It sounds a little perverse, but in a political environment where it is claimed that a significant proportion of the population has tuned out, the dominance of politics in our daily lives over recent months has been suffocating. Urban Design Forum did not have the temerity of the mainstream media barons to tell you how to vote. However, it does have the responsibility to continue its advocacy for the better design of our cities and towns now that we have a new government.
Out of the welter of pre-election rhetoric and promises, it is not easy to see any clear commitment to better urban design. Stripping back the generic slogans and sound bites, it seems that precious little positively addressed to future of our cities and towns.
We presume that the new government understands the fundamental importance of cities and towns to the nation’s economy and the government’s policy commitments.
The efficiency of cities and towns is a critical factor in the nation’s economy … and therefore their effective design and planning is a pre-requisite.
The amenity and efficiency of regional towns and cities is a critical support to the agricultural and tourism sectors … and therefore their design and planning is vital.
We now know the impact on public health of the design of urban environments …. and therefore the impact on the ballooning health budget.
The functioning of population increases in regional and metropolitan cities is critically dependent on movement and connectedness and this can only be delivered with significantly expanded public transport infrastructure, and better conditions for walking and cycling.
Poor planning and design of Australian cities is one of the biggest barriers to achieving greenhouse gas targets in a cost effective way.
Governing for all means just that and includes reducing living costs for not only families but the elderly and the young by better housing, transport, community services …. which must be done in cost-effective ways, in regional and capital city contexts … and therefore rely on good urban design and planning to save money and enhance effectiveness.
Conservative governments in the UK and elsewhere understand the above statements and are acting on them.
Direct Action in urban design and planning is a fundamental economic and environmental tools for a stronger Australia and a better future.