Different cultures have various sayings that help us understand what life is about. They are usually short, pithy, and wise. (They are not to be confused with the three-word slogan format currently used in popular political statements). That everything has a beginning/middle/end in its life is a theme common to Chinese stories, Aristotle and the Simpsons. It is also true for Urban Design Forum. However this common theme also implies that there was something before the beginning, and there is something after the end. The interesting challenge is to understand and act on the opportunities in the transitions. This is the last hard copy edition of Urban Design Forum. Before the first hardcopy UDF edition in 1987 there had been waxing and waning interest in cities and the public realm, but it was probably called civic design or city form. UDF, the network and the publication, arose out of the serious concern that Australian cities and towns were getting worse rather than better, and it was time to do something about it. After a tentative but passionate beginning, the middle embraces 25 years, 105 hardcopy UDF editions, numerous national NUDF weekends and the publication of Urban Voices – celebrating urban design in Australia. So now we are at an end, the last hardcopy UDF edition, but not the end. The transitions are well underway.
UDF is developing a new face! UDF were early adopters of the internet and we tried a few ideas like a practices register and a chat site in our first web site over a decade ago. Some of these things slipped quickly when they became difficult to manage or were not used. Since then our web site has been pretty static but a still good point of contact, and reasonably popular with visits from around the world. The end of the printed UDF means that the website will become our primary means of communication with the UDF network and the world beyond. It is time to start afresh with the site so UDF can make contact more regularly to keep you in the picture. Working with enthusiastic urban design students from Melbourne University and RMIT University, by July we plan to have a new site on line that will continue to keep you up-to-date with events and developments in urban design in Australia and beyond. We plan to send regular newsletters, quarterly to start, and we also hope to provide a portal for urban design students and courses around the country. Keep an eye open for changes at www.udf. org.au over coming months and subscribe for the newsletter. Any thought and ideas for the site could be addressed through the site or to firstname.lastname@example.org