- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
In Time With Water: Design Studies of 3 Australian Cities
Edited by Nigel Bertram and Catherine Murphy
How can design processes assist in understanding the underlying and hybrid nature of water systems in our urban environments so that we can better prepare for the densification of cities and the impact of climate change? This book captures propositions and speculations around this question through design studies undertaken in three Australian cities: Melbourne's low-lying swampy areas, Brisbane's flooding river valley and Perth's deep groundwater network. Each of these cities has its own set of challenges around water, based on their particular natural environmental conditions and the radical modifications over 200 years that have fundamentally changed the way that water moves. The ambitious schemes of the past - dams, drains, canals, sewers, reservoirs, lakes, aqueducts - made room for the 'progress' of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Now in the twenty-first century we need new ambitions where urban environments can adapt to the unpredictability of water through its extremes of dry and wet conditions. The design responses in this book contribute to such an aim by understanding the past, present and possible future conditions of local sites, and using this knowledge to create multi-purposed, alternative design scenarios towards a water-sensitive city.
There is a confluence between available contemporary development land and problematic water sites. Many of the places in which contemporary development is occurring were not part of the originally planned city, and were leftover places that were never really suitable for development because of their water issues; these include high groundwater areas in Perth, low-lying flood-prone post-industrial lands in Melbourne, and urbanised flooding zones of Brisbane. These areas, now in central focus to accommodate large-scale city development for growing urban populations, demand new ways of thinking and building.
Daniel Jan Martin