Federation for
Housing and

Personal visit from Government of South Australia

Michelle Burfield, Planning Officer at the Government of South Australia, is an urban planner and urban designer from Adelaide, South Australia.

She travelled for 6 weeks in Europe and here are some of her thoughts. Enjoy...

IFHP study tour inspired me to travel to Europe
In March 2013 I attended my first International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) event in Melbourne, Australia.  The study tour participants came from all over Australia and New Zealand with a passion to learn from the key people that have been catalysts in Melbourne’s urban revitalisation since the 1990s.  Danish architect Jan Gehl, whose thinking on people-friendly cities has been a major input into the strategic planning and urban revitalisation of Melbourne, led a guided walk of Melbourne.  I have visited Melbourne many times; however the study tour opened my eyes to another layer of the city.  The tour enabled a professional platform for discussion and provided valuable insight into key decisions and developments in Melbourne.  The Melbourne study tour and international connections from Copenhagen I made on the tour inspired me to travel to Europe in June 2013 to undertake further research.

A global leader in sustainable living 
In Europe I met with a local urban planner in Freiburg, Germany, to experience the city that urban planners from around the world know as a global leader in sustainable living.  My local planning guide gave a presentation of current policies and recent planning history in Freiburg since the 1970s which has led to the environmental movement and models of urban development in Freiburg.  I also went on a tour of the world renowned sustainable housing and mixed use districts Vauban and Rieselfeld.  Freiburg has many similarities with the city I live in Adelaide, South Australia, including a Mediterranean climate, natural environment opportunities and constraints on where urbanisation can occur and a large university population.

Visit to the IFHP Copenhagen Office
I also attended the International Federation for Housing and Planning Centenary Congress in London.  This global congress focussed on the themes of making cities smarter, greener, climate resilient, healthier, globally connected, socially cohesive, safe and secure.  The professional relationships I established at the congress with urban planners and architects from around the world have been an invaluable resource.

In Copenhagen I met with colleagues at the International Federation for Housing and Planning, Danish Architecture Centre, Gehl Architects and Realdania.  The purpose of my visit was to meet with these organisations and learn more about the policies and thinking that have enabled the creation of quality public spaces and the high cycling ridership that Copenhagen is known for. 

Hammarby Sjöstad district, Sweden  
I was also able to visit the Hammarby Sjöstad district in Sweden surrounded by lake Hammarby Sjö in the City of Stockholm.  The City of Stockholm has strict environmental requirements for buildings and the Hammarby Sjöstad district.   There is a district wide heating and underground vaccum waste system that has separate systems for combustible waste, organic waste and newspapers.

Urban Interweaving
Since returning to Adelaide, South Australia, I have started writing a blog, Urban Interweaving, to share my urban planning and design knowledge and insights from travelling around the world.  I encourage you to follow my blog and twitter as I will be sharing in detail about my experiences in Australia and Europe as it is too much for one article.

Join Velo-city in Adelaide
Thank you to the people I met on my travels and for sharing your country with me, I look forward to meeting again in the future please keep in contact.  If you are interested in visiting Adelaide an international cycling conference Velo-city will be held on 27-30 May 2014 with key speakers Mikael Colville-Anderson CEO of Copenhagenize, Ethan Kent Vice President of Project for Public Spaces and New York City Transport Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. 

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