Sunday, October 24, 2010

Livable city has one quarter million people

The ADC Cities Report: Enhancing Liveability (Report part 1 and Report part 2) was released 22 October 2010 Australian Davos Connection. Anthony Albanese, Minister for Regional Development and Local Government made a speech at the launch.

The report suggests that cities of 250,000 to 300,000 people will have the benefits of scale and density. These cities can be relatively self contained parts of a larger whole:
"...entirely new cities can get built with 250,000 - 300,000 people as a meaningful goal, or parts of existing cities can be re-imagined around this sizing. Large conurbations of 250,000 - 300,000 person nodes can provide for a sense of spatial identity and boundary, while maintaining significant public open space such as forests between nodes, and allowing each node to contain many aspects of urbanity, such as theatres, sports teams and large parks and gardens within them."
Last week for the Canberra 2030 Planning Workshop, I suggested Canberra could triple its density and population to around 1 million people. Canberra has five town centres: Civic, Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Gungahlin, with public open space, including forests, between these nodes. So each of Canberra's town centres could be expanded to a population of 250,000, while retaining the green space.

Expansion of Canberra's population would allow rebalancing of the housing stock.
The ABS expects the average Austrlaian home to have only 2.2 to 2.3 people in it by 2021. Like much of Australia, Canberra has an excess of three bedroom, and larger, detached houses in low density suburbs. The city should therefore be expanded by building the needed studio apartments, plus one and two bedroom homes, at high density in the existing town centres. The new homes should have an average of of only one bedroom each: that is as many studio apartments should be built with no separate bedrooms, as two bedroom homes.

The new homes would require only a few square kilometres of land and could be built to a high environmental standard, lowering the city's ecological footprint. Each home could have solar water and space heating, low water use and low energy fittings.

Providing high density accommodation around the town centres would allow for efficient public transport. The new housing would be within walking distance of employment and high speed rapid transport between the town centres. The accommodation could be built quickly and efficiently using modular construction techniques.

Canberra's existing suburbs could be left largely unchanged, to provide a low density housing option for one third of Canberra's population. There is no financially or environmentally sustainable way to provide public transport to these suburbs. So those choosing to live in the suburbs would have to use private cars, with increasing fuel costs. But at least this would be choice these residents could make, knowing there is the option of a more sustainable high density inner city living. At present there is no option but a high cost high environmental impact suburban house for most Canberra residents.

ADC Cities Report: Enhancing Liveability Report

Edited by Anton Roux, ADC Forum and Professor John Stanley, The University of Sydney

Report part 1: 83 pages, (4.9Mbytes)
Chairman’s Foreword 01
About ADC Forum 04
ADC Cities Summit – Program Overview 07
Integrating the City
- Why cities? 13
- COAG action 19
- The ‘must haves’ 24
- Future Population, better cities 33
- Governance arrangements 42
- Urban design and retrofitting 44
- Concluding remarks 48
The Inclusive City
- Introduction 51
- Principles 51
- Vision 52
- Themes 52
- Concluding remarks 61
The Ecological City
- Introduction 63
- What is an ecologically resilient city? 67
- Key approaches for achieving an ecologically resilient city 67
- Setting targets 67
- The top ideas 72
The Accessible City
- Introduction 75
- Principles 75
- Enables and inhibitors 75
- Initiatives and recommendations 76
- Vision and planning 76
- Community consultation and engagement 77
- Funding 77
- Technology 78
- Research 78
- Governance 79
- Reducing demand for travel 79
- Infrastructure pricing 79
- Skills 80
- Concluding remarks
Report part 2 : 57 pages (3.9 Mbytes PDF).

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