“The Future Of…” series asks a variety of UOW experts and researchers the same questions, to provide insight into the potential future states of our lives, communities and world.

Dr Cole Hendrigan is a Research Fellow with SMART at the University of Wollongong. He has expertise in human-scaled public-realm design and active transport practice as a Landscape Architect. He has also led public participation decision-making in diverse rural and urban settings with indigenous, newcomer communities and advocates while working in local governments.

1. What are you researching or working on in 2019/2020? 

The urban qualities, present by design, which make a place likeable, memorable, socially lively, and active. ​  How much of what is where, and how does that compare to other places in our cities and overseas best case examples. This includes transport options, transport supply, footpaths and cycle tracks, parks, schools, and plazas.  

2. In regards to your field of research what are some of the most innovative or exciting things emerging over the next few years? 

Using data to measure the positive impacts of making the cities we are building more comfortable with parks, benches, wider footpaths, safer crossings, and street trees ; more equitable for all ages and abilities (AAA); more responsive to all means (modes) of transport (such as walking, cycling and better transit access) and dense enough to support the various private retail and food services that make a suburb truly great to live in.   

Green Square Development
Green Square development: Australia’s largest urban renewal project. Image courtesy of Mark Merton sydneyimages.com.au

3. In your field of research what are some of the things readers should be cautious/wary of over the next few years? 

I am slowly compiling an atlas of urbanism, the data from which will inform several on-line platforms for teaching, learning, scenario testing and game creation.   

4. Where do you believe major opportunities lie for people thinking about future career options? 

Matching digital technology with physical and the social. Skills in computer coding or calculations are necessary, but so is a profound understanding of how things get built (concrete/rebar/glass) and why (for people).  

5. What is the best piece of advice you could offer to our readers?

Go see the world and meet people from outside your culture or professional domain.