A warm welcome at the UDC followed by an interesting bus trip to Mandurah, 75km south of Perth via Burswood, Point Fraser and Wellard Village. Arrival in Mandurah coincided with a downpour that would be very welcome in Melbourne. The following day saw four ‘packed in’ sessions, three speakers in each presenting on water design topics.
It is very interesting times in Australia for development that continues to be coastal and sprawling. The first session (Battle Lines) examined coastal spaces and waterfront places with case studies of Scarborough, WA and Docklands, Victoria. In Session Two (Ports and Resorts) interesting and provocative presentations highlighted the regenerative issues we all face now and the importance of good urban design now. This was particularly evident by presentations that questioned ‘dumming’ down of design and revitalisation of our cities towns and regions. Session Three (In-Town Water) addressed water features and landscapes illustrating the importance of lessons learned, and the final session (Acting Locally) focussed on water sensitive urban design and the need to act locally.
Innovative and creative urban design
Also highlighted at the conference was the important aspect of innovative and creative urban design to address a growing concern with environmental issues. Climate change has raised the need to use good urban design in the water cycle and ecology. Greenroofs and vertical landscaped walls bring enormous benefits both aesthetically and practically.
Fun was had by all at the conference dinner in the lovely Boatshed restaurant overlooking the estuary. The food was excellent and dinner speech entertaining and humorous as we saw the funny side of our profession. The following day began with a short introduction to the challenges facing Mandurah as we took a bus tour of key project sites.
A stimulating workshop followed in four groups addressing the key issues and design solutions beginning to be teased out in the short time available, before summing up and the bus journey back to Perth. The journey back saw an update on coastal development in and around Fremantle.
In conclusion, I congratulate the UDF for a stimulating conference, however I ask that the next conference make more time for questions and scope to discuss the issues and the way in which solutions were reached in the projects that are presented. I hope we can learn more through this process as well as the networking during tea breaks and lunch.