When I arrived in Queensland's capital in 1996, Brisbane was commonly referred to as an 'overgrown country town'. This might have been an acceptable description in the 1990s, but it cannot be applied any longer. Brisbane, affectionaly referred to by the locals as Bris-Vegas, has now come of age.\ud Following Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is the third most populous city in Australia with a population of approximately two million. Interestingly, the 2006 Census showed that 22 per cent of Brisbane's population was born overseas, the three main countries of birth being the UK, New Zealand and South Africa.\ud Brisbane City is centred on its most dominant environmental element, the Brisbane River, which effectively carves Brisbane into two areas - the Northside and the Southside. The 2001 addition of Cox Rayner's Goodwill Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge signified Brisbane's acceptance and affectionate embrace of its River resulting in a long overdue linage between Brisbane's North and South. It connects the City's key precincts - the Northside CBD through Queensland University of Technology (QUT), across Brisbane River, to the recreational precinct of the Southside Southbank Parklands. The Southside cultural precinct of Southbank is the home to Queensland's Art Gallery, Performing Arts Complex, State Library and Museum -each of which were designed by Brisbane Stalwart Architect Robin Gibson, in the 1970s and '80s. The CBD component of the Brisbane River is flanked by a number of Institutional Facilities, including the campuses of QUT, Griffith University and the Southbank Education and Training Precinct (SETP), which combine to form a cross-river educational precinct.\ud The past decade has born witness to a city which has keenly supported emerging architects in addition to the more entrenched stalwarts of the profession, resulting in a youthful, relaxed and unpretentious sub-tropical city. Viva Bris-Vegas
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