Street Furniture Australia is proud to announce a new partnership with the Landscape Foundation of Australia, as their first Founding Partner. The Foundation is a newly formed not-for-profit dedicated to championing the protection, restoration, enhancement and sustainable management of natural environments in Australian cities and towns. With nearly 90% of Australians now living in cities and townships, the Foundation is committed to halting the decline of natural environments and restoring a sustainable relationship between people and nature, to ensure their mutual health and survival. The visionaries behind the Foundation – founding directors Linda Corkery, Noel Corkery, Catherin Bull AM and Chris Champion – share the belief that environmental degradation can be reversed through high quality planning, design and management practices. Through grant-making and facilitation, the Foundation will fund research to …
Trend Watch April 2022
‘I wanted that self-reliance back’ – disabled hikers forge a new path:
A growing movement of disabled people are taking steps to enable independent access to the natural world, writes Amanda Morris for the NY Times.
The pandemic has brought a rise in outdoor recreation, with growing visitation numbers for national parks, however not all are equipped for accessibility. Disabled people are taking initiatives to improve independent access, including “publishing trail guides, establishing nonprofits to empower others through equipment, advocacy and training, and testifying before congress,” says Morris.
In the United States in April 2021, “disability activists testified at a hearing on Capitol Hill, in front of members of the House National Resources Committee, which oversees the Park Service, to push for greater accessibility in outdoor spaces and call attention to barriers in public parks.”
Many of the country’s national parks are now collaborating with disability organisations to improve accessibility – “increasing the width of a trail or removing obstructions or steps,” for example.
Some disabled people are writing guides with detailed accessibility information for other hikers, including “trail width, steepness, surface material, landmarks, obstacles like roots or boulders, places to rest, accessible bathrooms, cell phone reception and water sources,” says Syren Nagakyrie, who has completed close to 200 trail guides.
Access to resources such as outdoor mobility equipment and training can also be great barriers or sources of empowerment for disabled people in accessing the outdoors independently. A blind outdoors enthusiast and founder of the Team FarSight Foundation to empower visually impaired people to get outdoors, Trevor Thomas, “trained himself to make detailed maps, trace sign letters with his fingers and use trekking poles to hike the Appalachian trail alone.”
“While many outdoor enthusiasts have a mindset of conquering the outdoors by doing increasingly challenging hikes on ever higher peaks, some disabled hikers often take time to just appreciate the outdoors,” said Morris.
Undersupply of footpaths – allocating equitable street use in Melbourne:
“The way people use our streets influences the liveability, equity, social interaction, environment and economy in our cities,” say RMIT and Monash University researchers in an article for Cities People Love.
The group’s recent working paper, ‘Street space allocation and use in Melbourne’s activity centres’ looked at the allocation and use by each transport mode in the city’s major activity centres, to identify where more equitable street space allocation could help different types of users.
Equitable street space allocation, they say, can support pedestrians, help increase uptake of alternative forms of transport, enable outdoor dining by converting street parking to ‘parklets,’ and contribute to “efforts to achieve broader health and environmental objectives associated with increasing active travel and reducing dependency on the private car.”
The researchers conducted a survey to look at how many people passed through various activity centres, and what form of transport they were using, as well as what portion of street space was allocated to each mode of transport.
The survey found that insufficient space was allocated to footpaths, compared to the quantity of pedestrians, while car parking, bus lanes, and bike lanes were oversupplied. The report suggests increasing footpath space in many activity centres, as well as offering greater protection for cyclists by installing Copenhagen style bicycle lanes to encourage more people to cycle.
This research emphasises that the context of individual centres is essential, as is developing a site-specific approach to address the street allocation needs of the local community. They emphasise that reallocation of street space should be research-informed to ensure a base of evidence and contribute to broader goals.
Street Furniture Australia has donated $45k of Linea show-products to Baptist Care SA’s WestCare Centre, a project nominated by Swanbury Penglase, as part of the Good Cause Giveaway for the 2023 Festival of Landscape Architecture: UN/EARTH. Now in its third year, the 2023 Good Cause Giveaway received six fantastic entries from landscape architects and Councils for local Adelaide projects, with the winner selected by the UN/EARTH Festival Creative Directorate. The jury said: “The Festival creative directors found awarding this year’s Street Furniture Australia’s (extremely generous) Good Cause Giveaway a difficult task as all of the entries were very worthy.” Winners Swanbury Penglase with 2023 AILA Festival Creative Directorate. Photo: Frankie The Creative. “We were particularly conscious of the incredible work that the team of volunteers at Baptist Care SA’s WestCare …
Cumberland City Council, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and Street Furniture Australia in November co-hosted a factory tour and knowledge exchange for Councils about creating great public spaces and local manufacturing. Guest speakers presented enriching case studies and conversations about Country, climate, culture and community at the Street Furniture Australia factory, which is located within the Cumberland LGA in Western Sydney. 55 people attended the event. Head of Marketing and Innovation with Street Furniture Australia, June Lee Boxsell, said, “Activating Western Sydney was a fantastic opportunity to share ideas on bringing joy to our local communities while also celebrating the completion of Merrylands Civic Square — a remarkable human-centred development at the heart of Cumberland City Council. “With Street Furniture Australia positioned right at the doorstep of Western Sydney-based …
Street trees and addressing liveability inequity: Street trees have the capacity to impact the liveability of suburbs, should community members be included in the design and planning of urban greening, say Melanie Davern, Dave Kendal and Camilo Ordonez Barona in an article for Cities People Love. The RMIT, University of Tasmania and University of Toronto researchers write that “street trees and urban forestry provide a great example of a ‘nature-based solution’ to building environmentally sustainable liveable cities that provide multiple benefits.” Although the benefits of urban greening are well known, there is inequity in the distribution of street trees. “Disadvantaged communities in cities characterised by a lower level of income and education, and, in some cases, higher percentages of minority populations, tend to have less street tree cover and less …
Paris has plans to make the Seine swimmable by 2024: by Feargus O’Sullivan The City of Paris is undertaking a new project, ‘Projet Life Adsorb,’ which may soon make Paris’s river Seine clean enough to swim in. Various attempts have been made to make the Seine swimmable, the first in 1988. Most recently, in 2017, swimming pools opened along Canal Saint Martin, a more sheltered waterway in the city’s east. Unfortunately high bacteria levels regularly force swimmers out of the pools. The new plan, which is being designed and implemented by a team of experts overseen by the City of Paris, “might be able to curb pollution more permanently, making it swimmable – and usable as a competition venue – in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics,” writes Bloomberg’s Feargus …
Design For Forest: by Zaš Brezar In Europe, landscape architects are using simple interventions to manipulate the use of forests while prioritising their essential environmental function, writes Zaš Brezar for Landezine. Landscape architects, Zaš writes, can “bring forests closer to people in a meaningful and careful way. Empowering bonds between landscapes and people is one of the most important tasks of our profession. We maintain what we appreciate.” Strengthening the existing, and designing by maintenance rather than from scratch, is central to designing forests with conservation and care in mind, they say. In Strandskogen Arninge Ullna, a park in Sweden, landscape architects maintained “existing ambiences” by choreographing visitors’ movement through the dense riparian forest on elevated walkways. “This way, they have minimised the impact of people staying in the woods …