Author Archives: Liveable Cities Editor

Dr Michael Kane, Direct Urban Economic and Integrated Transport for Economic Development Queensland will be joining us at this year’s Making Cities Liveable Conference to discuss “Rethinking the urban transport continuum: A policy and infrastructure approach for liveable and functional 21st century cities”.

Cities that are both liveable and functional, it is argued, are where personal mobility for work, education and social purposes are efficient for people in terms of resource allocation (time and money) and where urban amenity is enriched.

Dr Michael Kane

Increasing rates of urbanisation, the growth of larger and denser cities and increases in complexity and size of labour markets means that the liveability and functionality of cities is under increasing and continued pressure. Cities benefit from larger labour markets and continue to grow where the agglomeration benefits outweigh the dis-agglomeration dis-benefits.

In well managed cities, the agglomeration benefit margin is high creating liveability and functionality. In poorly managed cities, the benefit is marginal creating liveability and functionality complaints and issues. Liveability and functionality can therefore be seen as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for the overall performance of cities.

The traditional urban transport policy and infrastructure focus has been vehicle/capacity centric and not people centric. There is repeated talk about ‘congestion busting’ strategies, yet a failure to deliver strategic solutions that address the underlying liveability and functionality requirements of increasingly larger and denser cities. This approach leads to infrastructure and policy failures which result in misallocation of scarce resources. This in turn places further pressure on the liveability and functionality of our growing cities.

This paper proposes a new people-centric way of understanding urban transport through recognition that all modes across the urban transport continuum – from active transport in local neighbourhoods to motorway planning – are being impacted by a series of intensifications. These intensifications are: time or social acceleration, economic activity or agglomeration, knowledge intensification in human capital and ICT, and spatial characteristics of transport.

To achieve increased liveability and functionality urban transport planning across the transport continuum needs to be rethought in the context of these intensifications. This paper proposes a set of urban transport principles that seek to provide a new people-centric approach to urban transport planning.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

The conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017. Find out more here.

Ms Tracy Dobie, Mayor at Southern Downs Regional Council joins us at this year’s Making Cities Liveable Conference to discussShaping the Southern Downs: a rurban council”.

After the amalgamation of Shire Councils in Queensland in 2008 some Local Government Areas forged ahead immediately, others have taken longer.  The Southern Downs Region combined the agricultural, livestock, transport and logistics region of the Warwick District with the horticultural and tourism region of the Stanthorpe District.

Tracy Dobie

Nine years on, having come through a prolonged amalgamation process it is time for the Southern Downs to showcase itself as a liveable regional hub.  With the Queensland Government forecasting that South East Queensland will receive more than 2 million new residents over the next 25 years, Southern Downs has a role to play in accommodating the emerging communities and new businesses and has the capacity to further increase primary production to meet the needs of the expanding South East Queensland economy.

The region is entering a period of sustained growth in relation to employment and investment, with much of this activity being supported through continued interest in the agribusiness and food processing sectors, as well as retail and aged care.

The management of this next stage is crucial. The region needs to retain the liveability and tourism benefits of being rural while at the same time embracing and assisting the development of a growing business-based urban economy.  Shaping Southern Downs will be the plan to guide this future growth.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out more here

The 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference is fast approaching, held from 10 – 11 July 2017 at Hotel Grand Chancellor, Brisbane

This year we welcome Ms Josephine Raftery, Principal Planner for Toowoomba Regional Council, who will be presenting “Liveability, lifestyle and choice in Toowoomba”.

Josephine Raftery

Toowoomba is one of Australia’s smallest cities, on a national population ranking it comes in at 16th.  On a global ranking it would not register and yet the little city is starting to get increasing levels of attention for being a highly desirable place to live.

Toowoomba’s desirability is built on a number of key factors.

Unlike unsustainable boom towns, the growth of Toowoomba is steady and based on a diverse economic base.  While it has always been a key regional centre connecting the rich agricultural land of the Darling Downs to the economic coastal cluster of South East Queensland, it is relatively new on the city stage and is both revelling in and worrying in the spotlight.

Recent and planned improvements through major infrastructure investment will see economic growth continue if not accelerate into the future. The side effects of economic investment in Toowoomba has been a revitalisation of the CBD, an increase in building approvals, and a greater level of complexity in city planning and community engagement.

The community of Toowoomba is changing and residents are concerned that it will impact on liveability.  Toowoomba Regional Council has undertaken community visioning to inform growth management and local planning.  When asked about what they love about their city the community rates ‘lifestyle’ as highly important. Lifestyle is the way we choose to live. Liveability is focussed how well the places where we live support the quality of our lives.

The successful management of growth in regional centres as they transition from town to city is contingent on good planning including good listening.  What works in a big city might not work locally. The measure of success should be locally relevant even as we compare ourselves to other cities through indices of liveability.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Register for this year’s Conference here.

Join us for the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference, held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017.

Ms Carley Scott, CEO of Developing East Arnhem Limited will be attending this year’s conference, discussing “Towns in transition: From policy to practice, and success”.

Carley Scott

In 2014, the township of Nhulunbuy was facing a halving of its population following the suspension of production at the Gove alumina refinery. Mining was facing a downturn, and so too were many mining and manufacturing towns across Australia. The story of towns in transition is all too common, but, stories of integrated efforts and innovative approaches that address transition challenges are much rarer.

In this presentation, Carley Scott (CEO of Developing East Arnhem) will share stories about the strategic approaches that have shaped one town’s future against all odds. They are stories of innovation, collaboration, and measurable outcomes that are now influencing the way that governments and industry across Australia, and internationally, are approaching planning for towns in transition.

Following considerable efforts by government, industry and the local community to understand what opportunities and challenges may lay ahead, all groups agreed that an independent company would be well placed in identifying, and driving desperately needed economic development opportunities for the region. In November 2014, Developing East Arnhem Limited was established with $4M in total seed funding Rio Tinto and the Northern Territory Government, and a commitment of up to 250 Rio Tinto housing assets to support the company ongoing. The structure was going to be a first, with autonomy to make tough decisions and focus on priority projects that would help the region grow.

In 24 months, entity made over $1M cash available to local business growth projects, attracted new start-up ventures, supported outreach to over 35 Indigenous entrepreneurs, commenced discussions on 20 major projects worth over $200M, advocated for adjusted research methods that could be applied across Northern Australia, and, supported the growth of over 230 jobs in the region.  It’s a story with significant, measurable outcomes, and a one that is worth sharing as government and industry continue to work on delivering increasingly liveable, resilient and sustainable towns across Australia.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Find out more about this year’s conference here.

By Bernard Salt

During the past month I have looked at the future of Sydney and Melbourne as the behemoth cities of Australia. I also have considered the outlook for Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. The common denominator of these cities is the story of growth and development.

Melbourne is flipping from east to west. Sydney is reconfiguring to a Dallas Fort-Worth model with second and even third CBDs “out west”. Brisbane is assuming the culture and style of Sydney and Melbourne. Adelaide is searching for economic drivers. And Perth steadfastly refuses to let go of its outward expansion. Every city has its nuances. Every city is different.

Population growth

Last 15 years and next 15 years

Which brings me to the next tier of Australian cities: the Gold Coast (2016 population 638,000), Newcastle (439,000), Canberra (429,000) and the Sunshine Coast (327,000). These four cities are the sixth to ninth largest on the continent and likely to remain so for another generation. Collectively these cities contain 1.8 million people, or 8 per cent of the Australian population.

The three largest of these cities are inextricably linked to capital cities to the extent that it could be argued they are functionally co-dependent. Intercity commuter flows connect the two Queensland “coasts” with Brisbane. Newcastle is less connected to Sydney by commuting but the city’s growth nevertheless benefits from a Sydney overspill factor: people escaping the pressures and costs of Sydney living. Canberra, it could be argued, is a cultural outpost of Sydney and Melbourne.

Population development over time

The four cities may be linked by scale but they are very different. The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are lifestyle cities formed in the late 20th century by the fusion of existing seaside villages. These cities exist because Australians wanted retirement destinations in the Floridian style, although more recently both cities have trans­formed into proudly independent models with greater job depth and better connectivity to cities beyond Brisbane.

This article was originally published by The Australian.

Click here to read the entire article.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is a platform for government, academic and industry professionals to discuss public health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design, biosecurity and more.

Ms Tara McGready of Byron Shire Council will be attending this year’s conference to discuss “Beauty, innovation and activation: place making Byron-style”.

The Byron Bay Town Centre Place Making Seed Fund sought input from creatives living in Byron Shire with a capacity to transform underutilised public spaces into connected, inviting, productive and safe places that showcase the authenticity of this iconic town.

Council budgeted for the Place Making Seed Fund in December 2015 with revenue from footpath dining reserve leases and developer contributions collected for the purposes of civic improvements including public art.

The Place Making Seed Fund allowed Council to leverage public dollars through criteria to attract community collaboration, grants and sponsorship; match-funding requirements enabled a higher return on investment through grant, sponsorship or in-kind funds and harnessed creative capability within the Shire to strengthen community relationships.

The Place Making Seed Fund maximises the impact of the Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan implementation that has a focus on place making as a key driver of outcomes and strategies, identified through community engagement.

A collaborative platform that has initiated activation of precincts and lane ways; the Place Making Seed Fund has funded four projects that create animation, vitality, and a real ‘buzz’, including creative influences that cater for young and co-generational, lane way activation, pop-up events, pavement treatments and public art installations.

Innovative activation projects which incubate local business, reflect the culture of the community and create a buzz in the town centre, including events that provide an alternate night-time economy.

Our key outcomes:

Beautification projects that inspire the use of underutilised and inactive spaces.

Attraction of new visitor markets through innovative and interesting activation and improved town amenity.

Community participation and engagement throughout the planning, design, management and programming of inactive spaces, such as lane ways, shared zones, streets, parks and reserves has maximised shared value.

Register to join our 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference on 10-11th July at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Click here for more information.

Mr Martin Lambert, President of Parks and Leisure Australia will be at this year’s conference, presenting “10 great ideas for an active Australia”.

Martin Lambert

Parks and Leisure Australia is the industry peak body for parks, sport and recreation. We have a network of professionals and academics which help the organisation develop research objectives and advocacy positions. As ‘the people behind the places’, our members and our industry recognise the importance of investing in the future health of Australians by not only encouraging them to be active, but ensuring the urban environment is one which enables activity.

We believe this is an argument of economics, investment brings returns and nowhere is the need greater than investing to reduce future costs of health. If health budgets are only considered in the context of treating illness and injury then they will continue to grow unsustainably. New thinking is

needed and all urban policy, infrastructure spending and other investment should be considered in the context of the health dividend that is returned.

This presentation focuses on 10 great ideas to get Australians active and improve the social, economic and physical health of our communities.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017. 

Mrs Sue Wiblin, General Manager of Mobility Services for NRMA will be attending this year’s conference, discussing the topic of“Creating connected places through integrated shared mobility”.

Infrastructure Australia recently reported that eight of the nine most congested corridors in Australia are roads in NSW.  Congestions costs billions of dollars every year and people are spending more time in traffic and less time with family or in productive work.   As the population grows, particularly in suburban areas, congestion will also increase.

Major arterial corridors will become more congested but local roads will also struggle to cope with more and more people driving to transport nodes and motorway access points.  In the peak, the increase in local traffic will increase travel times for everyone including parents dropping children at school and people commuting to work within the local area.  Communities will become less connected and less liveable.

Public transport is the most efficient mode for moving large numbers of people across cities and connecting more people into transport nodes and nearby destinations using shared mobility services is a key factor in addressing congestion both at a micro and macro level.

The NRMA is developing a new type of mobility service to help address congestion.   Micro-transit is a high frequency, technology enabled shared mobility service that provides some of the convenience of driving alone while at the same time enhancing the convenience of public transport.  Over time, NRMA believe this type of service could reduce road congestion by taking cars off the road and increasing the accessibility and convenience of public transport.

The presentation will review micro-transit programs at Macquarie Park and Sydney Olympic Park.  The pilots are being developed with a range of stakeholders and aim to reduce car usage and create connected and sustainable places for residents, employees, employers, students and visitors.  More, the presentation will discuss how this collaborative approach to integrated shared mobility services could deliver social and economic outcomes in precincts across Australia.

Mr David Matthew Taylor, Director of Taylor Brammer Landscape Architects will be attending the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference on 10-11th July to discuss “A basis for sustainable evolution”.

The connection between place and historical memory is a powerful and enduring one, one that people derive a sense of identity and pride based on place. In this age of high paced evolution, how does the past inform and inspire the new diaspora and cities of the 21st century?

Matthew Taylor

Taylor Brammer Landscape Architects investigates a sense of place by providing a broad overview of the evolution of cities from the Middle Ages to the concept of the 21st city and that by recognising and valuing existing fabric, incorporating new concepts of the city may seamlessly tie these two concepts together.

In understanding the evolution of cities, a basis for sustainable evolution is created by visualising cities as high performance ecological machines while respecting the heritage of place. Further, the engagement of community in the ownership of the project ensures social sustainability and by instigating the reconnection of nature in cities creates strategies that reduce global warming and increase wellbeing.

Projects which have successfully utilised the fusion of zero energy consumption include within an urban framework which is under ever increasing pressure to provide a sustainable living environments. This approach is exemplified in works at the UOW Innovation Campus for the Illawarra Flame house. The project was a collaboration between students, design professionals and the community and was awarded top prize in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, international competition held in Datong, China.

The presentation will demonstrate how Taylor Brammer have been successfully involved in utilising principles such as those in the LBC and Solar Decathlon to provide us with a viable future for our cities.

www.taylorbrammer.com.au

The alarm on your smart phone went off 10 minutes earlier than usual this morning. Parts of the city are closed off in preparation for a popular end of summer event, so congestion is expected to be worse than usual. You’ll need to catch an earlier bus to make it to work on time.

The alarm time is tailored to your morning routine, which is monitored every day by your smart watch. It takes into account the weather forecast (rain expected at 7am), the day of the week (it’s Monday, and traffic is always worse on a Monday), as well as the fact that you went to bed late last night (this morning, you’re likely to be slower than usual). The phone buzzes again – it’s time to leave, if you want to catch that bus.

While walking to the bus stop, your phone suggests a small detour – for some reason, the town square you usually stroll through is very crowded this morning. You pass your favourite coffee shop on your way, and although they have a 20% discount this morning, your phone doesn’t alert you – after all, you’re in a hurry.

After your morning walk, you feel fresh and energised. You check in at the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled bus stop, which updates the driver of the next bus. He now knows that there are 12 passengers waiting to be picked up, which means he should increase his speed slightly if possible, to give everyone time to board. The bus company is also notified, and are already deploying an extra bus to cope with the high demand along your route. While you wait, you notice a parent with two young children, entertaining themselves with the touch-screen information system installed at the bus stop.

Photo: article supplied

Once the bus arrives, boarding goes smoothly: almost all passengers were using tickets stored on their smart phones, so there was only one time-consuming cash payment. On the bus, you take out a tablet from your bag to catch up on some news and emails using the free on-board Wi-Fi service. You suddenly realise that you forgot to charge your phone, so you connect it to the USB charging point next to the seat. Although the traffic is really slow, you manage to get through most of your work emails, so the time on the bus is by no means wasted.

The moment the bus drops you off in front of your office, your boss informs you of an unplanned visit to a site, so you make a booking with a car-sharing scheme, such as Co-wheels. You secure a car for the journey, with a folding bike in the boot.

Your destination is in the middle of town, so when you arrive on the outskirts you park the shared car in a nearby parking bay (which is actually a member’s unused driveway) and take the bike for the rest of the journey to save time and avoid traffic. Your travel app gives you instructions via your Bluetooth headphones – it suggests how to adjust your speed on the bike, according to your fitness level. Because of your asthma, the app suggests a route that avoids a particularly polluted area.

After your meeting, you opt to get a cab back to the office, so that you can answer some emails on the way. With a tap on your smartphone, you order the cab, and in the two minutes it takes to arrive you fold up your bike so that you can return it to the boot of another shared vehicle near your office. You’re in a hurry, so no green reward points for walking today, I’m afraid – but at least you made it to the meeting on time, saving kilograms of CO2 on the way.

This article was originally published by The Conversation.

Click here to read the entire article.