Floods + Urbanism

Repost: City of Sound on Brisbane floods – http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2011/01/flood.html

I’m fascinated by what planning/ urbanism discussions will start coming out from Brisbane flooding. With big impacts to our key public space, recreation space and riverfront access, I think this will be an opportunity to awaken public discussions in waterfront design, inner city density, infrastructure and redevelopment.

Density I kept hearing on the news (how population and urban form had so changed since 1974) and I hope it doesn’t mean any freaking out and backwards steps in that space (example – my team was working on delivering Yeerongpilly TOD as a catalyst site).  Comparing my scenario being in the CBD/inner city and my dad’s flood experience in Centenary suburbs also starts highlighting to me about how we plan our neighbourhoods – that if our homes were “islands’ what are the services or lack of services in our walkable catchments.

It was a stunning sight on the TV to see a long section of floating bike path (RiverWalk) be swept away.    From stories I’ve heard about Riverwalk and its engineering hiccups early on anyway, might be a great opportunity to re-look at it.  As Will pointed out to me,  re-building and re-imagining public infrastructure with likely strained resources might be an exciting time to see some innovation in community partnership, ownership and delivery models.  Riverwalk seems like the type of project, Brisbane would likely rally around to reconstruct.

Perhaps at this eerie stage, where the worst has happened yet the full impact and recovery is unknown, it is really hard to know what will all come of this and how this city gets back to “norm”.   It’s has been and sure to still be – an interesting space to watch nonetheless about how our city and community functions and adapts etc.

Design thinking talks a lot about “systems design” and I think if nothing else, this is a positive public awakening to how much a city is it’s “systems”.  The natural systems.  The infrastructure systems.  The social systems.
We are seeing both the strength and vulnerability of them all.

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One thought on “Floods + Urbanism

  1. Dan says:

    Ta for the link, much appreciated. And yes, I think we have to be careful about the density discussion being railroaded by this event. In my piece, I was really suggesting that the low-density suburban sprawl is not resilient at all, at least in the way it exists in Brisbane currently. Having said that, building towers right next to the riverbank in a flood plain doesn’t seem like a very good idea either.

    But the benefits of medium density densification (more 4-6 storey apartments, townhouses, terraces etc.), with local production (jobs, food, energy, culture etc.), with all ‘everyday needs met locally’ i.e. via walking/public transit, should be reinforced by all this, it seems to me.
    Dan.

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