Urban Sprawl in Melbourne, Soon for Sydney
No one should forget that when you pump up population growth, the city either goes up or out. And Melbourne is really going out.
The Australian Financial Review only sees urban sprawl as good news. This is the dumbest of the populationist positions. Melbourne’s population rose by two percent in the last financial year and leading the growth were the outer Melbourne government areas of Wyndham, Melton, Cardina and Whittlesea. In fact these were the fastest growing local government areas in the nation. They added more than 33,000 people at growth rates not less than six percent. Today’s Age also describes how that in the nine years since Melbourne’s growth outstripped Sydney’s, five out of every eight new residents had to settle over 20km from the GPO.
Bravo. Just what Ted Baillieu campaigned for. With a bit of extra effort we can really increase that sprawl. And celebrate the quick gobbling of high value farmland and the horrific strain on infrastructure budgets.
Sydney achieves 70 percent of its population growth by urban infill, lifting density in established suburbs where infrastructure is already in place, and relieving the strain on the city limits. (Funny that – I had been led to believe the NSW planning system was a disaster, getting nothing right). Barry O’Farrell has promised to hand serious planning powers back to local government which will see no more apartments built along rail corridors – which is good planning practice – and hence more sprawling suburbs on the city’s fringe, with services and public works straining to catch-up. He may, however, be talked out of this by serious policy people in his own party and by the business lobby. This is one of the most urgent debates to occur within his cabinet.