Visual presentation and Urban design– (As “one of the most expensive cities in the world”) – People living throughout the Perth region, visitors from interstate and overseas, should be able to regard the Perth City Centre as not just another shopping forum, an ad hoc collection of office buildings and multi-storey residential towers; but a place with a distinctive superior spatial ambience combining both large-scale quality buildings, dignified civic spaces, high grade entertainment venues and interesting walking experiences such as e.g.-
A planned sequence of multi- level, interesting and different spaces to walk through; with varied surfaces, contrasting wide /light and narrow/shaded – spaces combined with occasional seductive glimpses of greenery and the River to draw pedestrians through – and while doing so provide open front cafes and seating that invite lingering and being there for the different and a unique experience. While slow-moving small-scale travelator assistance could be could be provided in some intensive commercial areas, cars and service vehicles should be on other levels and not visible at all during the experience.
‘Civic’ design is a professional discipline combing architecture and urban landscape design. Central Perth deserves to have such expertise available to create an exciting and dignified future. Such professionals understand and can creatively plan the spaces between buildings to complement the buildings themselves. How to create external experiences that alter mood locally and create human/external environment empathy. How to subtly induce movement – through spatial design/ effects of scale / formality and informality of spaces, by consciously creating interest and different experiences as people travel. They can provide excitement by deliberately controlled use of colour, light, graphic symbols and advertising, yet avoid the visually competitive advertising chaos that adds nothing useful to urban communication and simply disorientates people. (**As an example -to understand the latter point – please try to find a building by street number in any Perth street or trading estate today – and that message will be easily understood!!) Purposeful design control of urban advertising signage as an integral aspect of urban environmental design is a specific Planning responsibility taken seriously elsewhere, but not yet in Perth.
Even (52 storey) ultra-high density privately owned and occupied city Residential complexes (as illustrated here) can be designed to be attractive and liveable as fully serviced Urban Neighbourhoods. These are 2 and 3 bedroom units. This complex includes e.g. Top right a fresh food shopping arcade; bottom right swimming pool; pleasant outdoor shaded tree covered sitting/ ambling areas etc.; all in fact 2 storeys above nominal ground level incorporating Service Access and a variety of shared indoor Amenity areas below. Private car owning for most residents in this complex is unnecessary since all facilities are within short walking distance from home and work.
However, in Perth most multi-storey inner-city residences now being developed (randomly) are on gap-sites and are just stand-alone housing units, not comprehensively designed and planned as urban Residential Neighbourhoods. Future urban/ city planning could, and should now be producing more attractive and better serviced choices for people who prefer intensely urban lifestyles close to work and entertainment in a vibrant commercial State Capital City.