Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making Canberra a Sustainable Garden City

Simon Corbell MLA, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, will be speak on "Creating a Sustainable Garden City at the University of Canberra, 5.30pm, 24 October 2011.

In my view the Minister's aim for a sustainable garden city is not feasible. Instead Canberra needs to have a higher population density, and more urban, to be a more sustainable. The "garden city" idea, being one of low density suburbs of detached houses is not economically or environmentally feasible. For the planning process I suggested the population of Canberra be tripled to 1 Million, by building up the density around the existing city and town centers. The existing suburbs can be left much as they are, but no more should be developed, and those living in the "garden" suburbs will have to pay the full cost of that lifestyle, without a subsidy from inner-city residents.

Here is the Minister's talk announcement:
Canberra Urban and Regional Futures Seminar “Creating a Sustainable Garden City” Simon Corbell MLA
Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services
5.30-7pm, Monday 24 October 2011
Ann Harding Conference Centre, Building 24, University Drive South, University of Canberra

The design legacy of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony fits well with the adoption of higher density urban environments, yet are there benefits and opportunities presented by the polycentric nature of our Garden City? Can the Garden City be sustainable? What is the role of existing and new suburban development? And how can sustainability be achieved in a relatively low density, dispersed city like Canberra?

Population growth and climate change are key challenges for the future development of the National Capital. Growth to 500,000 people by 2040 and a doubling of transport journeys present our city with major challenges. How does the urban structure of Canberra help or hinder our response to these challenges?

In this talk the ACT’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell MLA, will outline how the ACT Government is answering some of these questions. The future direction of the ACT’s planning, transport and climate change policies will be discussed in the context of the built environment and transport provision. The talk will also examine how other policy settings can exploit the strengths and advantages of Canberra’s urban structure to move towards a more sustainable city, with issues such as water, energy and food security and housing affordability also considered.

Simon Corbell MLA is a Labor Member for Molonglo and was first elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 1997. Simon has held the Attorney General and Minister for Police and Emergency Services portfolios since 2006 and was appointed to the new portfolios of Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services in 2011.
Simon has a strong interest in sustainable development policy and integrated transport and land use planning. The creation of the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate brings together strategic and land use planning, transport planning and development control with environment, climate change, energy and water policy. As the responsible Minister Simon is driving the development of policy and planning frameworks to position Canberra as a sustainable city. As Minister for Planning from 2001-2007 he was responsible for the development of the ACT's strategic planning framework, the re-introduction of public sector land development and the development of new urban centres in Gungahlin and Kingston Foreshore. Simon is also responsible for the establishment of policies to drive the development of Canberra as Australia's Solar Capital.

For more information or to register for this event, contact:

Tracy Jin Cui
Canberra Urban and Regional Futures
University of Canberra
Tel: 02-6201 2018


Pascal Vuylsteker said...

The great thing about Canberra is that there is not too many people. No traffic jam !

That is a dream city.
You really don't want to triple its population !

If you really want too, you would have to develop a fully new public transport system, ideally automatic, and therefore rail based, and reaching all suburbs too. It was there in the initial planning of the city. But that could cost a lot !

michael_in_adelaide said...

Idiots who push increased population for cities forget that cities must be FED and that food production, processing and distribution requires ENERGY and other declining resources such as PHOSPHATE. Food production will be our greatest challenge this century and adding more food consumers to a city on the bizarre assumption that this will somehow increase energy efficency is just insane. It is the TOTAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION that is critical in this finite world. Future populations must be in the proximity of their food-growing land so that food can be grown and distributed using local labour (low energy instead of machinery) and wastes can be recycled back to the land also without large energy inputs (thus allowing recapture and reuse of essential nutrients such as phosphate). The idea that 1 million Canberrans can somehow live with less impact and energy than Canberra's current population while maintaining a similar quality of life is a simply ridiculous notion.

Tom Worthington said...

michael_in_adelaide said October 24, 2011 2:32 PM:

>... The idea that 1 million Canberrans can somehow live with less impact and energy than Canberra's current population while maintaining a similar quality of life is a simply ridiculous notion ...

Just to explain, I was proposing that Canberra's population be increased without increasing the amount of land used. I suggest this is better than the alternative, which is land currently used for primary production being converted to suburbs.

A well designed urban development will use less energy, water and other resources, than a less dense suburban development. There will then be more land for food production and other uses.