Three projects, Brisbane’s new Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron), the upgrade of two Sydney laneways and the master plan to link the Canberra CBD with the city’s iconic lake have been named the best urban design projects in the country for 2013.

The winners of the 2013 Australian Awards for Urban Design (AAUD) were announced at a gala dinner at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

AAUD is Australia’s top awards ceremony celebrating excellence in urban design. It is hosted each year by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and supported by the Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Consult Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Property Council of Australia and the Urban Design Forum.

The Brisbane Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) by Tract Consultants, PBAJV, Thiess John Holland, Transport and Main Roads, Cottee Parker Architects, Bligh Tanner, Hydroplan, Dotdash and Holistic Trees, and Linking Canberra City to the Lake in Policies Programs and Concepts, large scale category by the ACT Office of the Coordinator General, Hill Thalis, SMEC Australia PTY LTD, MacroPlan Dimasi, JILA and Tania Parkes Consulting won in the large scale category.

Sydney Laneway Upgrades – central precinct (Ash Street & Angel Place) and Chinatown by Aspect Studios and the City of Sydney Council took home top honours in the small scale category.

Revitalising Central Dandenong: Lonsdale Street Redevelopment (VIC) by TCL in collaboration with BKK earned a special commendation in the large scale category.

Brisbane Northern Busway

Brisbane Northern Bus

The new Lutwyche Busway Station in Brisbane Northern Busway.

The Northern Busway project connects communities in Brisbane’s northern suburbs to Brisbane City, major shopping centres and workplaces, providing a vital link in the expanding busway network. The new infrastructure consists of on a two-lane, two-way bus-only roadway connecting the Inner Northern Busway at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) station in Herston to Bracken Ridge via Windsor, Lutwyche, Kedron, Chermside and Aspley.

The main elements of the Northern Busway include a 1.5-kilometre tunnel running underneath Lutwyche Road and Gympie Road, two new bus stations built at Lutwyche and Kedron along with eight new bus shelters, and the promise of an enhanced bus network that will eventually span the city, combining with the existing rail network to complete the city’s major public transport system.

Sydney Laneway Upgrades

Sydney Laneway Upgrades

Sydney Laneway Upgrades (ASPECT Studios).

The laneway revitalisation scheme, designed to rejuvenate a number of Sydney’s historically significant laneways, has seen Angel Place and Ash Street in the city’s CBD transformed into new public spaces which integrate public art and interpretation into the designs.

The streetscapes of these laneways have been upgraded, vastly improving the pedestrian experience, and the kerbs at both the George and Pitt Street entries to Angel Place were extended. According to ASPECT Studios, particular emphasis was placed on revealing the Tank Stream, with a rhythmic combination of paving and steel inlays highlighting its location.

Across Sydney’s Chinatown, Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane have also been upgraded with new paving, lighting, street furniture and public art.

“The project has lifted the rejuvenation of laneways to a new level. It has established laneways as a destination and an integral part of the city, and has encouraged new small businesses to be established, which in turn introduces more people to the city,” the AAUD jury said.

Linking Canberra City to the Lake

Linking Canberra City to the Lake

Linking Canberra City to the Lake.

Linking Canberra City to the Lake provides a development framework for an urban extension of the city centre toward the lake. A generous new public waterfront was designed to connect Lake Griffin’s geometry along with uniting Commonwealth Park and City Hill across Parkes Way with several important civic projects.

Jurors were “impressed with how the project respects and extends Canberra’s historical settings in a way that is appropriate.”

Public access will be enhanced through new boardwalks linking the entire waterfront, the creation of an urban beach, cafes, restaurants and picnic/entertainment areas, offering sailing boats, and bike and canoe rental.

Revitalising Central Dandenong: Lonsdale Street Redevelopment

Revitalising Central Dandenong Lonsdale Street Redevelopment

Revitalising Central Dandenong: Lonsdale Street Redevelopment by BKK/TCL Partnership.

The aim in the Lonsdale Street Redevelopment project, which did not win but earned a commendation, was to make it one of Melbourne’s great boulevards, turning it into a green and pedestrian-friendly main street with the retail and business vibrancy suited to a capital city.

The completed Lonsdale Street now features more than 250 Pin Oak trees, 260 carriageways and service lane and footpath lights, compared to approximately 60 before the upgrade commenced. There are also six new pedestrian crossings and wider footpaths.

In addition, 60 light poles were installed down the centre of the street, and green gardens were added at both sides of the street, with granite seating creating relaxation areas and short-stay car parking. The project also saw the addition of more bicycle parking and a new plaza-style meeting area at the end of Langhorne Street, with a premium bus stop in Langhorne Street.