Conference ‘super session’ to examine how to make the most of Australia’s growing cities

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Melbourne is expected to overtake Sydney as Australia's largest city in 20 to 30 years.

Melbourne is expected to overtake Sydney as Australia’s largest city in 20 to 30 years. Image: Wikimedia Commons

A “super session” jointly hosted by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australia as part of the co-located 2017 National Architecture Conference and the 2017 National Planning Congress will bring together leading Australian and international architects and planners to examine how to best make a success of Australia’s rapidly growing cities.

Led by facilitator Tina Perinotto of the Fifth Estate and rapporteur Graham Jahn, the City of Sydney’s director of city planning, the super session, titled “Shaping cities: toward 50 million,” will discuss the importance of equity, democracy, social license and an urgent response to climate change to the success of a city. Also central to the discussion will be how integrated design and planning can foster beneficial growth. 

Australia’s population is forecast to reach more than 40 million by 2055, with an annual growth rate above the world average. ArchitectureAU reported earlier this month that Australian cities are among the world’s largest by urban area while also being among the least densely settled. 

The panel will comprise Rahul Mehrotra (chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design), Sylvia Karres (landscape architect, Karres and Brand), Prathima Manohar (architect and urbanist) and Julian Bolleter (landscape architect, urban designer and assistant professor at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at the University of Western Australia).

Australian Institute of Architects national president Ken Maher said, “The provision of hard and soft infrastructure, how it is planned, its design quality and the quality of the public realm is critical to ensuring equity in our growing cities.

“Planners, urbanists and architects can and must actively engage in this issue. Similarly, we need to examine how these professions can be more effective in facilitating an understanding in our communities and among our politicians of the imperative to do more to address climate change.” 

Planning Institute of Australia chief executive officer David Williams said that it is important for planners, architects and designers to engage with larger debates about how cities are developing. “Public debate is a significant force shaping our cities. Today’s interconnected, social media plugged-in world has fundamentally changed the way individuals engage with each other and express their views about building design, urban design and master planning.

“Informal and formal groups of citizens are highly active, politically and media savvy. This alters how built environment professionals need to engage in the public debate and heightens the importance of providing their pragmatic and informed opinion.”

The Super Session will take place on 5 May as part of the 2017 National Architecture Conference. For more information, including registration, go here.


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