As some UDFers may already know, UDAL-Q was formed as an urban design advocacy group by the major built environment professional institutions (RAIA, PIA, AILA, AIUS, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland) in an endeavour to bring a more united position and view on urban quality issues. Since the inception, other organisations such as Surveyors Australia, Building Designers Association of Queensland, and Australian Institute of Transport Planners and Managers and others have joined the forum table.So what is the Agenda?
For a long time now many people have been talking about urban design. However, quite often speakers have been using their own language, or at least a different dialect. Thus, when one thought that the grade of apples was being talked about, the other was visualising tomatoes. The Agenda attempts to establish a baseline for urban quality from an urban design perspective for a wide audience of practitioners, industry and the public. It proposes a number of essential principles, followed by a statement of urban qualities and criteria widely considered essential for what are regarded as good urban places. This is nothing radical as such. A large number of texts do almost that. However, what is unique, certainly for Queensland, is that these values and ideas have already received wide professional, institutional and industry support and endorsement, and the numbers are still growing.
We believe the Agenda has great potential value. It can inform policy, provide a structure as well as content for planning documents. It can provide guidance for urban quality evaluation and assessment as well as become a framework for professional development and education. It is our belief that it will be of great value to Local as well as State Government, Government Departments, Professional Institutions, Industry Groups and the community. It will provide a much needed shared understanding of concepts and principles. It can be an aid for better communication by providing a clearer and better appreciation of the language often used in connection with the built environment.
It’s a party!
And so to the birthday party Agenda launch. It will be set afloat in a very public way with a senior government minister doing the casting off performance – all in the function rooms of the Queensland Parliamentary Annex building. However, the main ‘entertainment’ will come from our guest from the United Kingdom – Robert Cowan. Rob is the executive director of the Urban Design Group and head of the secretariat of the UK’s Urban Design Alliance. He is also a consultant; senior research fellow in architecture at De Montfort University; and editor of Context, the journal of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. He lectures widely on urban issues. He is the author of Re:urbanism (with Kelvin Campbell); Urban Design Guidance; Designing Places; Placecheck; The Connected City; The Cities Design Forgot; London After Dark (with Alan Delaney); and the comprehensive Dictionary of Urbanism (forthcoming). He has written both the Scottish government’s urban design guide and (with Kelvin Campbell) the UK government’s equivalent, and is currently writing the Scottish government’s housing design guide. He originated the now widely used Placecheck method of community urban design appraisal. Following the keynote piece will be a panel discussion. And a party is not a party without the usual stand up liquid refreshments where you juggle a glass in one hand, a cocktail frankfurt in the other while trying to fish out a business card with your teeth.
All this is going to happen on Friday, 26 September, 2003 starting at 3pm. However, those in other states need not despair. An Australia-wide tour is being planned for our distinguished visitor. You are likely to be able to see and hear him in your own capital (except Perth, sadly) during the week following our launch. Please look out for local announcements. You might also like to keep an eye on the UDAL web site at www.udal.org.au although there may not be too much on it yet as the domain name has only just been registered. Please join in our Launch/Birthday party!!!