Short presentations: 3rd City Infrastructures

Professor Rob Freestone, UNSW Built Environment

Professor Rob Freestone will contextualise the idea of the Aerotropolis as an urban catalyst for development and in particular, a 3rd City in western Sydney, and will provide a critique of whether of such infrastructure can generate both economic development and a desirable urban condition to anchor to employment, education and cultural activities.

Melissa Cate Christ, transverse studio, Hong Kong

Learning from Hong Kong’s Stair Culture.

Due in part to historical street and development patterns, topography and building restrictions, Hong Kong Island’s urban development and population density is one of the highest in the world. 

Within this densely populated area, stairs are a crucial typology of vernacular pedestrian infrastructure that have received relatively little public or scholarly attention with respect to their role in creating and sustaining Hong Kong as a walkable city with a unique 'Stair Culture'. 

This session presents research and findings from the author’s forthcoming book, “Hong Kong Stair Archive: Documenting the Walkable City” (HKSA) to argue that in this dense hilly context, stairs act not only as movement corridors which allow access to areas otherwise inaccessible, but also as vibrant public spaces with crucial social, cultural, environmental, and heritage value. 

The project has aimed to raise awareness amongst the public and academic community about stairs as a type of landscape infrastructure, crucial to creating and sustaining a walkable city. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the future city with respect to community practices and the provision of basic public amenities, and the necessary and possible roles for design in documenting, preserving, and improving Hong Kong and other urban environment’s socio-cultural and physical landscapes.

Dr Julian Bolleter, Australian Urban Design Research Centre, University of Western Australia

Give the NOD: The potential of Nature Orientated Development

The ability of cities to coexist with natural systems is vital to their livability, and indeed viability, as we brace for the impact of climate change. Arguably much recent infill and greenfield development in Australia’s capital cities has occurred at the cost of natural systems and the ecosystem services they provide – including a sense of place, physical health, mental health, local climate regulation, water purification, habitat to plants and animals, and clean air – amongst others. 

Given this concerning situation this presentation both critiques our current fixation with Transport Orientated Development (TOD), and explores the potential of Nature Orientated Development (NOD) to reconcile urban development (infill and greenfield) with the natural systems upon which the city ultimately depends. 

This highly visual presentation ventures creative yet realizable models for urban development and proposes that the discipline of landscape architecture should be central to the recasting of Australian cities in the 21st century.

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