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The top three finalists of the landscape architecture design competition, This Public Space were recently announced with the proposals selected from a pool of 231 students across 77 teams. Open to university student groups from Australia and New Zealand, the competition was held as part of the ongoing 2015 Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life, and required participants to develop innovative design strategies that would make public spaces more inclusive.

Participating student groups had to respond to the questions: Why do we seek escape from the city, and what forms of escape can we find within the urban environment?

This Public Life Creative Directors Claire Martin and Ricky Ricardo, and competition partner, New York’s Van Alen Institute selected the top three finalists.

The selected proposals include an inner-city wetland stream and a collection of disaster resilient social parks in Wellington, as well as activity precincts for an industrial area in Sydney. University of Wellington is host to two of the finalist groups, while the third finalist group is studying at the University of NSW.

Finalist submissions from New Zealand:


Urban Streaming by Sian Du, Christine Blunden and Tama Whiting is an inner-city wetland design for Te Aro, Wellington that exposes a historic stream throughout the CBD to enhance social interaction with water.


Aftershock by Alex Prujean, Katie Nguyen and Michael Cook proposes a web of disaster-resilient parks, providing safe havens to meet, play and interact with nature, while also acting as a disaster relief zone for the Te Aro region.

Finalist submission from Australia:


Switching Gears by Brinlee Pickering, Clare O’Brien, Grace Hunt and Michele Williams, proposes an urban master plan of the Bays Precinct in outer Sydney. This design celebrates the importance of local industry to the site by championing existing industrial workings, dramatically altered natural conditions and the unique character of the site’s layered past.

The three finalists will present their work to an expert panel of judges at This Public Life in Melbourne, on Thursday 15 October. The expert panel includes David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute, NYC), Ana Abram (Amphibious Lab, UK), Cassandra Chilton (HASSELL, VIC) and Adam Husband (Intergrain, VIC). The $3000 prize pool is sponsored by Intergrain.

The Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life brings together international and local thinkers and practitioners from the arts and sciences to explore public life through the lenses of Life + Death, Love + Longing and Participation + Spectacle. Featuring an inspiring Melbourne-wide programme of industry and public fringe events, city tours, events and installations, the annual Festival of Landscape Architecture, will take over Melbourne from 10–20 October 2015.

View the full Festival program.