This comment piece is written by Ben Newell, Arcadia Landscape Architecture.
1. Community — understanding locals’ likes & dislikes
First and foremost, I believe community consultation is key to better understanding how residents envision their own futures. To build a lasting legacy, it’s imperative that state and local government authorities firstly understand the aspirations and aggravations of how people live, work and play within their suburbs. Input and insights from
When thinking about life in
As well as mixed-use and transport-orientated developments, I urge Olympic designers to consider a mix of
2. Convenience — designing for easy access to popular places
The rise in work-from-home arrangements, post-pandemic, has blurred the lines between where we
To strike the right balance, I encourage designers to consider a range of land uses within easy reach of Olympic venues. Locating a mix of medical, commercial, hospitality and residential offerings within close proximity of new parklands, stadiums, and other Olympic facilities, will be key to ensuring their activation and longevity. Olympic precincts can thrive long after the games, provided they’re easily accessible to in-demand amenities and services.
3. Connection — convenient and comfortable transport links
Expedient and efficient
Ours is a sub-tropical climate and, as such, we need to create shaded corridors/connections that enable people to use transport in comfort. Of course, with the games still several years away, now is the time to plant shade trees whose canopies will reach an advanced level of maturity by 2032.
For pedestrian access, I advocate for cool, shaded walkways wide enough to accommodate people, prams and mobility aids. If well planned, these are the types of routes that could be used to connect key venues in the inner city — making it easy and pleasant for people to walk to games’ events. Then, after the games conclude, these connections become thoroughfares for city dwellers and visitors seeking an easy and comfortable way to commute/explore inner Brisbane.
Additionally, we must not forget the growing popularity of new modes of transport such as scooters and electric bikes. They’re all here to stay, so we need to be clever about where and how we position cycle networks (i.e. bikeways and charging stations) within close proximity of amenities.
4. Climate — deploying design to achieve sustainability
Hosting the first ‘climate-positive’ games provides us with an exciting opportunity to show the world we’re a future-focused city. With good design as our guide, at a macro and micro level, we can ensure a legacy that’s sustainable for both our environment and our community.
As a broad directive for large, new public spaces, I believe the focus should be on minimising ‘hard’ surfaces, like concrete and dark-coloured paving, that retain and attract the heat. Where these ‘hard’ materials cannot be avoided, I recommend using temporary installations that can be removed after the games, to make way for softer, natural materials that hold less heat and promote natural cooling/ventilation.
For some precincts and facilities, the virtues of
At a more grassroots level, we should aim to prioritise ‘passive irrigation’ for the games’ gardens. With good guidance from engineers, kerb-and-channelling can be minimised in landscape designs, to allow water to naturally fall into garden beds — rather than congesting nearby culverts and traditional drainage systems.
For new gardens, drawing upon insights from First Nations representatives and planting endemic/native species not only helps attract local wildlife and provides them with suitable habitat, but those species are also more hardy, able to withstand drought periods and require less water and maintenance — long term.
Ben Newell has 20 years of experience and Arcadia is an award-winning landscape architecture and urban design practice with studios and shared resources spanning Sydney, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Melbourne and Canberra.
Arcadia Landscape Architecture
Brett Boardman, Scott Burrows