Cairns has scored a national planning award for a collaborative study which promotes lush landscaping and rainforest-like canopies in the city streetscapes.
The Tropical Urbanism: Cairns City Image Study was named winner in the category Best Planning Ideas – Small Project at the 2017 National Awards for Planning Excellence.
The 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.
Council Planning and Environment Committee chair Terry James said the project was helping ensure future urban growth reflected 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,” Cr James said.
“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.”
Queensland took a total of four awards at the Planning Institute of Australia’s 2017 National Awards for Planning Excellence, representing almost a third of the national total.
They included the Planner of the Year Award, which went to Moreton Bay-based Kate Isles.
A former PIA Qld President, Ms Isles was recognised for “her immense passion for planning, her dedication to excellence and her genuine desire to make a difference to Queensland’s communities.”
The Best Planning Ideas Award in the large project category went to Moreton Bay Regional Council for their Moreton Bay Region University Precinct.The project was lauded as “a shining model for other local governments looking to diversify their economies and transform disused precincts.”
A book by Queensland author Robin King-Cullen RPIA, ‘Mastering the Art of Planning – 100 Stories from Urban Planning Practice’, also won the Cutting Edge Research and Teaching Award.