Through Urban Innovations Initiative, YLG Australia Seeks Bold Ideas for Brisbane
September 28, 2016
ULI Australia’s Young Leaders Group is one the Institute’s most active affinity groups for members under 35. Each month, it programs a full calendar of activities—including a dynamic speaker’s series, networking events, and study tours of developments in Australian cities and beyond—to engage young professionals in search of meaningful professional development experiences and cross-disciplinary perspectives.
Add to that the ULI Urban Innovations Initiative, a competition for professionals under age 35 now in its second year. Launched in August, this year’s competition is focused on the city of Brisbane. Participants are asked to submit ideas for redeveloping a nondescript area between two established neighborhoods: Brisbane’s central business district and Fortitude Valley, known for its nightlife and entertainment venues.
Competition directors are expecting to see several bold ideas that take advantage of the area’s natural assets, including proximity to the Brisbane River and precincts undergoing redevelopment. Among these is the Howard Smith Wharves project, which will create new riverfront open spaces and public facilities.
“The full potential of the space has not yet been realized, and we hope to see a number of ideas that will incorporate the river and city views, green space, and current urban development to help rejuvenate the area,” says Annabelle Matthews, director with Property Projects Queensland.
Matthews, recently selected for the WLI (Women’s Leadership Initiative) Prologis Fall Meeting Scholarship to attend the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas, is codirecting the competition with Leo Mewing, senior planner with Cardno, and Lawson Royes, senior associate at Rothelowman. The 2016 competition follows the success of the competition in its first year, when ideas were sought for redeveloping George Street in Sydney. The Brisbane competition won an ULI Foundation Urban Innovation Grant, which receives support through the Annual Fund.
As Brisbane’s population grows and neighborhoods expand, it is important to focus on the interfaces between established districts so that connections and a sense of seamlessness can be established, Matthews says. Several years ago, Brisbane launched a campaign to position itself as a “new world city”—one globally connected and eager for outsiders to discover its quality of life, opportunities for business, and rich cultural and recreational amenities. With its subtropical climate, urban parks, outdoor attractions, and highly developed digital economy, Brisbane is seeking to move beyond its reputation as a provincial capital.
The Urban Innovations Initiative competition supports these aspirations and hopes to contribute to elevating Brisbane as a dynamic, world-class city. “The competition will help to stimulate ideas and conversations about the future direction of Brisbane and how different precincts can be utilized to position Brisbane as a new world city,” Matthews says.
The competition also provides a platform from which emerging professionals can take their careers to a higher level. Teams will receive expert feedback from the jury, a multidisciplinary group representing a variety of fields—from real estate development and urban design to planning, investment, and entrepreneurship. The opportunity to establish relationships with senior leaders and mentors is also part of the appeal.
So far, the competition has received proposals from more than 30 young professionals, and the registration deadline was recently extended. Finalist teams, to be selected later this year, will be invited to present their proposals at the 2017 ULI Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore.
“There is so much to gain for young professionals wanting to enter this competition,” Matthews says. “They will have access to world-class jurors and mentors, meet like-minded peers, and have the opportunity to present their ideas on a world stage.”
Learn more about the ULI Australia YLG Urban Innovations Initiative.