By Andrew Starc

20 April 2010 –
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects has launched its urban sea level rise ideas competition, SEACHANGE 2030+, inviting design professionals, tertiary and school students to tackle the effects of climate change.

SEACHANGE 2030+ invites entrants to help identify creative planning, design and management solutions for Sydney to adapt to incremental sea level rise, according to a media statement issued by AILA. Entries in the competition are due by June 30, 2010, with prize-winners to be announced in late July.

AILA hopes the competition will foster dialogue on climate change planning between public, private and community stakeholders as well increase public awareness of the vulnerability of NSW coastlines to the impacts of climate change.
AILA NSW President Sacha Coles is enthusiastic about the ideas competition generating scenarios for positive futures to the long term challenges of sea level rise officially projected by the NSW Government at 0.4 metres by 2050 and 0.9 m by 2100.

“Landscape architects believe that cities such as Sydney can be early adapters to sea level rise. Especially vulnerable are many seminal, and well loved public Sydney projects designed by landscape architects such as Long Nose Point, Darling Harbour, Ballast Point Park, Pirrama Park and Bradleys Head Park.  Our world renowned cultural icons such as the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge need good ideas to protect them in the long term.

“We are using the ideas competition, as a pilot project to generate community engagement in sustainable development and the rapidly evolving area of climate change adaptation.  These innovative ideas can also be shared with other coastal cities and towns in Australia and even globally.”

According to the AILA website, a number of challenges will face Australia’s coastal cities and towns as sea levels begin to rise. These challenges include:

  • Retrofitting public infrastructure
  • Protection of iconic landmarks
  • Reconfiguration of harbour shorelines and waterfront urban spaces
  • Uncertainty in regional sea level rise projections, and the need for flexible approaches
  • Movement upward and landward of property boundaries in the Sydney Basin which are currently at the mean high water mark
  • Changes to urban parklands and regional open space systems
  • Natural resource management of marine, estuarine, inter-tidal and foreshore ecological systems, including protection and enhancement where possible
  • Adaptation of water-based transport systems
  • Designing for new waterfront architecture and shoreline built forms which are flexible to long term change and Sea Level Rise adapted
  • Amelioration of storm surge and high tide impacts on stormwater systems and low lying lands
  • Development of climate based governance and integrated place management

Allen Kearns, Deputy Chief CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and Team Leader, Sustainable Cities and Coasts, Climate Adaptation Flagship will chair the jury of  climate change adaptation experts from Germany and New Zealand and Australia.
For details go to the website here