Kavya was one of seven University of Sydney students shortlisted by the Scholarship Selection Committee for their visionary ideas to overcome the obstacles facing Sydney’s future.
The first-year Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws student was named the 2018 Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation Scholar last night at the Bradfield Oration attended by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Scott Morrison, NSW Premier, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, and more than 200 leaders of business, government and infrastructure.
In awarding the scholarship, Lendlease Chief Executive Officer of Property Australia Kylie Rampa said Kavya had developed “an approach requiring us to rethink our relationship to the built environment – where buildings not only provide shelter but one where their role in creating broader social and cultural ecosystems is also considered.”
Ms Rampa, who was a member of the Selection Committee this year, noted how impressed Lendlease was with the students’ applications and presentations and announced that 2018 scholarship finalists James McLarty (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Project Management) and Henry Nelson (Bachelor of International and Global Studies) would be offered internships at Lendlease.
“For someone like myself who spends a lot of time working on the very same problems that occupied our Bradfield contenders, I was blown away by the quality of their work and the intellectual depth on display,” she said.
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence added: “To all the shortlisted applicants, sincere congratulations. We are exceptionally proud of your outstanding presentations and achievements. Your vison for a better Sydney allows us to feel confident that our city’s future is in good hands,” he said.
Student visions for future Sydney.
In her acceptance speech, Kavya drew parallels between Sydney and her birthplace, New Delhi, India. Kavya is a relatively recent addition to Sydney, having migrated to Australia only four years ago.
“Delhi is a city rife with the same problems that we anticipate for Sydney. Traffic congestion and pollution are everyday issues, with tangible effects for citizens. But, at the same time, there are places where culture thrives and the city creates opportunities for its people to interact – you see, sometimes when things are crammed, there’s this unusual outcome of closer social relations because physical proximity makes it literally impossible for one to escape their neighbour,” she said.
“My proposal isn’t to turn Sydney into a crammed neighbourhood, if that’s what you anticipated. Indeed, there is much to be said of the great work by city planners to create a more liveable and sustainable city. My vision for Sydney is one in which it’s not just these things, but something more – a city that is actively involved in ‘relationship building’; a city that has inclusive living spaces that foster meaningful social relationships.”
Inspired by the work of American architect Jeanne Gang, Kavya proposed introducing design modifications to high-rise residential buildings allowing for healthier and more socially-cohesive environments which included curved balconies that allow interactions between neighbours and ‘balcyards’ – balconies that cover grassed areas.
The second part to Kavya’s concept was the construction of ‘micropolises’ across Central and Western Sydney – multi-use areas that consist of residential high-rises, vertical farms, community centres and commercial and public-services buildings within a 2-3km radius. A key feature of the ‘micropolis’ are low speed internal roads, of around 15 km/h, which direct mainstream traffic to external arterial roads. The idea behind this is to make streets safer for walking and cycling and encourage greater outdoor activity.
Kavya also said that meeting students from other faculties with similar interests was a highlight of the experience.
“I truly believe that each of my fellow finalists had a fantastic vision for Sydney’s future and it is my dearest hope that someday all of us, together, are involved in the actualisation of our individual visions for a brighter future for Sydney,” she said.
Like stacking and removing books from a bookshelf, modular apartments and an underground modular network of electric vehicles are the centrepiece of Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation Scholar Caleb Niethe's vision for Sydney.