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.

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.


An increasing number of Australians are ditching their city lifestyles, opting instead to live in regional areas both on the coast and inland.

Yes, the sea change, or tree change as it has become known, is gathering pace, particularly in southeast Queensland.

Nothing demonstrates this internal shift in Australia’s populace better than the two tables below from CoreLogic. They show the local government areas where net internal migration was the highest in the 2015/16 financial year, and where it declined the most.

Here are the top 25 regions where net internal migration was the highest, according to figures from the ABS:


Image: article supplied

This article was originally published by Business Insider Australia. 

Click here to read the entire article.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference 2017 is coming to Brisbane on the 10-11th July.

Mr Peter Anders, Contract Services Manager at Sydney Water will be at this year’s conference, presenting “Energy efficiency, generation and recovery at Sydney Water”.

Sydney Water produces approximately 18% ($9 million/year) of its energy needs through renewable energy generation and reduces demand through energy efficiency measures. These results are achieved by Sydney Water’s drive to limit electricity grid imports to pre-1998 levels. Population increase as well as new processes, technology, more efficient and affordable equipment and increasing power and gas prices make meeting the target ever more complex.

Peter Anders

Since 2009, Sydney Water installed 15.2 MW biogas cogeneration, solar and hydro generation capacity and will further expand this portfolio. We will go beyond our commitment to keep energy purchases to pre-1998 levels if financially viable to do so. In doing so, we are always considering energy efficiency before renewable energy generation because it reduces site load instead of offsetting it. Since 2014, innovative ideas such as trucked food waste co-digestion have been introduced to increase biogas production for higher energy recovery rates.

To limit electricity grid imports, we created capacity of 9 MW biogas, 6 MW hydro and 0.16 MW solar generation. We also offset our site energy load through aeration improvements, LED technology, belt drive improvements, leakage removal and most open valve technology which saves around 20GWh/y.

A major part of our emissions minimisation effort is the continuous improvement of biogas production by trialling and implementing innovative technologies such as glycerol dosing, co-digestion of trucked organic waste and tests in bespoke mini digesters.

Our energy conservation and generation work continues across our renewable energy generation portfolio making cogeneration, hydro and solar installations more efficient, , increase of energy efficiency through site audits and continued co-digestion research to improve biogas yield.

High electricity and gas prices have increased and prioritised our energy and emissions reduction efforts. This benefits the community and our business.

Join us at the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference 2017, 10 – 11 July 2017 at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor

Ms Meg Argyriou, Head of Engagement at ClimateWorks Australia will be attending this year’s conference, speaking on the topic of “What motivates a pro environmental culture?”

How can we better inspire engagement and action in audiences currently ‘uncommitted’ to pro environmental attitudes and behaviours? Drawing on social research, this presentation aims to challenge our assumptions through the lens of one of the most complex environmental challenges: climate change.

Meg Argyriou

As we move to tackle some of the complex social and environmental challenges in a rapidly growing and evolving world, the magnitude and rate of change required is likely to create uncertainty and anxiety across the population.

This uncertainty can provide motive for business, government and communities to reduce their ambition on areas like environmental action.

An antidote to that uncertainly is an educated and engaged constituency that helps provide the ‘fertile ground’ to help socialise the achievability and benefits of such large changes. The question becomes, “How do we drive the interest for that deeper discussion in a world where the volume of information is overwhelming and the everyday person doesn’t need ‘another problem’ to think about?”

This phenomenon is no more apparent than through the lens of climate change. Unlike other issues where the weight of scientific evidence may be enough to provide the impetus to act, progressing the climate change agenda requires more than technical solutions.

Our cities are a rich tapestry of attitudes and opinion, often informed by personal world views. The presentation will explore the need for a ‘cultural roadmap’ as well as a technical one.

Whilst approaches that tap into a sense of social responsibility and the moral imperative may be an effective means to engage with more committed audiences, are they enough to drive the involvement of the broader population?

If not, what do we need to do differently? What are the key things we should be thinking about as practitioners or policymakers?

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is coming to Brisbane this month – join us on the 10-11th June at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Ms Jessica Christiansen-Franks, CEO and CoFounder of Neighbourlytics will be attending this year’s conference, presenting “How can we harness open data to deliver positive outcomes for people?

Jessica Christiansen-Franks

Technology is having a transformative impact on cities. It is enabling efficiencies, and insights to transport, movement, connectivity and construction that were previously unimaginable. However it’s critical that smart cities don’t only deliver on infrastructure and efficiency outcomes, and also achieve positive social impact.

How can we harness open data to deliver positive outcomes for people?

Enter, a community knowledge and analytics platform that harnesses open data to map and measure how people use places. This revolutionary new platform helps urban managers gain local data and real-time insights to shape places that thrive.

How? Open datasets including social media feeds map our movements in public spaces every day. By aggregating mapping and measuring these movements, and correlating these movements to behaviours, we can gain a rapid understanding of public space utilisation in real time. More powerful than user surveys, open data enables us to map and measure social insights anytime, anywhere.

This presentation will highlight key findings of the recent Neighbourlytics trial with Frasers Property Group across five urban development sites in Australia, outlining the key opportunities and known limitations of open data sets for public space planning.

By demonstrating the power of open data, this presentation aims to elevate the smart cities conversation beyond automatic rubbish bins, towards new mechanisms for improving community connection and social sustainability.