Despite adopting the goal of creating medium-density neighbourhoods to end urban sprawl, our cities have struggled to achieve it. Confused debates about ‘good density’ are part of the problem.
Simply rezoning land for higher density is not enough to achieve the planning goal of transforming low-density and car-centric neighbourhoods into mixed-use and walkable neighbourhoods.
In parts of Sydney, families occupy half the apartments and many value their convenient location. Yet, despite a surge in development, most apartments are one or two bedrooms and not family-friendly.
Spontaneous and often temporary initiatives drove most of the early earthquake recovery in Christchurch, offering examples for many other cities facing hazards and climate risks.
Laneway suites could increase rental stock in established neighbourhoods without affecting their character. Toronto has lagged behind other cities in Canada and North America.
Brisbane City wants to preserve backyards, but they account for much of the open space lost to development under policies that also aim to increase housing density in existing urban areas.
Proposals to improve the capital’s urban design and density must also take account of the city’s unique streetscapes.
Lowering urban density to protect against the coronavirus would be a misguided response. Density is not a key driver of infection, and keeps people active and healthy.
Before the pandemic, the country was making great strides towards creating more compact, sustainable and liveable cities.
The internal density and layout of buildings are key factors in COVID-19 transmission risk. This is not an argument against high-density cities, some of which have successfully contained the virus.
Many are speculating about the pandemic changing how we plan and use our cities. What they overlook is how many people live in unplanned settlements where it’s more likely to be business as usual.
The rise of global cities, metropolises that dominate their states, is exposing Australia’s lack of metropolitan governments. It’s time to restart the evolution of our states after a century on hold.
Only the inner suburbs of Melbourne and other capital cities meet the 20-minute neighbourhood test. But we could transform the other suburbs for much less than the cost of current transport projects.
The neighbourhoods of Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam with densities 3-5 times those of Melbourne and Sydney offer an insight into how we could transform our cities for the better.
While a majority of householders over 55 have thought about downsizing, only one in four have done it. What’s stopping them? Most simply can’t find a home in the right place that meets their needs.
Residents of the ‘leafy suburbs’ will continue to fear what they might lose to increasing urban density without an explicit planning approach that enhances green space in affected neighbourhoods.
The demands on land and resources from our fast-growing cities are unsustainable, as are the wastes they produce. Yet still our leaders act as if unlimited growth is possible.
Australians’ need for smaller and more diverse dwellings is growing. The planning system is not providing enough of this housing, and self-serving opposition to it should be resisted.
State and local governments can’t do much about the rapid population growth in Melbourne, but they can take steps to reduce the costs of growing disparities between the outer suburbs and inner city.
Governments should stop offering false hopes and pandering to NIMBY pressures. As well as increased public and private housing supply, growing cities need well-designed higher-density development.