Future of Australian cities up in the air: PIA

With the end of the government's Major Cities Unit, the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) warns that the long term strategic planning for Australia's largest cities may no longer be in place.

PIA CEO, Kirsty Kelly, said that the Major Cities Unit was integral for informing planning policy in the light of current unprecendented growth and change across the 18 biggest cities in the country. 

“The Major Cities Unit has been monitoring established and emerging trends and collaboratingwith stakeholders to develop a national urban policy,” Kelly said.“This approach to a cohesive long term planning strategy for Australia has been seen byplanners as an indispensable tool in preparing cities for the future."

Kelly asked for clarification as to which part of the government would be undertaking the role of the unit.

“In the past couple of years the Australian Government’s interest in the role of cities hasn’tjust ended with steps towards better metropolitan planning,” she said.

The focus had also previously been on understanding the role of the individual cities in areas including workforce participation, productivity, innovation and climate change adaption.

“The Major Cities Unit has also been responsible for producing the State of Australian Citiesreports which are a pulse check on the trends and growth patterns in our major cities," she said.

“State of Australian Cities 2013 found that overseas migration accounts for half of thepopulation growth rate in Australia with population expansion in our major cities outstrippingthe national average."

Kelly noted that most of the challenges that will be seen in the future will be within the cities, particularly as they become more urbanised and require more infrastructure.

The 'State of Australian Cities 2013' report can be seen here in its entirety.

The report has several sections dedicated to housing, an issue it gives prominence.

"Increasing housing prices generate greater wealth for city homeowners and landlords. But they also exacerbate inequities within cities," the report stated.

"Moretti (2012) notes that homeowners in areas with strengthening labour markets, such as the inner suburbs of Australia’s capital cities, gain  from not only access to jobs with higher wages but also increases in property prices."

The report also covers liveability, transport and employment opportunities.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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