We talk about the need to build more homes, increase the density of our cities and create better infrastructure in the suburbs. But too often one critical factor is completely overlooked – the wellbeing of the people who are going to live there.
Speaking with Sue Williams at Domain News, Urbis National Director Linda Kurti and Director Dianne Knott, explain the importance of community engagement in shaping our cities and communities for a better future.
With the populations of both Sydney and Melbourne set to double by 2050, experts say the focus of all this development needs to be the people who will live there and their wellbeing.
“It’s vital that the community is engaged at all levels when we talk about large-scale development so we can ensure the social impact on them is being considered,” says Linda Kurti, national director at research and economic advisory firm Urbis.
“You look at the pace of development in Australia at the moment and you can see there are great opportunities for doing it well. But we’re at a critical point if we continue to build and build and don’t consider all the elements.”
For instance, developers need to talk, in a meaningful way, to the community early on in their planning of new developments, rather than simply impose them later upon those people.
Then they need to make sure they incorporate elements like affordable housing, public services, health centres and childcare facilities into large projects, to cater for the growing diversity of the population. Otherwise, the only people who will be able to afford to live in cities will be the wealthy and those in the well-paid legal and finance sectors.