Tropical urbanism scoops highest accolade

Article image - Tropical urbanism scoops highest accolade Cr Anne Glasheen, Sean Lisle, Graeme Harvison, Philip Follent, Cr Terry James, Lauren Stiles, Sarah Cook and Brendan Nelson – PIA National President.

An award-winning collaborative study into tropical urbanism in Cairns has claimed the title of Australia’s Best Planning Idea – Small Project at the 2017 Planning Excellence Awards.

The Tropical Urbanism: Cairns City Image Study was a combined effort of Cairns Regional Council and a consultancy team comprising Tract Consultants, Follent, Peddle Thorp and local firms CA Architects and Total Project Group Architects.

Chair of Council’s Planning and Environment Committee, Councillor Terry James, said the acclaimed project is helping ensure future urban growth reflects the special character of the Cairns region.
“Cairns is a world-renowned ‘city in the rainforest’, and our built environment is intrinsically linked to the tropical mountains and reef that surround us,” he said.

“One of the study’s key outcomes was a focus on integrating lush landscaping and rainforest-like canopies into urban street frontages, to create cool shaded public spaces.

“These signature design elements aim to promote tropical streetscapes that celebrate, preserve and promote our city’s much-loved character and identity.

The study also reviewed Council’s planning policy on height, density and design of buildings within the Cairns city centre.

“Our proposal to increase city building heights and density – essential to cater for future population and business growth – was carefully balanced by the tropical urbanism elements.

“The local community clearly understood that we were committed to protecting the city’s tropical character while providing for future growth, and they overwhelmingly supported our sensible increase in height limits.”

The Tropical Urbanism: Cairns City Image Study has also been recognised by the Queensland Planning Institute, taking out dual honours of “Best Planning Ideas – Small Project” and “Exceptional Planning Achievement Award” at the state PIA awards in November 2016.

“These awards represent the cream of the planning crop, and it’s an absolute honour to have our work recognised by the profession at the state and national levels,” said Cr James.