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Tackling the Urban Revolution: ABC Podcast

Posted in Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on October 13th, 2009

Source: Going Solar Transport Newsletter

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Image: ZeHawk via flickr CC

From “Tackling the Urban Revolution” on ABC Radio National

Urban sprawl is a very Australian phenomenon though opinion is divided on whether its a burden or a blessing.  Our cities spread ever outwards, turning farmland into suburbs without access to public transport but allowing new generations of Australians to afford a detached house and enjoy the privacy of their own back yard.

In 2002 the Victorian state government attempted to rein in urban sprawl with a plan called Melbourne 2030 – lines were drawn on a map – called urban growth boundaries – intended to contain the city and preserve green wedges. Infill development around transport hubs like railway stations was encouraged at the same time – to get the city grow upwards rather than outwards.

It didn’t work – six years later the plan was amended and the urban growth boundaries revised so the city could keep spreading.  It’s a local example of the dilemmas facing urban planners around the world as the great global migration from country to city continues.  Half the world’s population already is already urbanised – by 2040 the proportion will be two thirds – allowing for population growth that’s an additional 2 billion city dwellers in just thirty years.

Listen to Peter Mares in conversation with Jeb Brugmann, author of  “Welcome to the Urban Revolution – how cities are changing the world”

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