The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017.

Mr Charles Nilsen, Principal Consultant for Nilsen Consulting PDM joins us this year to discuss “How vulnerable is successful urban regeneration?”

Charles Nilsen

This paper examines the dynamics of successful sustainable urban regeneration, as well as the unintended negative consequences of short-term political and commercial objectives, and the lessons that can be learnt.

Located in a major activity centre in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the award winning Eaton Street Pedestrian Mall project is a case study in both successful urban regeneration, following a very considered planning and design process involving extensive community engagement, and commercial exploitation leading to premature, and avoidable, decline.

The project, which was designed as a ‘public living room’, has resulted in the creation of a very attractive and desirable place with substantial social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits.

These include private investment of more than twelve [12] times the public investment with growth in employment; greatly enhanced community pride and social inclusion; a safer, inclusive and more vibrant public place; development of a Greek cultural precinct; urban art work and a very liveable urban landscape for people supported by innovative water sensitive design.

However, just a few short years on poor governance, management and decision-making have compromised this success with removal of furniture, art works, plantings and democratic community space to provide more street trading space for a very small number of cafe traders. There are now the early signs of decline and loss of vibrancy.

The paper also examines the contribution of authentic community engagement and the essential elements of humanistic urbanism, why they matter and how they contribute to sustainable liveable streets and healthy places for people.

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 what’s on for this year here.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017. 

Mr Peter Fryar, Director of Key Urban Planning will be attending this year’s conference, discussing “Greater Sydney Commission – Draft North District Plan (Hornsby Region – Case Study)”.

The NSW Government recently released its vision for the future growth and direction of the Sydney Metropolitan Area in a document titled ‘A Plan for Growing Sydney: Forming Part of the Greater Sydney Regional Plan’.

greater sydney plan

Peter Fryar

The NSW Government has established The Greater Sydney Commission and has placed on public exhibition the first ever 20 year draft District Plans one for each of Greater Sydney’s six districts.

The presenter has almost 30 years experience as a Manager in Local Government Planning working for a number of NSW Councils including Byron Shire, Wyong Shire, Hornsby Shire and Auburn Council. He now operates a Planning Consultancy based in Hornsby on the northern fringe of the Sydney Metropolitan Area for the past 4 years.

Sydney as a city is suffering a housing crisis particularly for affordable housing. The presenter has been involved in a Planning Proposal for significant lands just south of the Hornsby CBD as well as working on a Development Application for a 27 storey shop top housing development within the Hornsby Town Centre that ultimately went to Appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Achieving the ultimate objectives for future growth of Sydney is challenging as a Planner now working in private practice and having to deal with a complex Planning system in NSW, difficult Local Government situation undergoing Council amalgamations and a Planning Profession that can at times be obstructive to achieving development outcomes.

The purpose of the presentation is to give a challenging insight from the perspective of an experienced Town Planner.

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 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Monday 10th – Tuesday 11th July 2017. 

Ms Louise Sureda, Director of Planning & Environment Services for Transport for New South Wales will be at this year’s conference, presenting “Light rail – a catalyst for change in Western Sydney”.

The re-introduction of light rail is becoming an ever increasing trend across Australia. Major cities are seeing the benefits light rail brings to the revitalisation of places within communities. Light rail brings a more efficient form of transport that reduces congestion and promotes gentrification of urban environments and form.

Light rail in general is a more local/regional system of movement within a community that appeals to a wider demographic of customers for reasons of safety, frequency and local accessibility to services, facilities and attractions.  Light rail is more than a commute to work and the user profile has a more 24hr vibrancy of social connection and encouraging the night time economy.

Light rail requires an integrated solution with other modes of transport, promoting active transport with bicycle infrastructure, increased walkability and stimulating urban renewal areas.

Greater Parramatta is undergoing rapid growth and change, with an additional one million people set to call Western Sydney home in the next 20 years. In response, the NSW government is developing a new light rail in Parramatta, to service the Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula.

Parramatta Light Rail will support the growth area by connecting people to jobs, education and leisure opportunities and helping to create new communities. It will also support the government’s focus on revitalising the wider Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula area.

Planning for the Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula priority growth area will provide opportunities for new community facilities, vibrant public spaces and homes close to transport links and jobs in the Parramatta CBD.

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.

light rail western sydney

By Claire Painter, Project Manager, for ClimateWorks Australia

Transport will play an important role for Australia to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement, touching on two of the four steps or ‘pillars’ that can work together to bring us to net zero emissions by 2050.

In Australia, the transport sector is one of our fastest growing sources of emissions, increasing 47.5 per cent since 1990. It accounted for 16 per cent or 92 MtCO2e of Australia’s emissions in 2013-14 and is projected to continue rising.

Claire Painter

However transport also represents the most financially attractive emissions reduction opportunity across the Australian economy. Two pillars of decarbonisation are enacted to achieve this: ‘energy efficiency’- by improving the fuel efficiency of conventional internal combustion engines, and ‘fuel switching’ – shifting to electric vehicles.

So why EVs?

  • When linked to cleaner electricity supply, EVs can provide emission reductions of 16 and 47 per cent in passenger and light commercial vehicle segments by 2030 and 2050 respectively
  • Even EVs recharged by grid electricity are still projected to be less emissions intensive than the average passenger vehicle to 2030
  • Electrification can also significantly contribute to meeting energy productivity targets: approximately 1/3 of the 15 per cent improvement identified to 2030 across the economy
  • They’re now being deployed at scale: In 2015, EVs reached 23 per cent market share in Norway, nearly 10 per cent in the Netherlands and are past 1 per cent in seven other countries
  • Internationally there are moves to ban internal combustion engines: Norway, Netherlands, Germany and India are considering bans on petrol, diesel cars by 2025 and the European Commission plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2050
  • Australia is uniquely vulnerable to disruptions in fossil-fuel supply.

What’s stopping us?

  • EVs will be cost competitive when scale is reached, however large scale consumer uptake will only occur when electric vehicles are cost competitive
  • Lack of consumer knowledge around the value proposition of lower emission vehicles and fuels, concerns about vehicle range and charging infrastructure
  • Australia does not currently have a national EV policy framework and overall support and incentives are weak compared to global peers
  • Collectively, these challenges limit the number of models introduced to the Australian market.


  • Well-designed financial incentives could lower upfront costs, increase sales and infrastructure deployment
  • Non-financial incentives also encourage increased deployment, eg. priority lanes and reserved parking spaces
  • Introduction of collaboratively developed, well-designed best practice standards supported by suitable complementary measures, eg. policies and incentives to increase EV uptake, Government EV bulk buys, tax breaks and government support for the development of charging infrastructure
  • ClimateWorks Australia is drawing on research and evidence to help reduce emissions at national and regional levels and working with industry stakeholders on a range of activities to drive EV uptake.

ClimateWorks Australia is a leading, independent, evidence-based adviser, committed to helping Australia transition to net zero emissions by 2050.

ClimateWorks Australia was founded through a partnership between Monash University and the Myer Foundation and hosted by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

Update by Claire Bower, Healthy Communities Planner for Bellarine Community Health Ltd

The establishment of the three community led action groups has led to significant infrastructure improvements for the regional communities of Portarlington, St Leonards and Indented Head. Positive advocacy has been the process which all groups have employed to bring about change. An agenda for improvements has been devised and acted on by each group as outlined in this update.

The Northern Bellarine Transport Action Group (NBTAG) devised a community expectations document which included proposals for an improved public transport service. These expectations are a follow on from the reinstatement of the hourly bus service which was achieved by the group via a petition. The necessary improvements which are outlined in the document have been communicated to the local member for parliament via a public meeting.

The Bellarine Bicycle Users Group conducted a safety audit of the Bellarine Peninsula roads and bicycle infrastructure. This information was compiled in a document named Principle Bicycle Network for the Bellarine. It outlined the issues and suggested solutions. A video has also been created to communicate the same issues in a visual medium. Titled, “Behind the Handlebars- a bike riders view of the Northern Bellarine’, it clearly shows the issues cyclists face riding in the region. These advocacy methods have resulted in an increase in bicycle lanes, sealing of surfaces and an increase in safety signage.

Locomote, a walkability action group have implemented two different campaigns designed to engage the community on walkability issues. The two Happy Feet campaigns have required the community to vote for their most important improvement out of four key walkability issues in their town. A successful campaign in St Leonards meant that a pedestrian crossing, the most voted for improvement was constructed following the campaign. A similar campaign has commenced for the township of Indented Head.

The changes achieved are a result of the communities efforts coming together to advocate for better built environments. They have been central in creating supportive built environments which encourage everyone in the community to be active.

Claire Bower attended the 2016 Liveable Cities Conference.

Susan Krumdieck, Professor in Mechanical Engineering University of Canterbury

Business-as-usual future scenarios will disastrously overshoot the COP21 climate change agreement. More solar cells, wind turbines and electric cars do not change the BAU scenarios. The only way to avoid catastrophic climate change is to leave most of the known fossil fuels in the ground. The only way to leave fossil fuel in the ground is to transition every activity that uses fossil fuel to very low energy use. I hope this simple and irrefutable concept challenges your perception of sustainability.

Susan Krumdieck

We do not need to purchase more sustainable products and use more renewable energy. We need to stop unsustainable activities, stop making consumer stuff and stop producing fossil fuels.

How would we close down coalmines, curtail personal vehicle production, shut down a plastics factory or remove flights from airline schedules?  Objectively, you know it is easy to do these things, in fact they happen all the time. Corporations decide to shut down a factory, a smelter or a refinery for any reason, usually because of lagging profits.  Of course when a factory shuts down it is devastating for workers and the community, but from the perspective of history these short-term difficulties look different, they look like change.

Imagine for a minute that a future exists where global warming was limited to 1.5 oC as per the COP21 agreement. That future 2117 will still be adapting to the unstable climate, it will be different from today in some ways and familiar in others. People in that 2117 know what Melbourne is like without cars. They have plenty of leisure time, but they don’t take international flights to island resorts. They are healthy and fit with good diets, education and healthcare. They look back with curiosity at the transitions we undertake, how we improve quality of life, meet the market, return a profit and improve the environment. They know the work we do in redeveloping our cities.  They know how we achieve the transition. A new field emerges, and Transition Engineers figure out how to change everything and make things work in new ways and all those ways use much less energy.

Professor Susan Krumdieck presented at the 2016 Liveable Cities Conference.

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.