By Nicholas Stevenson | 5 Oct 2016

Interconnected urban forests, open air libraries and trams are just some of the ideas to transform Brisbane’s city precincts in the Urban Land Institute’s 2016 Urban Innovation Ideas competition.

The four winners of Stage 1 of the competition, Connecting Urban Precincts, were announced in Brisbane and chosen from a field of 27 entrants, with both local and international representation.

Among the finalists was Urbis’ own newly promoted Associate Director of Design Nicholas Stevenson, whose idea ‘The City Stitch’ brings together the concept of a biophilic city, one where an instinctive bond is formed between humans and the living systems surrounding us.

As I move onto the next stage I will be exploring some out-of-box thinking, whether it be realistic or not, to spark conversation about a forgotten part of the city centre.

Nicholas envisions an urban forest connecting the Brisbane CBD to Fortitude Valley, with layers of urban life that complements its surrounding precincts, delivering residential and commercial opportunities, and providing multiple mechanisms for creatives to inhabit and collaborate.

The concept represents a new world city that will epitomise biophilic design to become a world leading example of landscape urbanism.

“As I move onto the next stage I will be exploring some out-of-box thinking, whether it be realistic or not, to spark conversation about a forgotten part of the city centre,” he says.

Nicholas says that his role at Urbis provides a great grounding in testing the boundaries of urban design, which enables him to turn a client’s vision into meaningful and practical solutions.

“Working at Urbis you are constantly a part of shaping Brisbane’s urban fabric through a range of different projects.

I’m very excited to be able to take this approach to the next stage of the ULI competition,” he adds.

The entries for the first stage were anonymous. The four named finalists now receive a cash incentive from competition sponsor Mirvac, as well as support to refine their initial ideas into a developed concept prior to submission to a jury of city and industry experts, including Urbis National Director of Design James Tuma. The winning idea will be announced by Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk on Thursday 17 November.

The competition, which is an initiative of the ULI’s Young Leaders Group, invited young professionals in design and property related fields under the age of 35 to present their ideas in a 30-second video, accompanied by an A3 image and 500 words of text describing their concept.

“The ULI Urban Innovation competition is a great initiative and provides a fantastic platform for young designers to push the boundaries and think differently about our city,” concludes Nicholas.

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‘The City Stitch’ is a biophilic forest with layers of urban life that complements its surrounding precincts of the city.