Our Future Cities Outlook


Our Future Cities Outlook

Australia’s population will increase from 25 to 53 million by 2101 mostly due to immigration. If half of this 28 million increase disperses across existing Australian cities and towns, where will the remaining 14 million new Australians live?

Our capital city populations have continued to grow with urban sprawl amplifying the effects of congestion, housing affordability, and inequitable access to infrastructure, amenity, and services. In our most populous states decentralisation has commenced by necessity, if not by name. Sydney is devolving into a polycentric city, South-East Queensland has filled corridors between three former centers, and Plan Melbourne will transform Victoria into a network of connected regional centres. Potentially doubling the population in these areas is a formidable task.

What if we could start from scratch?

We imagine a city based on a “new Australian Dream for the 21st century” that did not covet a 400sqm suburban house-and-land package but rather an urban experience that was enriching, sustainable, and respectful of our uniquely Australian people and place.

We elect to return to Albury-Wodonga, the site of the Menzies’ Growth Centre Project of 1973-2003. We reimagined it as Bungambrawatha; the original name of the region. During the pandemic, residents of Albury-Wodonga were locked down to a 50km radius of the city, creating a border-bubble straddling two (arbitrary) state jurisdictions. This area currently accommodates 132.2 people per square km. What would it look like if it accommodated 22,400 people per sq km (inner-city Melbourne), and if it could be a self-sustaining city?

  • If we apply the principles of good precinct design to guide our founding principles:

  • Defined urban boundaries to preserve outlying hinterland and rehabilitate degenerative land,

  • Defined jurisdictional boundaries with a single governance, much like the mega-councils of Brisbane or Auckland,

  • Densification of the urban core with emphasis on an urban rather than suburban experience,

  • Unlimited height, with generous separation between towers, to release the ground plane for public space and activation,

  • Reinforcing existing social concepts and norms by evolving, not reinventing,

  • Integrating all modes of mobility (air, road, rail, waterways, bikes, walking paths) at a local level,

  • Recycling waste to create a self-sufficient circular economy,

  • Decarbonising to fuel leisure and health with clean air and low toxicity,

  • Government investment in “next generation” infrastructure to achieve these principles and

  • Using data to manage the city, monitor activity, and drive efficiency.

What will result is a new city for the 21st century. One which unlocks the potential of place, embeds sustainability and resilience into its core, and drives a step change in industry productivity and innovation.

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