Our major cities have become much more interesting and diverse in relation to their culture, housing choice and economic base. This in part, has been influenced by our ongoing immigration program with its strong focus on Asia.
3. Over the past two decades our major cities have become much more interesting and diverse in relation to their culture, housing choice and economic base. This in part, has been influenced by our ongoing immigration program with its strong focus on Asia and with most of the immigrants choosing to reside in one of the major cities. This factor together with our increasing economic reliance on Asian countries as Australia’s principal trading partners, has meant that Australia, and particularly our major cities, are increasingly becoming more Asian.
4. Despite the significant amount of development and growth that has occurred in our suburbs, the CBDs of our major cities have held up well and have continued to prosper in relation to employment generation. Importantly they also remain the principle focus in the metro area for education, health, entertainment, shopping, culture and sporting events.
5. The recent embracement of many of our city residents, of inner city living with apartment living and densification being increasingly accepted as the preferred alternative to the suburban sprawl. The net result of this trend is that there is a strong resurgence in inner city living with the inner city residential population growing significantly and with the resulting outcome being that our cities are becoming more 24/7 cities.
And what do you think are some of the major challenges confronting Australia’s major cities?
Peter Holland, ULI Australia Chairman, Director, Urbis:
1. Providing the appropriate physical and social infrastructure to accommodate future growth on an ongoing basis
2. Ageing infrastructure
3. Accommodating technological change
4. Housing affordability
5. Income inequality
6. Planning for and accommodating climate change
7. Fostering innovation and creating job growth
8. Accommodation and funding for our growing health and education requirements
Discussions about density naturally lead into sustainability. Can you share with us some recent examples of projects which are setting a benchmark for sustainability in the industry?
John Fitzgerald, Chief Executive, Asia Pacific, Urban Land Institute:
Australia has many examples of projects that are setting benchmarks for sustainability. A favourite of mine is the ‘Darling Quarter and Commonwealth Bank Place’ which won a ULI Global Award for Excellence in 2012 and which incorporates world leading precinct-wide environmental and social sustainable initiatives.
Darling Quarter is a major 1.5 hectare place-making project that has transformed the public domain of Darling Harbour, one of Australia’s most visited destinations. The A$ 500 million precinct integrates Commonwealth Bank Place, two large campus-styled 6 Star Green Star (world leadership) commercial buildings, within a public domain that comprises new pedestrian connections a retail terrace with new cafes, restaurants and bars, generous grassed community areas, a 300 seat children’s theatre and an innovative playground as its centrepiece.