Friday, August 29, 2008

Planners urged to cut urban sprawl -

Matt Johnston

BAN the outer suburban housing estates to cut urban sprawl and be more like London and Rome.

That's the advice from Australia's peak architectural body, which wants Australia's big cities to focus on boosting their inner and middle suburbs' density rather than release land in outer areas, to become more sustainable.

The Royal Australian Institute of Architects' new urban design policy also pushes for greater regional development to encourage more Victorians to live and work in cities such as Geelong or Ballarat.

Victoria's peak housing developer group says a move away from outer suburbs would cripple the economy and hurt families who were calling for more housing in affordable areas.

RAIA president Howard Tanner said increasing urban density to maximise efficiency and sustainability of infrastructure was the only way forward for Melbourne and Sydney.

"You have got people encouraged to buy a block of land way out of the city and they are having to travel for three hours a day to commute. That's not sustainable," he said.

Mr Tanner said a roads-based city like Los Angeles was seeing infrastructure crumble, and Melbourne would do better to aim for the city models of London and Rome.

"People there live in town houses or terrace houses, the houses are never one-storey and you have got the population that lives closer to the city," he said.

"We have to curtail land subdivisions at the extremities of the city. The other option is to put in some very fast trains to regional centres. Somewhere like Geelong could be an attractive destination for working and living."...

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