Bowden Urban Village Master Plan well advanced

4 Dec 2009

Vibrant squares linked by tree-lined village walks and plazas, multi-storey apartment blocks overlooking the parklands and a high quality shopping precinct are just some of the proposed elements in one of Adelaide’s most exciting master planned projects, Bowden Urban Village on the CBD’s western fringe.

Master planning is well advanced, with the presentation in early September of the consultants’ Preferred Site Plan for public feedback.

The Preferred Site Plan details proposals for the development of a 20 hectare study area – bound by Port Road, Park Terrace, Chief Street and Second / Seventh Street – in order to facilitate the redevelopment of other key industrial / commercial sites as well as the former ‘Clipsal’ industrial site. The site has a broad frontage to Park Terrace, while the southern boundary fronts the Outer Harbor rail line, which is serviced by Bowden Rail Station.

“The project will transform the site into a leading-edge, mixed-use urban village, with a mix of medium and high-density residential housing, shops and offices,” said Infrastructure Minister Patrick Conlon.

The State Government purchased the 10.25ha ‘Clipsal’ industrial site at Bowden in October 2008. The Land Management Corporation is leading the planning process for State Government in partnership with the City of Charles Sturt.

“It is one of the most important master planning processes to be undertaken in South Australia – a once in a lifetime opportunity to set the benchmark for Adelaide’s urban future. The site is the first of 13 proposed Transit Oriented Development (TOD) sites for Metropolitan Adelaide to be master planned, and provides a unique opportunity to set new standards in urban revitalisation and integrated transit planning and sustainability for Australian cities,” Mr Conlon said.

The first step in the six-month intensive planning process began in May, with the appointment of the Hassell / Parsons Brinckerhoff consortium. Hassell is a leading Australian architectural, planning and urban design firm, and Parsons Brinckerhoff a leading international planning, environment and infrastructure firm.

Although the focus of the plan is on the Bowden Urban Village site, the planning process also recognises the broader area. The consultants’ Preferred Area Plan, prepared for the area bounded by South Road, Torrens Road, War Memorial Drive and the River, was also revealed to the public at the recent Open Day held at the City of Charles Sturt Civic Centre. The Area Plan is a high level plan showing preferred land uses, to help shape the future direction of Bowden Urban Village and the wider Council area.

Internationally renowned leading voice for integrated design, education practice and research in architecture, and current Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Professor Laura Lee, said the Bowden project has the potential to be a demonstration of how many government agencies and industry can work together to create an integrated design solution, setting a precedent for future TODs.

“It is not just about the buildings, but about the public space and public realm created,” she said.

“There is also the opportunity to extend beyond Bowden by addressing the surrounding heritage buildings and parklands.”

LMC Chief Executive Wayne Gibbings said the community engagement strategy has been a key factor behind the success of the master planning process for Bowden Urban Village in all four stages of the Master Plan process – strategic framework; area plan; site plan and design guidelines; and implementation.

“Community engagement is vitally important to the Bowden Urban Village project, particularly as we’re introducing a new form of urban development to Adelaide. Each community has its own history and character, and a feel for what makes a place tick. We don’t want to detract from that, rather we want to add to that,” Mr Gibbings said.

“It’s really important that we talk to the people who live and work in the area. It’s all about making a great place where people can live and work. There needs to be a sense of destination, and people in the area can help to determine what that character is,” he said.

In the first stage of the master planning process, the consultant team investigated opportunities for mixed-use development, and reviewed existing open space, community facilities and utilities. Activities involving people who live and work in the area fed into these investigations and helped the consultants to explore how Bowden Urban Village could look and feel, whilst also understanding how the new development can enhance and relate to the surrounding area. A vision and guiding principles were also established and explored.

The second stage of master planning explored broad land uses and infrastructure issues for the Bowden Urban Village site as well as the surrounding area. A workshop for key stakeholders fed into a workshop for the broader community to discuss options, which carried forward to the Design Charrette and into the community Open Day.

The three-day intensive Design Charrette was held on the site of the proposed Bowden Urban Village, in August, in one of the old factory warehouses, to develop master plan options leading to a Preferred Site Plan.

“The Charrette – in essence an intensive brainstorming forum to share ideas and be creative – was structured to provide input from key stakeholders at key sessions on each of the three days, so allowing a robust iterative process between the design team and key stakeholders which included community group leaders,” Mr Gibbings said.

Following further refinement by the consultants, the Open Day, held at the City of Charles Sturt Civic Centre, provided the opportunity for the broader community to see and give feedback on the Consultants’ Preferred Area Plan and Consultants’ Preferred Site Plan, as well as the draft vision, all within the context of the Strategic Planning Framework.

“Community response to the Open Day was overwhelmingly positive. Many supported the proposed mix of land uses to include shops and services, more intense residential development in close proximity to public transport, and high-quality parks and plazas presented in the consortium’s Preferred Site Plan. Many also expressed an interest becoming residents or investors in the project.” Mr Gibbings said.

“We’ve now got the bones of what we think the development should look like – in terms of form, space and connections. There are a lot of stakeholders to consider, and influences – such as what we can do with infrastructure and the financial aspects. We will take all the information and feedback into consideration as we continually reiterate the plan and move it forward. We will try to meld that together to come up with a plan that will work.

“Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have a good plan that we can give government, not only in terms of the urban form but also informing government about the infrastructure issues, the commercial realities and some of the community infrastructure that we can include in the development,” Mr Gibbings said.

The next steps in the planning will include a feasibility study to determine the commercial viability of the consultants’ Preferred Site Plan, further review and modification of the Site Plan, the preparation of Urban Design Guidelines, determining the staging for delivery, and preparing the site in terms of remediation works and identification of infrastructure and services upgrades. Construction is expected to begin in 2011 with completion in 8 – 10 years.

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