Reconnecting City Hubs: Maximising Existing Infrastructure
As cities increasingly compete with each other for business investment, talent, and travel dollars, there’s a renewed push to improve transportation links within the city hub. That means better utilization and improvement of existing infrastructure while developing new pedestrian transport systems. One motive, of course, is money.
A Siemens study of transport systems in 35 global cities found improved public transport networks could add up to $238 billion in annual economic value by 2030. Such networks are critical in overcoming social, economic and environmental pressures in cities, and bridge historic business centres with newer precincts such as Canary Wharf in London, Melbourne’s Docklands and Barangaroo in Sydney.
Efficient urban transit systems not only increase the efficiency of city centres, they encourage local development and vibrant mixed use neighbourhoods. People want to work near such hubs, especially when they are connected to pedestrian plazas, bike paths, parkland, local attractions, and retail hubs. Systems that allow an effective interchange between transport modes such as rail, airports, walking and cycling encourage more density around hubs, reducing urban sprawl, and become a magnet for new business and talent. Design is integral in enhancing the passenger journey, elevating a mundane commute into a legible and enjoyable experience.
Urban Transport: Integrating the Interchange
- New urban transit systems enable cities to increase densities near stations, creating more efficient city centres.
- Hubs that enable efficient interchange between modes of transport attract talent and business, spawning vibrant mixed use developments.
- Innovative transport links reconnect old historic central business district (CBD) centres to new CBD precinct developments.
- Fully accessible pedestrian walkways integrated into cities reconnect disparate urban precincts.
Wynyard Walk, Sydney
A fully accessible pedestrian walkway in Sydney’s central business district, connecting the train station, Wynyard, to the emerging business and cultural waterfront hub of Barangaroo. The 180-metre urban conduit takes about six minutes to walk, half the time of other routes, and is designed to inspire “flow” with references to nature and the geology from the Sydney region. This is interpreted through the built form and materials selection to create a sense of motion as part of a unified architectural expression for pedestrians. At nine metres wide, it’s expected to handle as many as 20,000 people an hour coming from the station and a pedestrian bridge from Barangaroo.