Contrary to national folklore, the typical Aussie is more likely to be a city dweller than a person from the bush. We are one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with the great majority of us living in a mere handful of cities.
For our biggest urban hubs, this concentration has come at a cost: urban sprawl, long commutes and heavy traffic.
Only two weeks ago, the NSW government adopted a plan which tries to address these problems. Based on the Greater Sydney Commission’s vision for three distinct but connected cities – eastern, central and western – the plan responds to the desire of Sydneysiders to live closer to where they work, and to have more convenient access to education, health and other amenities.
Of course, the success of this vision requires investment in transport networks. Writing in The Australian last week, Philip Vivian from Architecture Design firm Bates Smart, says that Sydney needs more coordination between development and infrastructure so that density and transit are designed together.
He refers to the successful Plan for London which ‘has changed the relationship between residential development and transport’, resulting in nearly three-quarters of all new homes being constructed within 800m of a rail or underground station.
Sydney is catching up on two decades of underinvestment in public transport with a $71 billion budget directed to such projects as the new Sydney Metro and two light rail routes. There’s also the Western Sydney Airport, The M4 Motorway Upgrade and WestConnex in the offering.
And it’s not just Sydney that’s spending up big on infrastructure. As I look around the country, it seems like all our major cities are experiencing this ‘moment’ of intense infrastructure investment.
Further to this, on Tuesday, Infrastructure Australia launched their annual infrastructure priority report which identifies over $55 billion worth of nation-shaping projects needed in the next 15 years. The report identifies 24 projects as ‘high priority initiatives’ needed within the next 15 years, but which the project definition and business cases have yet to be done and are therefore years away from starting. A further 60 ‘priority initiatives’ are also identified.
As every economist knows, good infrastructure is the necessary bedrock for economic growth and prosperous communities!
As we near the end of the first quarter of 2018, I reflect on what a successful and encouraging few months it has been. Every week, MacroPlan delivers a range of projects to our clients that are helping to build and shape our Australian cities.
Here is a quick snapshot of some of the projects delivered recently:
- Economic Impact of a new masterplan community (WA)
- Perth residential market outlook for detached dwellings (WA)
- Planning application for two new four-star hotels (VIC)
- Market led proposal for a new waste facility (VIC)
- Lodgement of a planning proposal for a large-scale masterplan community (NSW)
- Preparation of an infrastructure business case for State Government (NSW)
- Australia’s first Automated Vehicle Implementation Strategy to support the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan (NSW)
- Residential product assessment to define demand for ‘the missing middle’ (QLD)
- National assessment of the freight and logistics industry (NATIONAL)
- Retail portfolio review focused on undertaking growth potential
Additionally, MacroPlan’s senior leadership team have been working the speakers circuit this quarter, presenting across the country on a variety of topics including; market outlooks, sector updates (industrial, residential, health and aged care, retail, etc.), city placemaking and PropTech.
If you would like to know more about these projects or presentations, please get in touch with our team.
Tomorrow we close shop for the Easter weekend. I hope all of you manage to enjoy a short, relaxing break. Remember to save some of that chocolate Easter egg bounty to fortify you while cheering on your favourite athletes as next week’s Commonwealth Games get underway.