DowntownQ is an urban strategy and masterplan for the revitalisation of the Queanbeyan area of the greater metropolis of Canberra. Queanbeyan is at a cross roads, both physically and metaphorically. Main Street (Monaro) is currently overrun with traffic, reducing the street’s traditional role as the locus of the civic, to the point where the street has become a traffic sewer. The proposed Kings Highway Bypass, presents both significant risks and opportunities. Reducing the volume of through traffic along Monaro, will allow Monaro to reclaim the street as a pedestrian realm, and its historic role as the civic centre of the city. However the reduction on traffic volume also reduces the exposure of the street to causal visitors – requiring that the Queanbeyan CBD, and in particular the Monaro retail strip reposition itself as a destinational precinct, with a broad offer.
The dichotomy for Queanbeyan is not so much a lack of open space, it is rather a too much low quality open space and too little quality public space. Acers of on grade parking that currently exist along the streets and within the centres of the blocks, dilute urban activity and limit opportunities for genuine occupation and interaction within the public realm. The overarching strategy of the ‘DowntownQ’ proposal for central Queanbeyan is to concentrate the total amount of open space within the CBD precinct in a suite of high quality differentiated public spaces that compliment and support one another. Critically the public spaces within each zone are highly differentiated both in terms of materiality and activities, so that each quarter develops its own identity and compliments rather than competes with one another.
To achieve this differentiation, the urban form of each quarter was based on an iconic urban ‘sample’, the mew’s for the residential quarter, intersecting grids for the cultural quarter and interlocking public spaces for the market quarter; provides distinct urban morphologies and public space types within each zones.
Critically the redevelopment of the surrounding quarters are strategically designed to be differentiated from one another but also from Monaro Street, which retains and reinforces it’s role as the principal ‘high street’ shopping street and as the historic civic centre of Queanbeyan. The introduction of new public spaces within the redesigned quarters, provides new green bands parallel to Monaro Street through the quarters, connecting the riverfront precinct to the parks precinct to the west of the CBD.
By focusing and concentrating public space within the highly differentiated quarters, the ‘DowntownQ’ proposal delivers the characteristic diversity and intensity of the city while maintaining the amenity and character of the small town.
Ben Milbourne, Carolyn Cuthbert, Scott Douglas, Jimmy Hoang, Adam Missiuna, Stephanie Rideout, Jordan Stearne, Tim Vanderhoek, Sabrina Vastag, Athena Zandboer, David Borkenhagen, Stephen Yu, Daniel Watson, Kieran Watson, Natalie Andrijancic, Evan Goldstrom, Christopher Gulinao, Courtney Laurence, Sandra Shanoada
Competition Submission 2014 - First Prize