The 2023 UDF end-of-year gatherings

UDF members and friends in Ōtautahi Christchurch got the ball rolling on end-of-year reflections and celebrations at the popular OGB at 28 Cathedral Square hosted by Ekin Sakin and Dave Compton-Moen.

On 14 December urbanists in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland embarked on a walking tour of Maungawhau/Mt Eden station precinct, guided by Simon Lough, Design and Delivery Manager at City Rail Link (CRL). As part of the CRL project what was the Mt Eden train station is being enlarged and redeveloped to incorporate a modern new station building with elevated views of Maungawhau and a platform for the new CRL line.  The new Maungawhau will also remain a stop for the existing Western Line services, making it a busy rail junction. It is set to become one of the best-connected Auckland neighbourhoods, with commensurate implications for urban development. Drinks followed at the Horse and Trap.

Members and friends of UDF in Pōneke Wellington gathered at the Boffa Miskell offices in the Huddart Parker building on Jervois Quay for an end-of-year event featuring two inspiring speakers: Anne Margrethe Wagner of the University of Copenhagen and Steve Mushin an industrial designer, playspace designer and illustrator. Dr Anne Cunningham of Boffa Miskell lead the Q&A.

Anne Margrethe Wagner had also been a speaker at the UDF AGM held on 28 November when she spoke about her research on public spaces and their creation via co-design, co-creation and citizen-driven initiatives. Anne is a tenure-track assistant professor at the Section for Landscape Architecture, Planning and Design, University of Copenhagen. At this second presentation Anne spoke to her experience co-designing playable public spaces with children (see Move The Neighbourhood and Making Social Urban Furniture). This expanded into a discussion about on-site design laboratories and temporary and experimental transformation strategies, which relates to research explorations of collective imagination and the co-creation of just, regenerative practices for our shared spaces.

The eye-opening title for Steve Mushin‘s entertaining talk was ‘Ludicrous Ideas Are Bootcamps for Brains’. His comedic science-focussed drawings and models, design projects and workshops explore interactions between human-made machines and natural ecosystems. Recent projects include Terra Wonder, a soil ecology themed sculptural playspace at CERES Environmental Park in Melbourne – which includes, amongst other things, a bus-size, 500:1 scale, mechanical millipede for transforming roads into forests. And Wombalana Wild Garden, an adventure playspace exploring Australia’s giant extinct megafauna, home to a 1:1 scale, mega-tunnel-burrowing mechanical diprotodon.

Steve’s first book of ecological inventions and mega plans to rewild cities, Ultrawild, was published by Allen & Unwin in November 2023. A great gift for budding urbanists!

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