Students Design Innovative Public ‘Hangouts’ to 

Escape the City:

three finalists chosen from 77 entries across Australia & New Zealand

The Australasian Student Competition: This Public Space is generously supported by:

An inner-city wetland stream and a collection of disaster resilient social parks in Wellington, and activity precincts for an industrial area in Sydney have been selected as the top three proposals for landscape architecture design competition, This Public Space.

University student groups across Australia and New Zealand developed innovative design and programming strategiesthat make public spaces more inclusive. Run as part of the upcoming 2015 Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life, the competition asked student groups to respond to the questions:why do we seek escape fromthe city, and what forms of escape can we find withinthe urban environment?

An unprecedented 231 students across 77 teams entered the competition. This Public Life Creative Directors Claire Martin and Ricky Ricardo, and competition partner, New York’s Van Alen Institute selected the top three finalists.

“We were overwhelmed by the high number and standard of entries, but the finalists we chose stood out as thoughtful and innovative concepts that cut across social boundaries,” said Mr Ricardo.

University of Wellington is host to two of the finalist groups, while the third finalist group is studying at the University of NSW.

The two finalist submissions from New Zealand are:

  • Urban Streaming an inner-city wetland design for Te Aro, Wellington, which exposes a historic stream throughout the CBD to enhance social interaction with water.
  • Aftershock, for the Te Aro region, proposes a web of disaster-resilient parks, providing safe havens to meet, play and interact with nature, while also acting as a disaster relief zone.

The finalist submission from Australia is:

  • Switching Gears, an urban master plan of the Bays Precinct in outer-Sydney. This design celebrates the importance of local industry to the site by championing existing industrial workings, dramatically altered natural conditions and the unique character of the site’s layered past.

The finalists have won the opportunity to present their work to an expert panel of judges at This Public Life in Melbourne, on Thursday 15 October. The expert panel includes David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute, NYC), Ana Abram (Amphibious Lab, UK), Cassandra Chilton (HASSELL, VIC) and Adam Husband (Intergrain, VIC). They will announce the winner and present the $3000 prize pool, sponsored by Intergrain.

Shortlisted entries will be exhibited as part of the 2015 Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life from Tuesday 13 - Friday 16 October at the Dulux Gallery, Melbourne School of Design at The University of Melbourne. Read more.

Aftershock - Kathryn Nguyen, Alex Prujean, Michael Cook (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Switching Gears - Brinlee Pickering, Clare O’Brien, Grace Hunt, Michele Williams (University of NSW, Australia)


Urban Streaming: Tama Whiting, Sian Du, Christine Blunden (Victoria University of Wellington)