Students get a world-wide lesson in city planning

Students get a world-wide lesson in city planning

16 Jun 2011

Bendigo’s next crop of town planners are in Europe to learn lessons that can be applied our growing city.

euro-stdMr Andrew Butt, Lecturer of Planning at La Trobe University’s Bendigo Campus, left Australia last week to travel through Freiburg, Prague, Berlin, Copenhagen-Malmo and Hamburg  with 23 students studying a Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning .

‘Travelling to Europe offers the students a chance to see cities with many of the same, but also many different issues to those of Australian cities,’ Mr Butt said.
‘Many of the ideas we see in planning and city design derive from European experiences and approaches to dealing with issues such as housing and transport. Issues such as local public transport, higher density housing and renewable energy production feature heavily in development and redevelopment of old and new parts of cities making this a good opportunity for students to learn from.’ 
For growing Australian cities such as Bendigo these lessons are important. Bendigo is expected to grow at about 1.5% per year over the next decade – higher than the average in Victoria, says Mr Butt.

Students began the trip with a visit to Freiburg's Vaubaun district. This district is seen as a model for sustainable urban development in terms of design, energy use and community involvement in these issues.

"The road hierarchy here is very different; cars are seen as secondary to other more active forms of getting around,’ said Steven Abbott, a student in Mr Butt’s group.

‘Trams, buses and bikes are everywhere, and it works! There's a real sense of safety on the streets for cyclists and pedestrians, interestingly with less infrastructure of curbs, signage and traffic lights’

La Trobe students will also partake in planning workshops with other students from Ireland and Germany.

This will give them a chance to see how other parts of the world respond to planning issues and to bring an Australian perspective to discussions exploring links between planning issues in Berlin and smaller declining cities of the former East Germany.

The students are now in Prague, where they will look at heritage issues in post socialist Prague and the strong role of heritage buildings and tourism. Next they will head to Copenhagen to see the cycle friendly city and then Malmo to take a look at how a cross-border city-region operates.



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