It is recognised that the property industry, the planning and design professions, state architects, media and communities are all making positive contributions and raising the urban design bar. But it is a rather disjointed process, and sometime counterproductive. Urban design, in its broadest sense, will play a critical role in achieving the quality of life that people want – and can have.
What’s in a name?
The original name – CABE DownUnder – has served a very useful purpose in launching the initiative. But many people are now actively thinking about more appropriate names, recognising that the initiative may lead not just to another organisation but a range of activities. Commission for the Urban Environment (CUE), Australian Urban Design Initiative (AUDI), and National Urban Design Initiative (NUDI) are just a few of those put forward. It is likely that the names will evolve as the intents and concepts mature. The working title supports action already being taken by a wide and widening range of individuals and organisations committed to both encouraging debate and developing solutions to the major challenges for our cities and towns. Their common focus is: quality urban functioning and design.
The initiative is inclusive, both by design and necessity – recognising that the process and outcomes of making and managing urban places are not the exclusive province the private sector, government, or any single professional group. It is only through planning and design methodologies, collaboration and joint activities that effective and responsive urban environments can be achieved.
The Australian Urban Design Initiative is not unique. There are local and international examples which provide both stimulus and learning for this proposal . What is new, however, is the urgency of taking effective action in the face of accelerating climate change, reducing living affordability, congestion, energy and water limitations, and pollution.
The immediate actions are:
- state and national meetings/forums – face-to-face and electronic discussions to progress the initiative
- a draft prospectus (October 2010) – to give form to the initiative, and provide sufficient substance to promote/influence/convince Federal, State and Local politicians, relevant bureaucracies, enterprises, relevant groups, the media, and the general community of the benefits of the initiative
- A national colloquium (late November 2010) – where a representative group of people from the diverse contributors meet in round-table format to discuss the proposal and decide practical action to move the initiative forward
- a compendium of relevant ideas/examples/data (first edition by the end of 2010) – as an evolving underpinning for the initiative, in conjunction with the National Urban Design Protocol project by the Major Cities Unit.
Get in touch now
Because the interest in, and enthusiasm for, this initiative is evolving so quickly, hard copy is a slow medium to keep in touch. There is already a substantial and growing email list to keep people up to date so, if you are not on this list and want to be, send an email to [email protected] However, it is expected that a more manageable electronic process (eg website, blog, etc) will need to be created as part of ongoing action.