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urban sprawl « Previous | |Next »
July 3, 2012

Peter Newton in Unlocking the greyfields to inhibit urban sprawl at The Conversation that the NSW and Victorian state governments (and I would add the SA one) continue to encourage the development of new housing on the fringes of their cities.

In theses growth areas, the pace of development continues to outstrip the ability to provide public transport to employment, and the capacity of social infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing population. Households on our cities' fringes are most vulnerable to projected increases in mortgage and petrol prices.

ArkleyHsuburbia.jpg Howard Arkley, Superb + Solid , 1997

In The Age Carolyn Whitzman and Billie Giles-Corti say that Australian cities have unsustainable per capita environmental footprints compared with other developed cities around the world. We are more car dependent, our cities sprawl over a larger proportion of prime agricultural land, and we have higher rates of obesity than most countries in the world.Health and wellbeing, liveability and environmental sustainability are all closely linked.

In the inner cities, new apartments and the increased density they bring have added to the richness of street life and cultural options. But these apartments have not been built for families and there is a shortage of schools. With increased density, there is also a need to provide more walking, cycling and public transport opportunities to ease traffic congestion.Many of these new city apartments apartments are small and poorly built.

Newton says:

In the face of sustained population growth, our big cities continue to sprawl into the greenfields, despite the now well recognised problems associated with higher infrastructure costs, lack of amenity, car dependency, poor job access, diminished agriculture and open space.

He says that the solution lies in the greyfields – those ageing but occupied tracts of inner and middle ring suburbia that are physically, technologically and environmentally failing and which represent under-capitalised assets. Here, attempts have been made to intensify housing and employment around activity centres and transit oriented development projects.

Though attempts have been made to intensify housing and employment around activity centres and transit oriented development projects in the greyfield middle suburbs little regeneration has happened in any systematic way. Newton says:

Most infill housing in the middle suburbs has been occurring in a fragmented, sub-optimal fashion. As greyfield housing comes onto the market (typically properties where 80% or more of the total value is vested in the land) it is purchased, demolished and rebuilt, typically resulting in yields of 1:1 and 1:2-4 dwellings.

Consequently, state governments continue to apply mid-20th century solutions to a 21st century urban problem. Hence the concern about the state of Australian cities.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:48 AM | | Comments (11)


What baffles me is the clumsy way state governments go about these things, well beyond the point of significantly alienating sections of the electorate.
St Clair Park is an example, but if you collected all the local rags from different suburbs you'd see the same clumsiness in each suburb.
And the f----g 'tiser won't carry these stories, when the public needs to know.

A third [there are probably more] alternative would be encourage the revitalisation of rural towns and cities by creating employment in such and utilising the cheap housing markets of such as an incentive to partake in a lifestyle many would find attractive.
There are no traffic lights in the town.
Imagine that.
Most larger country towns have all the basic services in skeletal, or better, form easily fleshed out. Adding people, say 10% of existing population, would not strain local services but solidify them. More teachers, doctors nurses, bankies, council workers, shoppies.

We are in the middle of transferring all our accounts away from ANZ to another bank. ANZ have stupidly and cynically and shortsightedly closed their branch despite 100s of houses being built in the town. Stuffem, we'll go to the [only] other bank.

I don't know about the other states, but SA is making a serious attempt to limit greenfield development around the Adelaide metro perimeter. And like Paul says, the state gov is copping it in the neck from all quarters for its troubles. Your reference to " mid-20th century solutions" in SA's case would mean a Playford style New Elizabeth - which the Labor Gov has said they will not do - so what part of the process here in SA is mid 20thC?

The outer rim of the capital cities are known as the peri-urban regions. Peri-urban regions are those areas on the urban periphery into which cities expand. Peri-urban areas may be considered as the “invaded countryside”

This century, cities that relate to their peri-urban hinterlands by protecting natural resources for future adaption may prove to be the most resilient.

--"so what part of the process here in SA is mid 20thC?"

The urban sprawl along the southern express way. Car dependent suburbia is the mid-20th century urban form.

There is a growing spatial settlement trend in Australia towards vast conurbations that extend most visibly along the eastern coastline: an almost seamless link-up of mega-cities, cities and towns into complex mega-metropolitan regions.

A good example is the emergent Australian mega- metro region in the South East Queensland (SEQ/Tweed) region that that crosses over into the Queensland/New South Wales border. The SEQ region is a ‘200km city’ .

The high population growth experienced over the last few decades in the SEQ region has led to an increasing demand in housing largely met by greenfield developments. This resulted in a low density “urban tidal wave” moving out of the major urban centres and into the peri-urban areas.

Lewis Mumford in Mumford The city in history; It’s origins, its transformations, its prospects, (1961) stressed that the ‘Myth of Megalopolis’ represented the transition from purposeful growth to purposeless expansion.

This resulted in what he termed ‘sprawling metro giantism’ or ‘the burst urban container’.

What unifies Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide as capital cities is their suburban form and high rise CBDs.

The Garden City movement, has been a highly significant influence on these suburban development in Australia. This has produced low density suburbs characterised by semi- or detached housing and high car use.

Thanks for reminding me of Mumford, Gary. I read a lot of his stuff in the early 70's, and should probably revisit it.

Time to renew borrowing privileges at the Barr-Smith, I think.

Awww, now am starting to get riled.
Do NOT tell me the only places left in Adelaide to develop for housing are the dwindling number of parks; the old industrial subs of Adelaide are ripe for knocking over, let the b-s go build there.
Now, today the paper reports a city high-rise development for 540 dwellings has fallen over (not literally).
Why can't the developers p-off out of St Clair and restart THAT?
Don't tell me the only places suitable for development are increasingly rare parks of decent size and beauty, in a country the size of Australia, or a city the size of Adelaide.
They want St Clair for the TOD? How bloody convenient for developers and politicians alike!
And why is the only development model the high-pop development at any cost one? An article in the local rag dealt with the conflict between the Mayor of Charles Sturt, Kirsten Alexander and a certain local politician renowned for his litigate or perish outlook who recently likely participated in a slimy move to rezone ST Clair for housing after the initial rationale for its rezoning was rendered obsolete by budget cuts involving transport hub financing and rail electrification.
The sly move received NO reportage from any newspapers or media, yet was an egregious abuse of power involving politicians and aligned councillors, sprung during the forced absence of Alexander.
Finally the long awaited article in the local rag appeared, it's main trick being to build some thing sinister into the Mayor's association with Green groupings, passed off as somehow racist, unless am mistaken. Knowing the Mayor a little, I can tell you she's no Hansonist; she's a tertiary educated professional elected as mayor on a platform of saving St Clair park- the people spoke!
But her sin is the sin of all progressives, whether Democrat left-Labor, small l liberal, or Greens.
She beleives in planning in the context of sustainability, protection of "commons" and low pop growth and I for one find this laudable, against the opinions of social conservative politicians,on both sides, with their disrupted relationships with developers.
She is inferred racist by politicians because she doesn't want to see the populate at any cost meme fostered to an ugly reality without prior study and OPEN community oriented planning and implementation??
Good God!!!