Introducing HASSELL Principal: Richard Mullane
By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities. And nowhere is this urban migration happening faster than in China.
Recently promoted HASSELL Principal Richard Mullane is on the front line of this shift. He and his Shanghai-based team are helping some of China’s largest cities develop urban strategies to accommodate their rapidly growing populations and make them more connected, enjoyable and prosperous places for people.
“Urban migration in China is outpacing any other population shift in modern history,” said Richard. “In a very small space of time, China has moved from a rural society to an urban one.
“As an urban designer based in Shanghai, I am interested in the reasons behind this shift, but also in making sure cities are able to accommodate it in a sustainable way.
“Many cities around the world - and particularly in China - have been built around their major economic drivers. A large part of our work is to help clients address this and incorporate the additional layers that make cities great places to live.
“It’s about understanding the history and culture of a place, the lifestyle and aspirations of the people that live there and the natural systems that have influenced the landscape. Our role as an integrated design team is to stitch all these elements together into a narrative that helps shape the region’s future.”
“A large part of this is consultation and engagement to give urban residents a stake in shaping their own city,” said Richard.
Richard has worked on a number of high profile infrastructure and urban regeneration projects in China including the Qianhai Metro Rail project currently underway in Shenzhen. The project will deliver eight new underground metro stations that integrate seamlessly into the surrounding mixed-use sites and a broader sub-surface pedestrian network.
Richard has also been involved in a variety of international projects that are shaping cities outside China, including Korea, Australia, and the United Kingdom. One such example is the reimagining of a dilapidated one-kilometer mall - Seunsangga Citywalk - in the heart of Seoul.
“The global team drew on experience from across the practice to deliver a highly imaginative concept that turned an urban relic from something which divided the city into something that stitched it back together,” says Richard.
Other global focuses for Richard include the urban revitalisation of the City of Newcastle in Australia and a master plan that is unifying the five disparate campuses of the University of Brighton in the UK, shaping a new era for the university’s students and staff.
Looking to the future, Richard believes strongly that policymakers, planners and key decision makers need to make cities a priority.
“Good design is critical to ensuring cities remain competitive and offer a high quality of life for the people that live there. We have an opportunity to shape them, but we need to act now to address growing complexity and ensure a long-term and sustainable future.”
Take a further look into the changes facing China and view a video featuring Richard Mullane here.
—Read more articles for November 2015
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