Heart Foundation and ASPECT Studios short-listed in international design competition

The competition invited entrants to locate and design a future park within a 10-kilometre radius of Melbourne for the year 2050.

Like many large cities around the world, Melbourne has experienced rapid population growth and urban densification. This raises questions over the capacity of existing parks to meet the needs of a contemporary city.

The competition, run by the University of Melbourne in partnership with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), was designed to explore these challenges. It attracted 124 submissions from 20 countries.

The Heart Foundation and ASPECT Studios collaborated on an entry called “Park as Suburb”, which envisaged the inner-city suburb of Collingwood transformed into an interconnected urban parkland.

The design delivered vital open spaces and movement networks; celebrated community assets such as the Yarra River and Victoria Park; and maintained a strong focus on improving social health and wellbeing.

“Park as Suburb” was announced as one of 31 short-listed entries in the competition earlier this month; however, the creators of all short-listed entries remained anonymous until an awards ceremony in Melbourne on Friday (11 October 2019), as part of AILA’s 2019 International Festival of Landscape Architecture.

Keith Brown, Heart Foundation Policy Advisor - Built Environment, said “Park as Suburb” was informed by the design features in the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design initiative.

“Healthy Active by Design showcases features of the built environment that can make it easier for Australians to be more active and improve their heart health,” Mr Brown said.

“It provides the best-available evidence, practical advice, checklists and case studies to help with the development of healthy neighbourhoods and communities that promote walking, cycling and an active public life.

“We could not be more pleased to have been short-listed in these prestigious awards. It is recognition that the Healthy Active by Design philosophy can be successfully embedded into design proposals.”

ASPECT Studios Director Matthew Mackay said he is very proud of this successful collaborative effort with the Heart Foundation.

“Working with the Heart Foundation and taking an evidence-based approach to the competition design has allowed us to demonstrate the tangible benefits and value that landscape architecture can bring to discussions about our future urban environment.” Mr Mackay said.

“The creation of healthy active communities is key to what we strive for as landscape architects and we are thrilled to have been recognised with this result,” he said.

“With ever-increasing population growth and density, space is at an all-time premium in contemporary cities. Access to quality open spaces and natural systems can be a major factor in the health and wellbeing of communities. Our concept was to bring the park to the suburb, embedding open space within the existing urban fabric of Collingwood.

“Human health can be intrinsically linked to environmental health. Evidence shows that access to nature and quality open spaces leads to improved mental and physical health benefits. Our proposal brings the park to the suburb, creating a new urban fabric focused on the wellbeing of its people and natural systems.”

All short-listed entries in the Future Park International Design Competition will be on display at the University of Melbourne until 1 November, 2019.

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