Home' Commercial : WAs Best Commercial Designs 2011 Contents WA’s Best Commercial Designs 2011 33
ith growing demands on resources, and an increasingly
fragile world, it’s no surprise that the roles of architects and
planners in modern cities are becoming evermore important.
In planning for the unknown needs of future generations,
designers are being called upon to think further and further outside the box
they now live in to create new solutions within existing frameworks.
Sprawling urban developments are steadily being replaced by a renewed
introversion in already established cityscapes – with suburban and city
neighbourhoods now holding the key to many infrastructural challenges.
Australian cities, such as Melbourne, have already focused much of their
efforts on invigorating existing spaces, bringing life back into inner-city
areas, and starting a new dialogue that will continue to open doors for
handling future growth sustainably.
Density – no longer the dirty word of design – increasingly lies at the heart
of renewed vitality and vibrancy in urban areas. And, with an economy that
is still continuing to boom, Western Australia sits in an enviable position
as one of the world’s largest sources of raw materials, with a relatively
untouched capital city landscape.
However, as the task of enhancing and growing the fabric of Perth in
an authentic and carefully planned way steadily gains more attention, it’s
important to consider the legacy such wealth might bring, the impact it will
have on the lives of those already living there, and indeed those yet to arrive.
With a State Government firmly committed to funding major large-scale
projects, what will Perth really look like in 20 years? Is it really ready for all
the changes it’s about to encounter?
Tackling the impact of low-density urban sprawl head-on, the University
of Western Australia’s Winthrop Professor of Landscape Architecture Richard
Weller set out to explore Perth’s future as a global city after seeing some
alarming growth figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
“A few years ago, the ABS was saying that Perth was potentially going to
experience much greater growth than we’d previously imagined,” he says.
“I had a sense that the government’s planning mechanisms at the time
were too slow – that they weren’t dealing with the right numbers, in
terms of their growth projections for the future. I thought we should go
out to 2050, and deal with the numbers that the ABS could provide us
with, to start preparing for the future.”
It was these numbers – which at the time predicted a doubling of Perth’s
population, but have since increased even further – that Richard says paved
the way for his aptly titled book Boom Town 2050 – Scenarios For a Rapidly
Growing City (UWA Publishing, $99.95).
Seeking to bring light to the increasing pressures Perth was facing, he says
he wanted start a conversation that would inspire all areas of the community
to consider what changes needed to be made. “I hoped that it would raise
awareness of the way in which the issues affecting your local neighbourhood
are the same issues that are affecting the whole city,” he says. And it was this
“An exciting shift is going on... a
feeling of authenticity about what we
do here... and not trying to be Asian
or European – it’s something that’s
quintessentially West Australian”
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24/1/11 12:25:32 PM
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