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What are the top 3 things science says Australia's city-planners need to achieve ?

CSIRO has recently released its latest report exploring scenarios for Australia’s national outlook.

The report is the culmination of two years of integrated modelling by CSIRO and the expertise of over 50 sceitific, business, academic and non-profit leaders, to examine what kind of country Australia could be in 2060.

The report examines two possible futures for Australia’s major cities: Outlook Vision, which represents what could be possible if Australia can achieve its full potential, and Slow Decline, in which Australia fails to adequately address the challenges identified, leading to poorer outcomes in multiple dimensions.

It identifies five key shifts that are needed for Australia to reach its full potential – in industry, energy, land management, culture and city-planning.

The city planning levers will come as no surprise to those of use engaged in this work – the top 3 things we need to do are (wait for it) plan for higher density multi-centred cities, create mixed land use zones and enhance our transport infrastructure.

Under the ‘slow decline’ scenario around half of our population growth continues to occur in outer areas, whereas under the ‘outlook vision’ scenario a much greater share of growth occurs in established areas.

The CSIRO report found that the social outcomes for people living in outer suburbs was mixed – on the positive side, residents experienced less financial stress from mortgages or rent, and have more parkland per capita. However, residents have a higher need for government assistance, and have to travel longer distances to work and health services.

Whilst the CSIRO report findings will come as no surprise to those of us in industry, what is interesting is that there is now a such broad based consensus across such a wide range of sectors about what needs to happen to make out cities work better.


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