News and views from our members.
Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Urban Design Forum or its supporting institutes.
how can we design better public spaces?
In the process of re-urbanising our cities to be more suited for people, public spaces have become a key component of many regeneration and redevelopment schemes. Active public spaces are a vital ingredient for liveable cities, thriving economy and socially cohesive society. To improve the quality of public space design, place-making principles of human-centred design and stakeholder engagement are increasingly being advocated. There are many place-making design guidelines and books on how to design spaces that are meaningful, adaptable and well-used. However, something doesn’t seem to be working. Shopping streets are continually redeveloped to re-invigorate them and initially popular shiny new public spaces turn into places-less spaces after a few years, despite including everything communities have requested? What is it that we are missing when designing public realm, and how can we design better public spaces?
In March I attended the 2019 Transportation Group New Zealand Conference “the changing face of transport”. I left conference feeling that the transport industry understands the need to enable sustainable transport and is taking action to deliver it. I also spoke on mode bias, meaning the inherent bias towards the needs of motor vehicle users. Here are some excerpts from my conference presentation with notes on complementary points picked up at conference!
What is car dependency?
• Conscious car dependency is when people with modal choice consciously choose to drive. Structural car dependency is due to lack of choice. Mode shift barriers can be caused by hard factors such as time and cost or soft factors such as status around the mode and the quality of the travel experience.
• Mode biases exist in policy, laws, taxes, budget allocation, language, culture and design and investment assessment tools. These all need to be addressed.
Access for Everyone
The Auckland Planning Committee voted unanimously for an innovative project that will pedestrianise the Auckland City Centre on 27 November 2018.
The Access for Everyone is a bold project that will reshuffle the priority of CBD road space to different transport users.
“By the time you reach the age of 105, the probability of you dying starts to go down.”
New research data such as this from the Sapienza University of Rome shows that due to demographic changes, the new accessibility design codes are out of date by the time the ink has dried. We are living for longer, re-entering the work force after retirement, setting up new businesses in our sixties, doing post graduate studies in our seventies, and so on. Today we are “actively ageing”. The data on the needs of our changing population is clear. In the next 10 years the New Zealand population over the age of 65 will increase from 16% to 20%. Therefore, the provision of accessible assets in our urban environments will need to increase. Here I recommend five ways we can improve accessibility in the built environment, so we are future-ready.
Urban Development Agency 2 months away
The Hon. Phil Twyford, Minister for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), spoke on Building Strong, Affordable and Connected Communities, at the AKLGrid Friday 28 September 2018. His key messages were:
The challenge of affordable homes is at the heart of city progression
The need for integrated transport and community design and planning
The need for better design in neighbourhoods, homes and the public realm.