Extract from an article by Linley Lutton
Australia will probably look back on the current period of attempting to retrofit its capital cities as a great demonstration of poor city planning.
Shallow planning ideology rather than common sense is the driver. Justified in the name of sustainability, the results are often substandard living environments showing no relationship to the local context.
Sir Peter Hall, one of England’s greatest modern-day planners, had the view that city planning had lost its way and planners lacked an understanding of what makes good cities. This is evident in Australian cities today.
Fifty years earlier, Jane Jacobs, too, had exposed the continual failure of city planning in the US.
Modern young cities typically have two broad planning failings: the distribution of single-use land zones, and the promotion of car dependency. This dispersed city form means we have to work, sleep, shop and socialise in different parts of the city. Everyday life depends on ever-expanding roads and freeways. Sociologist Ray Oldenburg warned that the time spent travelling within the city shrinks personal and community development time.
Planners now wish to correct past errors by increasing densities, discouraging car dependency, and mixing land uses. In principle, these are sound planning strategies inspired by observing older European cities.
What planners fail to appreciate is the many unique historic, cultural, geographic and climatic variables that gave rise to the compact European city form. High-density living works in European cities where streets are at human scale, buildings are interesting and public meeting places abound.
The Australian approach is very different. In Australia, high-density means small high-rise apartments, jam-packed home units and minimal public open space..(continues)
SOURCE: Linley Lutton, “Retrofitted cities are forcing residents to live with planning failures – we’re due for a rethink”, The Fifth Estate, 07 Sept 2017
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