Future Street, Sydney, Australia
Place Design Group

From 12-15 October 2017, Alfred Street in Sydney, Australia was transformed into a street of the future as part of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ (AILA) 2017 International Festival. In partnership with AILA, Smart Cities Council and the Internet of Things Alliance Australia, Place Design Group conceptualised and led the design for ‘Future Street’ to deliver a real-life experience of a potential street from the future.
 
Future Street is the first time in the world that a scale demonstration street that embeds green and smart infrastructure and technology alongside emerging principles of complete and future streets in a post Autonomous Vehicle world has been built. Whilst many have created 3D images and concepts of what the street of the future may look like, we built one. Beyond the project being a first of its kind in a built sense, it also incorporated innovative ideas around how landscape, infrastructure and technology can advance our cities and public spaces to become greener, more complete and smarter. The conceptual design featured propositions about each of these as standalone ‘sections’, representing how the future may look in response to opportunities created by the introduction of autonomous vehicles, shared mobility, smart city technology, urban agriculture and urban landscape imperatives as well as potential retail offerings. 
 
The design and planning philosophies included principles of biophilic design and the importance of green space, shade and greater time outside. We did this by including large areas of grass, shade trees, shaded seating and tables, green walls, vertical gardens and urban agriculture. We then intermixed this with green infrastructure principles of water sensitive design and sustainability. Beyond this, we took the complete street concepts that prioritise people amongst other modes of transport and reimagined a street that has shared electric mobility and emerging shared and autonomous vehicles in it, and opportunities to repurpose road space for people and commerce and indeed green infrastructure. Lastly, we pushed technology into the street to show both how it might interplay with other transport and people, but also to prove that it can be incorporated in an aesthetically pleasing manner with both form and function.
 
Beyond the physical demonstration street, education and transferability have been at the heart of the project. The design and project partner team have since created a design and delivery masterclass and workshop on Future Street. This masterclass workshop is an interactive presentation on the Future Street project, and then an interactive workshop for participants to explore how they can build and deliver their own version of Future Street or adopt the principles of the demonstration in real projects.  This masterclass was delivered as part of the Urbanism Next Conference in Portland in March 2018 and is being replicated in New Zealand and Australia later in 2018.
 
We built a physical street from the future, but what emerged was a social street, a unifying place that encouraged discussion on how different industries can leverage from one another’s knowledge, and ultimately progress towards making Future Street a reality.
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