IT HAS transported more than seven million passengers since the middle of last year, and now the $1.2 billion Gold Coast light rail system has been given the gong as a city-making urban initiative.
The light rail has been granted the Helen Josephson Award for Urban Design Leadership in the 2015 Gold Coast Urban Design Awards, with judges describing it as a 'leading catalyst project'.
The vital infrastructure, which created three years of economic and logistical havoc for the city during construction, has been named ahead of the Gold Coast's new Chinatown precinct and the Capri on Via Roma lifestyle retail development on Isle of Capri.
Judges have recognised the light rail for its 'innovative urban design and enrichment to the public realm'.
They say that apart from providing high quality transport infrastructure it is making an indelible contribution to the city's social, economic and environmental landscape.
The Gold Coast Urban Design Awards were established in 1998 to recognise design, liveability and sustainability in the city's built environment.
"Our urban design and architecture is world-class and our iconic skyline is internationally recognised," says Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.
"These awards are another way we're fostering the development of buildings and places which reinforce local identity and support social diversity and cultural expression.
"There has been a huge resurgence in building and development in our city recently and we've seen this fresh energy represented in the entries for this year's competition."
Both Chinatown and Capri on Via Roma received commendations in this year's awards.
The judges acknowledged Chinatown for its high quality streetscape design that they say 'provides an authentic experience and is reflective of cultural considerations and tradition'.
"The design imbues an active and visually attractive pedestrian environment with street trees and quality finishes, and enhances the opportunities for outdoor dining and the flexibility of accommodating large events and special activities that will facilitate the ongoing growth of Chinatown," the judges say.
Capri on Via Roma, developed by Sydney's Harvey family, has been commended for its adaptive reuse and extension of an existing commercial centre.
The site has revived the ageing Isle of Capri Commercial Centre, transforming it into a vibrant tourism and lifestyle destination.
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