15 March 2011

UQ staff and students are taking part in a new initiative to gather creative ideas on how the people of Brisbane can plan for and respond to natural disasters in the future.

The Flood of Ideas website allows the community to upload and comment on flood response ideas, with workshops and a public exhibition of the ideas to follow in April.

Flooding occurred in many areas of Queensland during late December 2010 and early January 2011, with three-quarters of the state declared a disaster zone.

By collecting and documenting ideas and responses to the flood, the Flood of Ideas project aims to ensure that future generations will reap the benefits of the community’s past flood experiences.

President of the Australian Institute of Architects and Associate Professor at UQ's School of Architecture, Peter Skinner, said the Flood of Ideas project was a great way to tap into ideas held by the community and to share knowledge.

"I started studying architecture at UQ in February 1974, and our first assignment was to survey flood damage to houses in Graceville and Chelmer – it left a strong impression of the power of nature," Mr Skinner said.

"Following the 1974 floods, as a community we learnt a lot and initiated some important changes to better prepare us for future floods, though unfortunately it would now appear that we also forgot a lot over the following 36 years.

"The Flood of Ideas project aims to allow everyone to take part in a conversation that might help us be better prepared for future floods."

Manager of the Healthy Waterways Water by Design Program, Alan Hoban, said the project would benefit both local governments and local communities.

"This will be a fantastic resource that will help local governments and the Reconstruction Authority to access the wisdom of the community," Mr Hoban said.

"It might be an infrastructure solution, a new building design, a policy idea, or a way we can address the emotional fallout.

"Whatever your idea, we want to hear and see it."

Over the next month, UQ architecture students will be contributing to the Flood of Ideas, and project partners will be hosting their own idea generating activities.

UQ School of Architecture staff, Dr Marci Webster-Mannison and Michael Dickson, will be using the Flood of Ideas project to prompt creative flood-sensitive urban design projects from their Masters of Architecture students.

Flood of Ideas is an initiative of Healthy Waterways and the State Library of Queensland, and supporting partners including Brisbane City Council, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Australian Institute of Architects, Green Cross Australia and the Stormwater Industry Association.

Media: Alan Hoban, Manager – Water by Design, Healthy Waterways 0400 742 836;
Associate Professor Peter Skinner, School of Architecture 0421 456 526 or p.skinner@uq.edu.au or Madelene Flanagan at m.flanagan@uq.edu.au.