Urban resilience: is our city prepared for disaster?
Beyond the immediate emergency protocols, is Sydney equipped to cope with a debilitating terrorist attack in the CBD? How can a city bounce back after disaster?
This was the challenge set to 3rd year UTS Architecture students in the ‘Social Economies’ studio for Architectural Design: FIELD. They were asked to consider Sydney’s capacity for economic resilience in the period of instability and uncertainty that inevitably follows major disasters and disruptions.
“Our cities today face multiple challenges; from climate-change complications, rapid development, overpopulation, through to possible terror attacks,” says Jillian Hopkins, 2nd year UTS Bachelor of Design in Architecture course director and subject coordinator.
“As architects, we need to factor in a concept of urban resilience early on, so this awareness infiltrates the design process.”
One of the most impressive proposals, developed by a group of ten students, was the creation of a Sydney Innovation Precinct and Centre of Resilience. It’s a proposal that provides the city with much-needed economic diversity, a quality critical to resilience.
The mega model, designed as a mixed-use institutional/commercial facility, would encourage big business to collaborate with universities, medical research and start-up and creative industries in one central location.
“This proposal is a counterpoint to a typical Sydney development”, explains Hopkins.
“The project provides collaborative research and business incubation with public programs, and converts into an economic recovery centre after an urban crisis.”
“What’s significant about this proposal, is that it’s about the resolution and sophistication of bigger and broader urban and social agendas, rather than the refinement of construction details. Their building represents a political statement and economic disrupter.”'
For Jack Jahn who is enrolled in the UTS Bachelor of Design in Architecture and Bachelor of Creative Intelligence double degree, the studio allowed him to explore themes covered in both his courses.
“The core idea behind our proposal is to challenge the ideas of social equity and changing global economies,” explains Jahn.
“We started to look at how a building might offer resilience to a city through creating economic diversification, especially as Sydney’s current economy is dominated by Financial Services.
The concept evolved into an innovation precinct in which university students, start-ups, co-working spaces, corporate firms and research centres from all backgrounds are housed together, in close proximity.
“This proximity and clash of fields is one of the core ingredients to successfully promoting the creation of innovative ideas,” he says.
The ‘Social Economies: Life-long Learning’ team included students Jack Jahn, Jack Cooper, Alasdair Donaldson, Delayne Sternbeck-Rutter, Rhys Grant, Alex Bognor, Christopher Codie, Dominic Dato, Blagojce Nedelkovski and Caiqiu Yang. The project was developed for the subject, Architectural Design: FIELD, as part of the Bachelor of Design in Architecture degree.
Byline: Mel Dominguez-Nash