important decisions must be made today for urban greening programs to succeed in a warmer world.
The pandemic has accelerated some urban trends and reversed others, while focusing attention on the vulnerabilities of cities. The old planning certainties will have to be revisited.
Three big firms win almost all the $1 billion-plus contracts. And they often team up in joint ventures, further reducing the competition that would keep the price tags of road and rail projects down.
A review of all public road and rail projects worth $20 million or more and completed since 2001 reveals a 21% cost overrun. Worryingly, costs of bigger projects blew out more often and by more.
The states are primarily responsible for providing infrastructure, but lack the budgets, especially since the pandemic hit revenues. Making up the shortfall depends very much on the Commonwealth.
What was once the stuff of urban legends now spreads virally through social media claims the tunnels beneath our cities are used for child trafficking. The truth is both more mundane and important.
Investing more in cycling and walking would boost both physical and economic health, with a typical return of $5 for every $1 spent on cycling infrastructure.
As well as an infrastructure spending boost, governments are fast-tracking approvals. But these processes exist for a reason. If we get projects wrong, we live with the consequences for decades.
Smaller projects are better for delivering broad, long-term value to communities across the country, reducing inequality and cutting emissions, as well as quickly providing jobs and economic stimulus.
After the ‘world’s biggest work-from-home experiment’, many people (and their employers) might decide they needn’t commute every day. If even a fraction do that, infrastructure needs will change.
States across Australia are increasingly using market-led proposals to build infrastructure. The emerging problems reflect the inherent risks of projects that bypass proper public planning processes.
Whether you like or hate them, the way transport operates in cities needs to change.
Overseas, city-shaping mega-projects are generally overseen by local government, but in Australia state governments often step in and exclude council and community representatives from the process.
Unsolicited market proposals are not transparently assessed. Infrastructure should be built to serve the public interest, not shaped by its private backers, but the checks to ensure this are broken.
The new payphones have Wi-Fi, mobile charging and transport information. But city councils are concerned they’re digital billboards for Telstra, which could cost billions in lost productivity.
The more people come to a city, the more demand for buildings is amplified.This demand creates pressure from which a range of agencies, motivations and causes arise.
Companies have an opportunity to reframe brand communications from the promotion of conspicuous consumption to becoming a regenerative force in urban economies.
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.
The major parties are promising tens of billions of dollars in transport spending, but only a handful of projects are on Infrastructure Australia’s national priority list with approved business cases.
The major parties are promising projects costing tens of billions of dollars, with a surprisingly large overlap between them. Yet only two have been endorsed by infrastructure authorities.