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5 Most-Read StreetChats of 2017
StreetChat in 2017 saw smart technology and smart cities come to the fore, with Streets 2.0 and Future Street engaging the attention of public realm professionals and the public alike.
However, this list of the five most-read stories throughout the year also features projects that encourage communities to spend time together in public space. It has technical feats on a large scale, the wisdom of Jan Gehl, and our top story reflects a mainstream discussion still buzzing today.
Any guesses? Count down our top five:
This giant Arc Seat collaboration between Aspect Studios, Mirvac, Co-Ordinated Landscapes and Street Furniture Australia grabbed attention in the January issue.
With space for up to 15 neighbours from the $1.1 bn Sydney urban renewal development, the seat rests on a 200mm wide concrete plinth wall and features a 5.7m internal diameter.
“The seat was made up of seven individual radius sections with seat panels to cover the wall ends. The segments all went together seamlessly, which speaks volumes for the build and quality management process,” Glen Smith, Project Manager with Co-Ordinated Landscapes, told StreetChat.
“Throughout construction the landscape appeared to morph from a small, busy, cluttered storage area used by the surrounding trades, into a spacious practical green retreat.”
Your cheat sheet of Jan Gehl’s top tips for sittable parks and streets from his iconic book, Life Between Buildings, was popular in August.
Well-positioned seats are crucial to the success of public spaces, says Gehl. The onus is on the designer to consider how multiple factors will work together to create comfort (or discomfort), off the page and in the real world.
StreetChat lays out Gehl’s golden rules, among them: consider the microclimate, keep to the edges, make it inclusive, frame the view, and combine primary and secondary seating in a landscape.
“A well-equipped space should offer many different opportunities for sitting in order to give all user groups inspiration and opportunity to stay,” he says.
Smart city thinkers were getting excited in September with the announcement of Future Street, a four-day demonstration of technologies and ideas tipped to enhance our cities, sponsored by the Australian government.
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) built the street of the future at Circular Quay on Alfred Street, in front of Customs House, from October 12 to 15.
Place Design Group lead the design and build of the project as part of the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: The 3rd City.
In this StreetChat, Street Furniture Australia announced the Aria Smart Bench with PowerMe and Escola Smart Bin prototypes.
A custom furniture suite brings life to a renewed outdoor space at the Penrith Civic Arts Precinct, also known as the Mondo, a small urban space where the popular Westfield Penrith, the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Penrith City Council’s Civic Centre meet.
Landscape Architect OCULUS, responding to a brief from Penrith City Council, collaborated with Street Furniture Australia on a site-specific furniture range featuring a modular design, artwork and lighting.
Seeing the different ways the public is interacting with the new space “has been a pleasure,” Karin Schicht, Landscape Architecture Supervisor with Penrith City Council, told StreetChat for the April issue.
“Whether a solo lunch-goer, weary parents with curious toddlers taking time out from shopping, or small groups meeting and socialising, the seating delivers choice, flexibility and is inherently Penrith,” she says.
“It is a constant delight to witness the many ways the community has adapted to and embraced this place. They have made it their own.”
In this year of Weinstein revelations and Pantone Ultra Violet, of pink hats and protest rallies, is it surprising that our most-read story of the past 12 months should be a celebration of women who work in the public realm?
Six women passionate about landscape joined our International Women’s Day breakfast table in March to discuss equality and the year’s theme, #BeBoldForChange.
Oi Choong, Georgia Jezeph, Brinlee Pickering, Clare O’Brien, Katy Svalbe and Shahana McKenzie spoke about bold communication and speaking up, pioneering the landscape architecture profession in Australia, equal representation and leadership.
“In Australia, working in the public domain meant you had to be strong in putting your thoughts forward,” said Oi Choong.
“In relocating major roads, for instance, you had to stand behind your convictions about whether it was the right position, or not. In dealing with people you have to be bold when trying to get a point across. That’s par for the course.”
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Street Furniture Australia is donating $40,000 worth of furniture from breakout spaces from the 2022 Festival of Landscape Architecture: COUNTRY to The Murri School, an Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community School in Brisbane. The collection of Linea Seats, Cubes, Curved Benches, Sun Lounges and Picnic Settings includes a pair painted by artist Casey Coolwell-Fisher, a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, Queensland) – commissioned by Street Furniture Australia and Blaklash Creative. Director of Blaklash Creative and member of the Festival Creative Directorate Troy Casey says, “A huge part of the festival was about how we can ensure that community gets something from it. We spent two days sharing our culture, our experiences, and the responsibility to positive impact. We can’t really do that without giving back to mob, …
In rapidly urbanising Seoul, the next battle is saving green spaces: “Korea is a country that does not value greenery,” professor of landscape architecture at Pusan National University, Hong Suk Hwan, told Bloomberg CityLab. It “only acknowledges the value of property.” Samgmi Cha writes about South Korean local, 34-year-old Baik SooHye inspiring the shift of devaluing green spaces in South Korea to saving these spaces. SooHye’s ‘Plant Kindergarten’ project encourages the protection of hundreds of plants that are often destroyed at construction sites across Seoul. Cha meets SooHye in her outdoor garden in western Seoul with the many plant species that she’s saved from these sites. The rescued plants are ‘adopted’ out to others who are also passionate about green spaces in Korea. SooHye says, “I see ‘Plant Kindergarten’ as my …
The stories you missed while enjoying the beach this summer. Musk says public transport “sucks”: Elon Musk came under fire in December after commenting that public transport is “painful” and “sucks.” He then called a public transport expert, via Twitter, “an idiot.” Asked by an audience member about his take on transport and urban sprawl at a Tesla event during the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference in California, Wired reports the Tesla, Boring Company and SpaceX CEO replied: “There is this premise that good things must be somehow painful. “I think public transport is painful. It sucks. Why do you want to get on something with a lot of other people, that doesn’t leave where you want it to leave, doesn’t start where you want it to start, doesn’t end where you want it to …
StreetChat delves into Jan Gehl’s iconic book ‘Life Between Buildings’ to bring you a summary on how to place seats in the city. “Only when opportunities for sitting exist can there be stays of any duration,” he says. Seats are crucial to the success of a public space. The good news is that they are a relatively cheap and easy to install solution for improving an outdoor environment. Point 1. Location, location Good opportunities for sitting mean people can comfortably eat, read, people-watch and socialise. And this can only happen when conditions are just right. Gehl advises: A comfortable relationship to the sun and wind creates a good microclimate, essential for sitting. Benches placed in the middle of open spaces may look good in drawings, but on site can feel …
Six women passionate about landscape joined the International Women’s Day breakfast table with Street Furniture Australia, to discuss equality and this year’s theme, #BeBoldForChange. Industry veteran Oi Choong says landscape architecture encouraged her to be bold from the start – to her, it was a “joy” of the profession. “It was a new profession, so you were able to reach your tentacles everywhere. We were allowed to extend our vision and be bold. We experimented, we tried to integrate with other disciplines. We claimed our territory,” she says. With more than thirty years of practice in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, China and the UAE, the current Consulting Partner with Context says offers to work internationally were joyously formative in her early career. “They gave me the opportunity to leap in, almost blindly, …