In 1986, a small group of urban design enthusiasts had lunch on a Melbourne footpath. They had failed to achieve anagreed meeting time, so decided to have lunch instead. The change of approach worked, and there has been a similar monthly lunch gathering for the past 25 years.
The original group’s concern was that, despite much talking, there had been little progress in actually achieving better urban design in Australian cities – and the traditional professional institutes were not doing much about it. Ideas were stimulated by contact with the UK Urban Design Group and the US Making Cities Livable group. As they say, the rest is history.
The first edition of the Urban Design Forum publication was published in 1987 and,progressively, urban design initiatives have spread across the whole country. Achieving the 100 editions of Urban Design Forum milestone warrants a celebration, and you are invited to get involved. The proposal is to publish a limited edition book, using the UDF editions as a resource, to reflect on the progress made in urban design in Australia over the past 25 years (as we confront the challenges of the next 25 years).
The intention is to gather contributions from a wide range of people interested in how our cities function and how they look in a compendium that can assist future action in our cities and towns. The intention for the publication is to provide a very useful well designed, full colour reference book, rather than a super-glossy coffee table piece.
We are looking for someone to design the book, as well as writers – and we are looking for some support to underwrite the preparation and printing costs, but expecting that it will be available for purchase.
Given that, over the past 25 years, urban design has gone mainstream, we are inviting contributions from within the diversity of people who work in, research, observe, or are users of the results of urban design: consultants, all levels of government, teachers, students, developers and investors, and the general community. The representation can be wide across age, experience, gender, and location, including commentary from our international colleagues. The will be many issues, ideas, projects, programs, and people that could be considered relevant.
This publication cannot cover the whole field, themes will evolve, and it will be coordinated and edited by John Byrne and Bill Chandler.
Get involved now. Traditionally, books are notorious for taking time and running late. Given that this initiative is being undertaken on a voluntary basis, the arrangement and requirements will be specific and simple.
The contributions will need to be: well written; 750 -1,500 words in length; and where appropriate, accompanied by high quality photographs or graphics.
The timing is as follows:
Initial expression of interest: email a specific approach and what you would like to write about to [email protected] ASAP, but no later than 10 July 2012
Confirmation of contributions: 31 July 2012
Final copy to be received: 10 September.
Publication available: 30 November 2012 (a great Christmas present!).
Given that all good celebrations should include a get-together, perhaps we can have a pre- Christmas launch lunch. In the meantime, consider if you would like to be a contributor in what we trust will become a very useful and enjoyable read, and a celebration of what is more than a mere job for most of us.