‘Urban Sprawl is Over’ – Should it be?

Jan 16
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Australia’s population is projected to hit 37 million people by 2050, with Sydney, Melbourne and Perth expected to double in size as the population expands.

In Sydney for example, the Government’s “Plan for Growing Sydney” says an extra 664,000 new dwellings will be needed in metropolitan Sydney by 2031, to house a population that will have grown by more than 1.6 million people.

With Rob Stokes, NSW Planning Minister, recently stating that ‘urban sprawl is over’ –

  • Where do we house this growing population?
  • What are the pros and cons of lower density urban sprawl versus higher density city living?

Urban sprawl could create near-permanent gridlock

A recent study by the Australian Council of Learned Academies – Delivering Sustainable Urban Mobility – strongly supports the case for higher density living. It has found that unless governments change their approach to planning, urban sprawl could create cities in a near-permanent state of gridlock, with high pollution and isolated populations.

“Urban planning and design should concentrate on how to bring people and places together. This can be achieved through a focus on accessibility, rather than simply increasing the length of urban transport infrastructure or increasing the movement of people or goods.”

With a Federal Government focus supporting city productivity and liveability, many local councils within our major cities are facing major urban transformations. The goal is to create more people living and working within local areas, to reduce urban sprawl and increase quality of living.

But there are significant challenges to face before achieving this, including:

  • Housing affordability
  • Community impact
  • Quality of developments
  • Employment land pressures
  • Infrastructure and transport

Planning and design theories and practices continue to evolve around this issue. What is the right solution for our future communities? What are the latest trends we can learn from?

The Higher Density Living conference, taking place in Melbourne this May, will explore strategies for making medium and high densities affordable, desirable and sustainable. Book soon to secure your place!

Higher Density 17

Submitted by Josephine O’Brien

Josephine O'Brien

Josephine is a conference producer with Criterion.

One thought on “‘Urban Sprawl is Over’ – Should it be?

  1. Low building densities and heights is considering one of the elements that expresses the beauty of the city. So, I don’t think higher density living is always the better solution for the urban planning .

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