Brandon Sedloff

28 August 2013 — The Urban Land Institute has been in Australia drumming up interest in its organisation and investigating opportunities for collaborative projects, with a sustainability focus.

ULI Asia Pacific managing director Brandon Sedloff told The Fifth Estate, during a visit to Australia earlier this year, that special member groups, under the banner of ULI Advisor Services, were available to investigate large urban projects or difficult specific projects to bring to bear the combined weight of their experience.

In one example this group which typically works on a fly-in fly-out basis, recommended a location for the Denver Convention Center in the US that resulted in a highly successful outcome.

See this article that describes the process

“We would love an opportunity to do one in Australia,” Sedloff said of these projects.

The ULI can demonstrate its commitment to sustainability through work it has done in Hong Kong.

Its “Ten Principles for a Sustainable Approach to New Development Towards Sustainable and Integrated Large-Scale Developments for a More Livable Hong Kong” recognises that over the past few decades, land development projects have grown ever larger in scale and have resulted in a podium building typology.

The 10 principles were an attempt to develop a more sustainable approach to these developments.

The study objectives were to identify key challenges facing large-scale developments in Hong Kong and benchmark these projects against successful regional and international case studies, identify key opportunities for a sustainable approach to new development to improve existing development practices and develop principles that outline an alternative sustainable approach in order to ensure more context-sensitive and integrated developments.

The 10 principles for a sustainable approach to new development were:

  • Build on Your Strengths
  • Create Great Places
  • Extend the Urban Grid
  • Open Up Public Space
  • Integrate Infrastructure
  • Activate the Streets
  • Keep It Flexible
  • Promote Sustainability
  • Engage People Early on
  • Manage, Control, and Coordinate

According to the study the world’s great cities, Hong Kong included, competing with other for international recognitition. And it has to be sustainable.

In order to achieve this global cities need to meet certain criteria, namely “livability, including waterfront development, a high-quality public realm, open-space networks, a unique urban identity, landmark developments, urban regeneration, heritage conservation, housing, and transport and mobility choice”.

Leadership is another strong element of Paris, New York, London or Hong Kong.

That’s a “true champion with a strategic city vision, backed by a clear policy framework, sound governance, and proactive decision making supported for the most part by a participatory planning process”.

“Hong Kong is a mature, compact city well known for its skyline and panoramic views from the Peak, with high-density development on either side of Victoria Harbour. The city offers public transit, including its world-renowned mass transit system providing access to 95 per cent of the city.

“However, the rapid pace of development threatens the city’s identity and character – its heritage, harbour front, vibrant streets, and street markets. The challenge for Hong Kong is to build on its strengths to create a sustainable Asian city.”

The full paper is here.

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