What is Australian New Urbanism?
Australian New Urbanism is a growing and evolving practice, with strong values and on a steep learning curve. Its basic aim is to improve the sustainability, vitality and quality of life in existing Australian towns and cities, and in new urban extensions. Australian New Urbanism’s primary tools include design, regulation, development and education, at all scales from buildings to regions.
Australian New Urbanism coincides with many other allied movements and philosophies. These include Transit-Oriented Development, Urban Villages, Smart Growth, and Sustainable Urbanism. Australian New Urbanism is keen to expand alliances and to embrace any designs and methods that advance these basic aims.
Australian New Urbanism is allied internationally with the Congress for the New Urbanism based in the United States, and the Council for European Urbanism. Around thirty Australians are members of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and some have been active participants in the annual congress held around North America. However, Australian New Urbanism is distinctly Australian.
What’s New about New Urbanism?
The word ‘New’ in New Urbanism is misleading for some. Peter Katz established this term with his book entitled The New Urbanism – Towards an Architecture of Community, published in 1994. In that book, ‘New’ meant a ‘renaissance’ or rebirth of traditional urbanism to replace suburban sprawl, rather than the imposition of something totally new. The rebirth of time-tested traditional urbanism, such as that found in most successful precincts of Australia’s inner cities, must continually adapt itself, in response to changing circumstances such as newly recognized ecological and resource constraints, the Post-industrial Economy, and demographic change.
What is the Australian Council for New Urbanism (ACNU)?
The ACNU represents an alliance of Australian and New Zealand practitioners, who are working together to improve the quality and sustainability of our urbanism. We include and welcome urban designers, architects, planners, regulators and government leaders, engineers, developers, builders, financiers, investors, educators and students as well as citizens who care about their built environment, their resultant quality of life, and sustainability.
ACNU has held four national congresses in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2010. It has run a Perth Projects Tour, in 2006, and a Light Rail Master Class in 2011.