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Citizen #381277

Weekly Discussion Topic- Melbourne 2030 – Planning Rhetoric versus Urban Reality

In an attempt to stimulate discussion, we will be starting weekly (more or less) discussions on a few planning and land use issues. This week we will be discussing the effects and ideas presented in Melbourne 2030 – Planning Rhetoric versus Urban Reality

Here are some articles to get you going:

Melbourne- Another Hong Kong?

2030 – A Space Fallacy?

2030- Vision for the city is blurred

Melbourne Risks LA Style Sprawl

Of course, take some of these with a grain of salt, the contradictions between the articles are numerous. LA style sprawl as Melbourne begins to look like Hong Kong? Oh please, some one fetch me a blanket so I can hide.

Planning 23rd March, 2005 12:56:19   [#] 


An attempt to stimulate discussion, hey?

Sounds optimistic.
Aaron Hewett  23rd March, 2005 22:27:41  

You could...
...at least link to your own article Aaron!

I'm going away for a few days, so I'll just make a few notes.

The key point here is demographics, Melbourne 2030 has a few demographic assumptions built into it, namely: that there will be another million people in Melboune in 2030; that household sizes will continue to decrease; and that people will be willing to live in medium-to-high density housing.

It is hard to get a firm grip on what the book says from the articles, but they are geographers so it is a demographic critique. Unfortunately journalists and statistics are, to quote Milhouse van Houten, like two positively charged ions.

What I think it is saying though, is something I've said here before, but still not got around to posting properly. Namely, that the trend to inner-city living is the result of international students (in apartments) and an increase in the age that people marry. That the wish to living in the suburbs remains strong, but is happening later in life - early 30s instead of early 20s.

The argument then revolves around the commercial viability of apartments in activity centres in the outer suburbs. What is being put forward is that they won't be viable because the people who live in them - single 20-somethings - are not getting any more numerous.

Aaron, on your article, a lot of what you say depends on the definition of medium and high densities. New suburban lots are smaller, but the densities are nowhere near medium density living - ie. terrace houses.

The big question would appear to be this then: will the current group of inner-suburban 20-somethings want to maintain their cafe-latte medium density lifestyle after they have kids? Is it notable that developers aren't making many four bedroom medium-high density developments?
Russ  24th March, 2005 11:28:02  

I wrote this before Russ' submission, please forgive me interweb gods!
Judging by the comments in today’s Your Say section in The Age, the majority of people not only welcome the recent critique of Melbourne 2030, but also appear to be against any sort of change. This is a disturbing trend, because it indicates that people are happy to maintain their current lifestyle. Of course, that’s not to say that they shouldn’t be enjoying their current lifestyle (on the urban fringe, who wouldn’t want to drive 1hr+ to get into work every day!), but if people aren’t willing to accept the possibility that change may actually make things easier, then we have to ask ourselves ‘what can be done?’

I personally dislike NIMBYists, I’m one (I guess), but I daresay there should be a distinction between urban NIMBYism and rural NIMBYism. I represent the latter because I feel that Melbourne has expanded too far, and with expansion comes a downgrading of social conditions. Look at Pakenham. Urban NIMBYists are another matter altogether, although we share the same feelings – downgrading of our local area. However, no matter what you believe when you buy into the inner city housing market, you have an obligation to understand that the urban fabric will change. Urban NIMBYists who complain that their rather expensive house in Camberwell or Malvern or Kew might depreciate if that ‘terrible development’ goes ahead need to understand that change is constant. I’ll now leave Russ to blow my argument out of the water with sneaky economic analysis.

Tom  24th March, 2005 12:39:13  

I may as well go live in Ballarat...
Maybe it's just because I have many friends with rural backgrounds, but the refrain I hear over and over again from my cafe latte drinking friends is goes something like:

"Well, bugger it, if I'm going to go and live in Caroline Springs I'll move to bloody Ballarat/Bendigo/Geelong/Tallangatta...".

Now, employment prospects and family ties might put a stop to some of those plans, but I suspect it might become true for an increasing number of people faced with living in outer-suburban hellholes.

A second factor to consider is that you don't get a backyard worthy of the name at the new outer-suburban developments anyway. If you don't get a decent size backyard, what's the advantage over a family-size apartment or townhouse?
Rob  24th March, 2005 14:37:04  


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