distractions, and many of the economically poorest 70 percent spend a lot of time in the public realm and in community events, although mainly in those that are closest to them, since transportation is limited. In most homes there is little preparation of food; people mainly buy their meals pre-prepared or eat in one of a number of franchised restaurants.

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From time to time an informal, undercover work-based economy breaks out for a while, often involving unauthorised food and the making of decorative objects. With so much time available and with so many people “disconnected” from meaningful activity, a large number of new religions have evolved and need management. This informal economy consists of a network for orally transmitting ideas, myths, and traditions from one generation to another, away from the state-controlled electronic media that are everywhere and in which official news, manufactured truths, and massive entertainment mingle. There are controls on family size, and voluntary euthanasia is encouraged. Scenario Two The social divide has widened. After the reelection of the conservative government in 2007 and again in 2011, the evolving gap between rich and poor continued to widen and, by 2034, the majority of the community eventually fell below the previously defined poverty line.

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2004 Brisbane

VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

Q2. How will the urban footprint negotiate environmental and infrastructural systems that define the surface? 1 2001 SEQ population: 2,456,628 2 2040 projected doubled population 3 Gold Coast site photo 4 Gold Coast site photo 4


Workers are transported into the city daily from distant overnight camps beyond the urban fringe. Those camps have seen squatter expansions by people attempting to live off the land, and there are problems therefore with the registered owners. To the extent there is housing for key workers or the poor in the cities, it is largely in enormous warehouse structures on the rim of industrial estates. By 2057 there is massive gentrification around residential centers, around transit nodes, and around sources of water. The rich live there, in secure gated communities, both walled neighborhoods and secure, 150-story or higher towers marketed by developers as “vertical villages� (although, as was already true in 2007, shorter versions of them were equally secured fortress structures). The public safety net of social housing has, with population growth, declined from 5 percent in the late 20th century to 0.5 percent, although at election time the politicians still insist absolute numbers have been maintained. Scenario Three There have been three decades of terrorism and sporadic war. As a result, many parts of the major city centers are derelict, with many large buildings ruined and unlikely to be repaired. Investment has in large part fled the traditional major centers. People with the means live in gated communities and rural fortresses as scattered islands (occasionally connected by peninsulas of urban built form) in a sea of lawlessness. A substantially large army and police force struggle to maintain control in support of an authoritarian regime that nevertheless presents itself as a democracy at war. There are occasional skirmishes between the official forces and private vigilante armies formed by the new religious bishoplords. Movement between communities is limited and controlled, as is socializing between groups. Best-practice CPTED is thus by high walls, automatic laser curfews, and the remote monitoring of almost all citizens,

achieved systems, real-time who now

SITE DOCUMENTATION CU 29

Home ownership is down from its 2000 AD figure of 70 percent to an all-time low of 25 percent. Outright homelessness is high, civil unrest widespread, and the public realm unsafe.


2004 Brisbane

VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

Q3. Is there a way to focus necessary “lifestyle” functions and amenities outside of solely private control? The transformation of the city occurs under multiple “pressures” that drive development and growth. SEQ has for several years been under pressure to hold more and more Australian Dreamers looking for good weather, ‘quality of life,’ and natural beauty. Areas at the city’s interior and boundary are now and in the future under pressure to accomodate the growth and further transformation. Transport infrastructure by road and rail have different relationships with public and private space and development in the suburban territory. In this case, the rail line has better proximity with the Kedron Brook and associated green/open spaces and civic properties (school, libraries, clinics, etc.) and principal retail centers than the major road system. The Ferny Grove Strategy Plan by BCC is currently under development. The Ferny Grove rail station was recently upgraded and is identified as a potential key development site by QR, and is critically positioned in relation to the potential western bypass and pressure for higher density development as it is adjacent to state and city owned preserves. As the urban development in SEQ continues to spread to undeveloped land, what controls and concessions are at play to ensure an intelligent and sustainable pattern and focus for human cohabitation? What actors and agencies are involved in these spatial, administrative, and infrastructural transformations? What is the nature of their overlap/collaboration/conflict? 1 Conflicts in Ferny Grove 2 Ferny Grove Line CIVIC CENTER GREEN SPACE KEDRON BROOK FERNY GROVE RAIL LINE MAJOR ROADWAY

3 Transfer stations 4 Gold Coast developments from left to right: recent development, development pressure, low and high density construction 5 Corridor 1


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have GPS markers embedded in their necks. The network of underground road tunnels (amazingly, constructed as late as the first decade of this millennium) is no longer used and instead provides basic shelter to thousands of the poor, who rely upon seepage water at its low points to live and who cultivate new species of fungus for food and occasional trade. The boardwalks along the Brisbane River are patrolled by armed sentries as protection for the few remaining (but rich) inner-city fortresses against raiding parties of ocean-going pirates who occasionally mount an attack up the river.

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However, by banning much surface travel by individuals, pollution and global warming have been arrested. Scenario Four Global warming has increased. Sea levels have risen significantly since 2007. The barrier across the mouth of the Brisbane River proved inadequate, and the physical geography of South East Queensland has been changed dramatically. Australia has been forced by world government pressure to accept substantial numbers of global-warming refugees from the Pacific and Southeast Asian regions. This has totally reversed previous demographic trends and called for larger houses for multigenerational families.

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This has challenged the trends at the beginning of the millennium towards urban density and apartment living. The increased population has also severely damaged the fragile continental environment and lowered living standards. With global weather changes, new diseases are widespread, as is homelessness caused by cyclonic and earthquake damage in previously safe areas.

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Pollution in the reconfigured river valley is high and safe water is scarce. Eating the mutant fish in the river is known to be risky. Several swimming pools exist as heritage places in museums to show children what was common 50 years before. Private urban gardens are banned and all ground space is used for community food growing. Meat is no longer available for eating, although the accidental death of working farm horses is occasionally a celebrated bonus.

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2004 Brisbane

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VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

Q4. How can the city change to create a new perception of the everyday pattern for living: live, work, play, move? 1 Urban Fabrics: Kedron Brook KEDRON BROOK CATCHMENT GREEN SPACE + VEGETATION RAIL LINE URBAN CONCENTRATION ARMATURES SUBURBAN FILIGREE PATTERN

2 island subrbs: appropriated verandahs WATER SURFACE 3

MANGROVE DRAINAGE PROBLEM VEGETATION CANOPY SURFACE VEGETATION STRUCTURES ROAD PROPERTY LINE

3 outer suburbs: negotiated verandahs 4 canal suburbs: appropriated + negotiated verandahs 5 Sample 1: Macleay Island Suburbs 6 Topography 7 Lot division 8 RSC public owned lots 9 public owned roads 10 8.2 km access limitation strip 4


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In response to disease, pollution, and weather, the rich live in districts covered by large translucent domes. These also provide greater protection from radiation, which has spread around the globe from a continuing series of technologically failed nuclear-power stations. With power expensive and often unavailable, most people’s lives are attuned to daylight hours. Private vehicles are rare and whole areas of 1980s and 1990s spaghetti-style neighbourhoods, incapable of being served by the new communal transport systems, have been abandoned to squatters. Queensland is in most ways a broadly democratic society, although public expressions of dissent have been severely limited by the conversion of most civic spaces to orchards and gardens of productive trees and plants.

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In some places, walking cities take their citizens to new places in search of resources, and occasionally Brisbane is visited by one of the new ocean-going mega-Cunard cities, although the area is not usually seen as being exotic or rich enough to be worth visiting. Scenario Five Brisbane has warming.

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In the face of the major challenge to the Earth’s habitability, a sustainable South East Queensland has been painstakingly created. All of the built environment is by law involved in power generation, water harvesting, and waste management, and the urban design and architecture overtly express that role (an important process in the earlier cultural change). There is a high dependence on walking and


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2004 Brisbane

VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

City: “Why is veranda important?” In transferring veranda as a mechanism to affect urban conditions at multiple scales, the zone and elements become redefined. The in-between zone is created from the redefinition of existing property lines, which expand to generate regulated dimensional territories (30 cm, 3m, 30m…) in which private and shared spaces can coexist. These territories are consequently negotiated into a gradient of conditions and elements that form the urban veranda, linking together in concatenation to create new community and urban systems. 1 Access limitation strips 2 Moreton Bay balance model % DEVELOPED AREA MANGROVE POTABLE WATER PIPELINE SHIPPING ROUTE

3 Ferry crossings per day 1 5 10 20 30

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cycling and a high-percentage use of mass transit (the transit vehicles themselves are designed as power generators). All communities are multicultural and socially mixed, with some 10 percent to 15 percent of high-quality affordable and social rental housing integrated inconspicuously and provided by the cross-subsidy of the developers of the more affluent housing. This trend was enhanced by the national financial incentives of 2008, the targets of the SEQ regional plan of 2010, and the continuing rise of political gray power. Almost all parts of the urban environment are locations for active horticulture: on roofs and walls, in streets and public spaces, and, with financial incentives, in private gardens. Continuing technological innovation is focussed on long-term goals. All new devices and technologically supported or enhanced new management practices, in both public and private use, are subject to formal review against a code of sustainable performance. Cigarette smoking, air conditioning, and electric toothbrushes and back-scrubbers require special approvals, with high ongoing fees for the poor and community service for the rich. Mixed-use development is mandatory in most parts of cities, and the skyline is dominated by the new-generation 200meter-high wind turbines and the solar focus towers, collecting the intense beam of solar radiation from the network of satellite transmitters. Those urban areas destroyed by erratically wandering beams from malfunctioning satellites, in the early stages of system development, are mostly being rebuilt (but investor confidence has been weak). In spite of that, personal travel in the last ten years by the new matter transmitters has trebled. Queensland is a socially, economically, and physically sustainable community. The newly emerging “Tradition Party,� which finds its strength mainly among young professionals, continues however to argue publicly for the right to have larger families and to build their nouveau homes in the classic Tuscan or Georgian styles, with wood-burning fireplaces. In the recent national elections, Madam Li Xiao Lan of the Australia Health party was reelected as Australia’s prime minister. Enough said? These five caricatures are not the only

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2004 Brisbane 2

VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

House: “What is specific about SEQ?� The lifestyle and identity of the SEQ inhabitant is hinged around the basic unit of the single-family house. Looking to this model, one finds the importance of the in-between zone of the house defined by the veranda. The veranda negotiates multiple components (house, street, garden, pool, wind, heat, etc.) coming together. This zone gets activated by elements (chair, shading, stairs) that regulate and control views, climate, privacy, etc. 1 Neighborhood Organization 2 Program configurations 3 Verandah strips 4 Program Elements 5 Reconfigured urbanism 6 Canal typology 3


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scenarios that could be dreamed up from extrapolating current trends, and of course in reality there would be many interactions between them. But are we sure none of these could happen? What other scenarios can you imagine? What are the logical consequences of what you see and experience and how you go about contributing? What are the likely outcomes of the way you go about citymaking for a more sustainable planet?

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2004 Brisbane

VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel 5

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Future: What’s at Stake? The urban veranda is a design tool to rewrite the suburban pattern. The combined action of these new zones and their activating elements create transformed environments that provide a third space, redefining the common divisions between public and private ownership and control, and between open and built space. This new network of “veranda urbanism” constructs a field of operation and lifestyle change to promote a positive future for South East Queensland. 1 Verandah assembly: Pattern A 2 Verandah assembly: Pattern A 3 playground 4 playground 5 verandah 6 verandah 7 verandah assembly strip + elements 8 Canal suburb 9 Canal suburb: strip definition 10 Canal arm: negotiated verandah

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South BANk: AN EMERGING uRBAN PREcINct Malcolm Snow In this paper I want to reflect on what I think have been, and will continue to be, the essential ingredients of South Bank’s past and future success. In other words, what we have consciously done since our formation as a development corporation 18 years ago that has now positioned us to take full advantage of our many assets and strategic location. I would then like to share with you the challenges the corporation is facing up to as part of what I call the evolutionary shift from place making—the design and building bit, if you will—to arguably the more important task of place management, which in essence is about nurturing a public environment that offers enormous diversity of experience and creates multiple opportunities for people to engage and prosper. I will do this in a context of what I consider sustainability to mean in its relevance to city planning and more specifically to the challenge of remaking inner-city precincts. I would then like to put South Bank in context, specifically, South East Queensland and Brisbane—a city facing up to some big issues as it experiences the growing pains of a population explosion but at the same time realizing the future is rich with potential provided it makes the right decisions.

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Finally, I would like to offer some personal views about the challenges facing the urban-renewal effort in Australian cities and the key role of special-purpose development corporations if the stated policy agenda of state and city government’s for urban consolidation is to become reality. I should first give a very quick refresher on South Bank’s relatively recent origins for those unfamiliar with the precinct or who may possibly have vague memories of it from a small event held in our bicentennial year. While acknowledging the enduring significance of pre-white settlement history, South Bank today owes much to the legacy of Expo ’88, which is still regarded as one of the most successful world expositions held, with nearly 12 million visitors over the six months it ran. Expo was a cultural epiphany for Brisbane and its citizens. It awakened in the public consciousness the realization of new possibilities for how Brisbanites imagined and experienced their city and its landscape. Prior to Expo there was no footpath dining, there was no widespread appreciation of the value, indeed the importance of using the rich and varied public spaces of a sub-tropical city. Unlike many of the earlier Expos before it,

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2004 Brisbane

VERANDAH URBANISM Justin Garrett Moore Marjan Sansen Ward Verbakel

Ecocat Ferry: Link with existing marina / ferry cruise terminal / campings / sport + shopping centers 2

floating service system adapted to tourism-season and fluctuating demands different kinds of services: every node services: kindergarden, playground / garden node ‘sharing’ services: gym, swimming pool, restaurant, bar cinema, market, library, grocery store node-identity servies: school, art space, food production, information center 1 Gold Coast development corridors 2 Hinge node between canal and Nerang River SERVICES HOUSING STRIP ELEMENT

3 Hinge node between canal + Nerang River: possible scenarios 4 Ecocat + floating services


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Brisbane’s winning bid was squarely aimed at not just staging a successful six-month event but more significantly as a catalyst for remaking a part of Brisbane that up until Expo was contributing little to the capital city’s national and global aspirations. When I refer to South Bank in this presentation I don’t just mean the corporation-managed area but more strategically the broader area of approximately 150 hectares that lies opposite the Brisbane CBD’s western flank, across a generous river that no longer flows past the Central City but through it. It is a precinct I think will be the envy of many other cities not only because of its prime riverfront orientation but because of the extraordinary mix of uses and facilities that have through a combination of thoughtful as well as fortuitous planning been clustered together to then cross-pollinate and bear creative fruit. South Bank’s unabashed aspiration is to establish an internationally recognized cultural district, the local economy of which is fuelled by its quirky appeal to new knowledge workers and by its capacity to generate ideas and information in the new age of innovation, a critical determinant in the increasingly cutthroat marketplace that cities operate and trade in. So what have been and will be the key success factors for South Bank into the future? Two things stand out. Firstly, a single-minded, uncompromising vision about what the precinct could be, sustained through successive changes of government and boards to create something unique, physically as well as socially. Not a clone of a project somewhere else or a grab-bag of misappropriated ideas but a precinct that amplifies Brisbane’s quintessential qualities of climate and character and the laidback lifestyle that comes with these. Too often the omnipresent temptations of compromise and short-term political expediency have derailed inner-city renewal. South Bank has adroitly avoided these pitfalls through a combination of entrepreneurial leadership, by applying the right ideas at the right time, and through a sustained commitment to high-quality, and not just high-return, outcomes. Secondly, South Bank is proof of the value dividend that can be realized through an effective public/private alliance. Those partnerships began nearly two decades ago, long before the PPP acronym was touted and has undoubtedly been aided by a developer-friendly leasehold system and a separate but highly facilitative planning regime. Developers crave certainty—they can never have enough of it—and South Bank has been able to deliver it by creating the investment preconditions as well as

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agriculture

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2005 Brisbane

WEAVING AGRICULTURE Legier Stahl

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In the mind of the consumer, there is no connection between food choice and the surrounding landscape. This is problematic because local and regionally sourced meals entail four to 17 times less petroleum consumption and five to 17 times less carbon dioxide emissions than a meal bought from a conventional food chain. Is it possible to reorganize the existing food system as a way to shape the future pattern of the landscape? In this manner, we could connect people to their local food supply, preserve farmland, and introduce an alternative lifestyle to Brisbane.

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1 Existing food system 2 South East Queensland water + urban development HIGH QUALITY FARMLAND HIGH DEVELOPMENT PRESSURE URBAN LAND

3 A new food system 4 Brisbane argriculture 2005 5 Brisbane agriculture 2015 6 South East Queensland landscape + infrastructure RURAL URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE

7 Future: when agriculture is woven into the city 8 Shifting pattern of the landscape

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URBAN

EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE

RURAL

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the hard and soft infrastructure necessary to generate the competition and shared commercial yields that flow from it to make it the property hot spot real estate agents will tell you it is today. The more than $2 billion in public investment has been easily exceeded by the combined value of private-sector projects that have set and continue to set the bar in Brisbane for inner-city planning and design innovation. A publicly accountable development corporation able to think and act commercially, to take calculated investment and risk allocation through profit sharing and joint ventures, has maximized the public returns, financing reinvestment in new community infrastructure that may not have been possible through the competing annual budget process of local government. I would now like to move on to the challenge of place management. As I said at the outset, I was attracted to a role and to an organization that was beginning an evolutionary shift mirroring the maturation of the precinct itself, from one of making good places to making them work well— truly sustainable places, if you will. As a term, “place management� may be planner-speak, but it reveals an approach that has much to commend it. In practice it is not one thing or one task but a jigsaw of complementary pieces (actions) that, applied in the right way, combine to get the best out of the public environment that has already been created. The key point is that there are many players, each responsible for a piece but all having a common picture in their minds of what the desired qualities of a successful place are. Discreet security, attentive maintenance, creative marketing, good urban design, imaginative publicrealm activation, and strong relationships are the primary elements, and at South Bank we have restructured our approach to ensure that we maximize the return on our public-infrastructure investment. The trick is to stimulate the authentic and spontaneous experiences that for me are the hallmark of places that work well long after the designers have left. The all too common problem visible in many urban renewal precincts here and internationally is that award-winning buildings and public spaces, after the initial flurry of curious popular interest, are often then abandoned to somehow look after themselves on the assumption that postarchitecture, the citizenry will continue to come. I was fascinated by a recent survey of award-winning buildings and spaces built in the past 20 years throughout the U.K., which found that a significant percentage of

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those awarded projects had subsequently been demolished because of their failure to support their intended purpose. Form before function, perhaps? Sustaining successful places to attract both new and return users requires ongoing care and thoughtful attention, and at South Bank this approach will keep us ahead of our place competitors. Mind you, we are doing pretty well already: Recent market research confirms that more than 80% of those sampled in the Greater Brisbane area had visited the precinct within the past six months. I would now like to turn to the emerging challenge, or should I say opportunity, for the precinct, which is to take advantage of the economic conditions South East Queensland is currently experiencing. Brisbane has undergone a transformation since Expo, earning it boomtown status among its cosmopolitan contemporaries in the new world. Much of the change has been fuelled by a flourishing Queensland economy, growing at 4.5% per annum— outstripping the Australian national growth rate of 3.4% and surpassing the USA at 3.1%. Demographer Bernard Salt describes the area of Greater Brisbane, defined as a 90-minute drive from the GPO, as growing at a breathtaking rate. However, he says, unlike other major cities, Greater Brisbane is not losing the character that makes it distinctly attractive and unique. So attractive in fact that 1,500 people a week are moving across the border to experience its many appealing qualities.

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Inner-city Brisbane is now red hot and cool, with the South Bank/South Brisbane peninsular as its epicenter. The population 4

2005 West Side highway

HOUSING ANALYSIS Anna Goldberg

1 Case study location 2 Light transmission and lack of summer shading 3 Ongoing construction 1998 - 2005 4 Highway and bike path expansion, West 66th to 72nd street 5 Public waterfront access 6 Grade change, view from walkway below 7 City streets end at residential high-rise developments, footpath design to waterfront disregards grid 8 Public information / security? 9 West 66th street pier continuation of the city block 10 Public space? 11 Community uses 12 Running and bicycle track below highway

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of the peninsula is expected to more than double to 40,000 residents by 2026, overtaking the New Farm/Fortitude Valley peninsula to the CBD’s north, which is already near capacity with a population of 20,000 residents. Recently commissioned independent demographic research indicates that South Bank and the surrounding areas of West End and South Brisbane will, in less than 20 years, be one of the densest residential areas in Australia. Urban consolidation on this scale poses big questions and big challenges for city government. South Bank is reflecting on the role it can play in this inner-urban transformation to work with city government to avoid the pitfalls of gentrification and understand what it is that our precinct offers to those new residents: In a nutshell, space, specifically public open space in an area with precious little of it. In forsaking the suburban backyard for an inner-city balcony, increasing numbers of Australians will be moving closer to the experiences of their European counterparts. The availability and quality of public spaces in our cities therefore becomes critical and so in South Bank we face the prospect of not just managing our existing public realm well to accommodate this shift but to creating, where we can, more flexible, user-responsive open space capable of adaptation and even temporary modification. Moving to my final theme, I would like to offer some personal observations on the future of urban renewal and how best it might translate to results on the ground as measured in tangible community outcomes. All state capitols are vigorously pursuing urban-consolidation policy agendas with zealous vigour. Metropolitan planning agencies have recalibrated the carrying capacity of the existing city footprint to impose much higher levels of density. Brisbane is no exception to this national, and some might argue overdue, shift in planning policy, with the much vaunted SE Regional Plan dictating that a target of an additional 150,000 new dwelling units be built by the year 2020 within the Brisbane City Council area alone. In theory that looks achievable, but in reality it is proving far harder for the candidate urban renewal areas to be found and the sites assembled. Why? Because of fragmented ownership, accelerating property values, and overly restrictive planning controls. A classic case perhaps of strategic policy ideology not being matched by the real world mechanisms required to deliver it. What concerns me about some of the urbanrenewal effort in Australia at present is that

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I think there are some significant exceptions to this problem, and Brisbane City Council through Urban Renewal Brisbane, originally set up by the late Trevor Reddacliffe but since reinvented, is such an example. Given the urgency of the urban-consolidation push however, alternative delivery approaches are needed and so a growing number of state government development corporations have and are being formed to take on the task in strategic locations: East Perth, Sydney Harbour Foreshore, Melbourne Docklands, Darwin Waterfront, Port Adelaide, Hobart’s Sullivans Cove, and of course South Bank, Brisbane, to name some of the more prominent. Although with different terms of reference, they all have been conceived with a consistent aim—to manage urban redevelopment efficiently. I firmly believe that the development corporation model offers a governance vehicle equal to the urban-renewal challenge confronting Australian cities. I say that, though, with some strict caveats, and they relate to the need for full public accountability and an uncompromising commitment to community engagement. I’m not implying a “one size fits all” solution but rather highlighting that the myriad issues posed in retrofitting tired places for new purposes demands a focused effort aided ideally by special planning powers and a capacity to act commercially in order to secure the community dividends I spoke of earlier. I think South Bank is an exemplar of this in practice, with the results clearly evident and a city populace who reaffirm it by voting with their feet in record numbers—more than 11 million last year, to be precise.

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In conclusion I will attempt to pull together the themes I have touched on by applying the umbrella framework of sustainability, specifically the concept of multiple sustainability. The task of urban renewal, as it I believe it must be approached in Australian cities, aligns well with the proposition that developing sustainable precincts must necessarily embrace environmental, social,

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cultural, and economic dimensions equally. I say equally because so much of what is extolled in the name of sustainability is onedimensional—a singular preoccupation by both government and the private sector with the virtues of “green design,” with very little if any attention paid to other dimensions. Of course we must create places that are not harmful to the natural environment and human health but just as critical are the availability of basic social services, of avoiding social exclusion, of ensuring access to financial opportunities for all groups, of encouraging cultural diversity and freedom of expression, and of respecting the distinctiveness and identity of a particular part of the city, revealed through its heritage as well as its modern incarnations. Only when performance indicators such as these are applied in measuring the value of urban-renewal strategies not to the government or to the developers but to the broader community will we be able to unequivocally say that the exercise can be judged successful. It is certainly the strategic reference framework South Bank is now applying.

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it has largely been left to local government to actually execute it. Most, if not all, of those usually inner-city councils targeted by government as the recipients of density hikes are already operating under significant fiscal and administrative pressures. As a consequence, the urban-renewal effort is sporadic and uncoordinated, often regarded as an additional layer of urban management competing for a slice of a small resource pie and vulnerable to the whims of political patronage. “Short-termism,” as I referred to it earlier, all too commonly overwhelms the good intentions of early precinct planning.


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Brisbane and its future can be under- stood in the context of the models of culture and form established by other cities. The connection has...

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