March 2019 Newsletter
Australia’s First Truly Smart City
First on our March 2019 Newsletter, when the planning community and urban planners talk about smart cities they are usually talking about concepts. These can range from intelligent parking meters to connected streetlamps that dim and brighten according to the light right through to citywide planning blueprints. What the term “smart city” usually does not mean is an actual singular city that is “smart”.
Until now. The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has laid out plans for an ambitious project that could validly be called Australia’s first smart city. It gets this title because the plans call for a completely “greenfield” approach to development with the city to be built from scratch. Until it gets a more formal name, the project is called Sydney Science Park and is estimated to be home to 100,000 residents upon completion.
Around 30 companies will be invited to submit plans and ideas for parts of the project. With the estimated spend to run to $5 billion, there are plenty of opportunities to be grabbed by firms interested in participating.
Commercial and Medical Hub Planned for Melbourne
Second, on our March 2019 Newsletter, The inner suburbs of Melbourne have long been a hotspot for construction with dozens of apartment blocks, the Docklands precinct and CBD itself all undergoing major construction phases in the past few decades. But now the urban planning focus has switched to making use of the existing assets of the CBD to encourage business growth.
Innovation and education hubs are a fast-growing area of urban planning and one that is being embraced by both local planning authorities and investors. The Parkville precinct on the fringes of the Melbourne CBD is already well connected to public transport and home to hundreds of researchers.
A new biomedical sciences and education hub located adjacent to it could further help to grow the area and its expertise. The northern end of Elizabeth Street is the proposed location for the $750 million development with any planners with expertise in education and science facilities well-placed to tender for work arising from the long-term project.
Planning for Urban Gardening
Third, on our March 2019 Newsletter, vegetables consumed in Melbourne are grown in the immediate area surrounding the capital. The pattern is likely very similar across the other major capitals with areas like Werribee, the Mornington Peninsula, Toowoomba, and the Lockyer Valley all noted for their production capacity.
Recent reports commissioned by well-regarded institutions like the University of Melbourne have called for the importance of the food production derived from areas surrounding large population centres to be recognised. Specifically, these studies have called for concepts like food protection zones that would limit development and water usage in what they call “inner farming areas”.
With increasing interest among the broader community in food security, traceability and eating locally to minimise the environmental impact of food production, forward-thinking planners should consider factors like this in any large scale urban development proposal and tailor their plans accordingly.
Can Planning Help Cities From Becoming Uninsurable?
Lastly, March 2019 Newsletter, By any measure, the year has been an unprecedented one for drought, extreme heat and tropical cyclones. And with even large fossil fuel companies and Australia’s global mining houses acknowledging the science and impacts of global warming, it is reasonable to assume that the frequency and severity of these weather events will increase in coming years.
That leads to a very real local concern about whether certain sections of cities, such as the flood-prone low-lying suburbs of Brisbane, or whole cities, like Townsville, could become uninsurable. This phenomenon refers to the risk of these areas becoming so high that insurance companies simply refuse to write insurance policies for those areas or have policies that are so expensive that residents cannot afford them.
Cohesive, forward-looking planning that incorporates the most recent data and modeling can help these at-risk communities anticipate and plan for events like the recent cyclones so that the effects of the most severe weather events are mitigated.
Those are the articles for our March 2019 Newsletter. Subscribe to be up-to-date.