Love it or hate it - using Auckland as a test case for transformation

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The role landscape architects can play in helping to shape a city’s identity and infrastructure is the focus of the 2018 NZILA Firth conference.



One of the organisers, Henry Crothers, says a lot of energy’s gone into choosing speakers who have worked on transformational spaces.

“What we’ve been trying to do is find people working in an urban context rather than the broader landscape one,” he says.

“More and more landscape architects are being involved at a strategic level so they have a say in the urban design around growth, intensification.. Infrastructure.

“We went for people with experience in designing the kinds of spaces that are relevant to cities.”

To be held in Auckland, the conference will use the city as a type of test case, looking at how it deals with fast growth, change and transport issues.

“It’s increasingly understood that a city’s competitiveness and appeal has a lot to do with infrastructure and public realm,” Crothers says. “That’s across all scales - not just a city the size of Auckland. The same lessons can be applied in Tauranga, Queenstown and Christchurch.”

The conference will focus on water and ecologies, culture and community, spaces and places.

Crothers believes conference goers will be particularly inspired by Dr Julian Bolleter, an academic from the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at the University of Western Australia. Award winning Dr Bolleter will look at how cities grow in conjunction with the landscape they are set in.

Speaking across the disciplines of planning, urban design and landscape architecture will be Bart Brands, a founding partner of karres+brands. Among other projects he’s played a major role in the design of Melbourne’s Federation Square.  

“We’ve been fortunate to get a collection of people globally recognised for what they’ve done,” Crothers says. “We have the best of Europe, Australasia and America, and they’re supported by the best local speakers that fit around the topic.”

The conference runs from April 11 to 13. Registrations are open now.

Click here for more 2018 NZILA Firth conference information