Density threatens liveability if we miss the big picture of how a city works – The Conversation

Extract from an article by Diego Ramírez-Lovering

Melbourne has been repeatedly awarded the accolade of world’s most liveable city. This is no doubt due in large part to the excellent public domain Melbourne offers. Its parks and leafy suburbs provide green amenity, and the city has great public programs through its libraries, cultural buildings and an ongoing calendar of events.

However, Melbourne is growing rapidly in a way that threatens this overall liveability.

The density of existing suburbs is increasing largely through the unco-ordinated development of small “mum-and-dad” developer-builders that replace one house with two or three. This ad-hoc development pattern is eroding the amenity and character of the suburbs. For instance, established tree canopies and gardens are gradually being lost, to be replaced by concreted areas.

At the same time, large housing developments are being built on newly subdivided land on Melbourne’s fringe. These often lack essential services as well as public and cultural spaces and programs.

The combination of these development approaches is threatening overall city liveability.

Debates in our city about housing futures, including themes of affordability, sustainability and resilience, are increasingly considering wider notions of amenity and services. It is important to shift the tenor of this discussion further. This requires that issues of public space and public domain be placed at the centre of debate and action…(continues)

SOURCE: Diego Ramírez-Lovering, “Density threatens liveability if we miss the big picture of how a city works”, The Conversation, 08 Dec 2016

Link to full article

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