31 May 2011 – Arup has launched a competition to describe the concept of soft infrastructure in urban planning – elements such as branding, community engagement and cohesion, to complement the “hard” elements of roads, rail, tunnels and buildings.

The competition is part of the company’s recent series of national seminars, Making Cities Work for People “rather than continue to be a hub of ever-increasing congestion, pollution and density.”

The events coincided with the release of the March 2011 Deloitte Access Economics-Arup Investment Monitor, the benchmark publication on major business and government investment projects in Australia, Arup said

Some of the comments coming from the seminars include: Yen Trinh in Brisbane:

I agree systems and holistic thinking is needed in the making of cities and infrastructure. It is also about the small design details and how we design to better experiences and contribute to daily culture. This means rethinking the very role of places. For example seeing streets and transport infrastructure not just as a means to get from A to B, but can be contributing to an active community and street life. It then starts to put importance on “small things” such as street trees as great enhancers of experience and not just as “decoration” to road projects.

From Kerry Clare, director Clare Design in Sydney:

The word sustain has several definitions, one of which is to maintain or nourish physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing. If built environments do not promote wellbeing they will not be sustainable. Systems based approaches can help lend weight to the less tangible aspects of liveability and sustainability within our cities. If urban expansion is growing at twice the rate of population, and buildings account for 40 per cent of all energy consumption, it will be the thoughtfulness and quality of what we do now and in the future that is going to make the difference.

The best 50 words or less describing this concept will win a case of six bottles of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial champagne. Entrants will need to first see the video here

Applications should be emailed to selvi.macleod@arup.com by 13 June, 2011

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