Urban design and solid business planning come together for the future of Thames Thamesopoly—an interactive game version of urban planning—kicked off the Thames Focus Group's first major step in the re-examination of the future of Thames. People with a passion for Thames packed the conference room at the Thames Civic Centre on Saturday 10 November to work with Internationally acclaimed Urban Designer Chris Moller. (Download a high resolution version of the picture here. (JPG, 2MB) We interviewed Chris Moller during the workshop. Feel free to listen to Chris answer our questions here: Chris on the turnout (MP3 491 KB) Chris explains the Thamesopoly concept (MP3 1.3 MB) Chris on the most challenging aspects of Thamesopoly (MP3 872 KB) Chris talks about what's next (MP3 725 KB) Bonus: Cranleigh's Michele Berry briefly shares her observations about the workshop. (MP3 2.3 MB) Moller's Thamesopoly approach, using aerial photographs of Thames and teams set up with parts of the town, led to fascinating shared ideas from water-propelled trams taking walkers and cyclists up to the hills, to smarter uses of shared spaces. Chris Moller has worked in Architecture and Urban Design in New Zealand, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the Netherlands. He was Senior Urbanist for the city of Groningen from 1995 to 2003 and was responsible for major masterplan developments at Europapark with Wiel Arets, Central Station with KCAP, and Arts/Architecture Manifesation Blue Moon festival with Toyo Ito. Chris is also the winner of numerous international awards and competitions including Gallipoli Peace Park, Samarkand Regeneration, Tallinn Aquarium, and Grenoble Ville du Foret. Now, he has sets his sights firmly on Thames and launched the project with the first stage in the evolution of the town: Thamesopoly—an interactive game using an aerial photo of Thames as the game board. “The game is an ideas engine that searches for common ground on which any future development could be based,” explains Thames Area Manager Greg Hampton. “We have all been waiting to unlock the potential of Thames, and now we have the opportunity.” Thames Focus Group is a formal subcommittee of the Thames Community Board and has a mandate to bring together past community input, heritage, inspirational urban design and realistic business planning to produce a strategy for the future of Thames. What makes this process unique is a dual focus on economic development and urban design. This means viable and achievable action plans with leading corporate finance and strategic advisory firm Cranleigh developing the business plan alongside Moller. Cranleigh advised DB Breweries on the sale of Liquorland to Foodstuffs New Zealand, advised SecurePay, a leading Australian payments technology company, on its position as substantial shareholder and executive in the successful sale of the company to Australia Post, and provided advice to Auckland DHBs to solve delivery, contract and performance issues. Cranleigh is now working with Thames Focus Group to make sure the final vision for Thames will be able to be achieved within the existing windows of opportunity provided under the direction of the Thames Community Board. The next step in the process will see experienced business consultants, Cranleigh, head the business planning part of the project.