Daily Bulletin


Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Diego Ramírez-Lovering, Head of the Department of Architecture, Monash University

Melbourne has been repeatedly awarded the accolade of world’s most liveable city. This is no doubt due in large part to the excellent public domain Melbourne offers. Its parks and leafy suburbs provide green amenity, and the city has great public programs through its libraries, cultural buildings and an ongoing calendar of events.

However, Melbourne is growing rapidly in a way that threatens this overall liveability.

The density of existing suburbs is increasing largely through the unco-ordinated development of small “mum-and-dad” developer-builders that replace one house with two or three. This ad-hoc development pattern is eroding the amenity and character of the suburbs. For instance, established tree canopies and gardens are gradually being lost, to be replaced by concreted areas.

At the same time, large housing developments are being built on newly subdivided land on Melbourne’s fringe. These often lack essential services as well as public and cultural spaces and programs.

The combination of these development approaches is threatening overall city liveability.

Debates in our city about housing futures, including themes of affordability, sustainability and resilience, are increasingly considering wider notions of amenity and services. It is important to shift the tenor of this discussion further. This requires that issues of public space and public domain be placed at the centre of debate and action.

Global agenda shifts course

Many governments and international organisations, such as the UN, and non-governmental organisations are moving in this direction.

While still foregrounding housing as a basic human right and a central element in city-building, these bodies are looking to provide expanded solutions for increasing populations and urbanisation. Their focus is on public space, amenity, essential service provision and mobility.

This broadening of the debate was evident at the recent 20-yearly Habitat III conference I attended in Quito, Ecuador. Two important shifts from previous housing-focused directions were noticeable.

The first difference was the conference themes. Housing themes were were intertwined with themes around essential services and public space as an essential combination for successful city-making.

As a conference observer-participant, it was fascinating to watch a wide range of presentations by organisations from all over the world maintain a sustained focus on the importance of public space, public domain and amenity.

The shared vision of the New Urban Agenda adopted at Habitat III illustrates this:

We envisage cities and human settlements that … are participatory, promote civic engagement, engender a sense of belonging and ownership among all their inhabitants, prioritise safe, inclusive, accessible, green and quality public spaces, friendly for families …

image A notable feature of the Habitat III conference was the sustained focus on public space, public domain and amenity. Guillermo Granja/Reuters

The second interesting shift was the inclusion of developed cities and states into the debate and action. Previously, there had been a strong focus on developing countries and slum revitalisation and reduction.

It was acknowledged that the impacts of activities and actions in one country, whether planned or otherwise, go beyond jurisdictional boundaries. This was made clear, for instance, in conversations about climate change and urban development. Activities involving countries such as China, India or the US may have an impact not only at the national level but also on the globalised economy.

What are the local lessons?

Locally, we can take some cues from these international shifts toward more inclusive urban agendas. In Melbourne, the city faces ongoing growth in high-density living, with apartments and subdivisions rapidly rising across the city. It is imperative to understand why public and cultural spaces as well as quality amenity and services are vital to our city’s success.

We must also recognise that we need to design our homes and other spaces in the larger-scale context of the city.

Rather than looking at developments in isolation, we need to consider their connection with the whole environment and in relation to a range of pertinent issues. These include population growth, climate change, changing family demographics and resource limitations. We need to design for long-term sustainability rather than short-term gain.

In addition to increasing our focus on integrated models locally, it is important to become more active across international boundaries in our region, particularly in Southeast Asia. Projects being developed at Monash University focus on adapting local knowledge and expertise in integrated urban models to the slum contexts of Indonesia and Fiji.

By helping to create sustainable and resilient city-making processes in our region, we can contribute to a global debate and action.

Authors: Diego Ramírez-Lovering, Head of the Department of Architecture, Monash University

Read more http://theconversation.com/density-threatens-liveability-if-we-miss-the-big-picture-of-how-a-city-works-69549

Writers Wanted

Coronavirus disrupted my kid's first year of school. Will that set them back?

arrow_forward

What are manufactured home estates and why are they so problematic for retirees?

arrow_forward

Things to Ask To Your Removalists

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Ten tips for landing a freelance transcription job

Transcription jobs are known to be popular in the field of freelancing. They offer fantastic job opportunities to a lot of people, but there are some scammers who wait to cheat the freelancers. ...

News Company - avatar News Company

How To Remove Rubbish More Effectively

It can be a big task to remove household rubbish. The hardest part is finding the best way to get rid of your junk. It can be very overwhelming to know exactly where to start with so many option...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Tips To Pass Skills Certifications Tests

Developing the right set of skills is valuable not only to your career, but for life in general. You can get certified in these skills through obtaining a license. Without a certified license, y...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion