Five necessary reforms for the Minister for Cities and the Built Environment

Five necessary reforms for the Minister for Cities and the Built Environment
Five necessary reforms for the Minister for Cities and the Built Environment

GUEST OBSERVER

The Australian Institute of Architects welcomes Prime Minister Turnbull’s appointment of Jamie Briggs as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment.

Announcing Minister Briggs appointment as part of the cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, Mr Turnbull said:

Historically the federal government has had a limited engagement with cities, and yet that is where most Australians live, it is where the bulk of our economic growth can be found. We often overlook the fact that liveable cities, efficient productive cities, the environment of cities, are economic assets.’

Australia is a highly urbanised nation and as our towns and cities develop, we face a number of key challenges. From climate change, population growth and an ageing demographic, to an increasing demand for infrastructure, housing affordability pressures and traffic congestion, our cities need the right strategies, policies and processes in place to create a built environment that can sustain us into the future.

The Institute has lobbied for the creation of such a role for many years, through its own policy activities as well as through its involvement with bodies such as the Urban Coalition and ASBEC.

This is very welcome news. A federal champion is crucial in driving reforms that better connect built environment policies and programs across all levels of government. The federal government can now play a key role in ensuring Australia’s built environment will function as well as it can.

This role should drive reform and champion quality design. Priorities for the department should include:

  • strategic planning for our built environment to promote globally competitive, sustainable and socially inclusive urban centres and towns
  • increasing density through design to capitalise on the role of good design to accommodate urban growth
  • championing world-class urban design and architecture to help solve our urban growth challenges and enhance our international design reputation
  • the adoption of an urban design policy
  • the appointment of a federal government architect to further promote high quality buildings and public spaces, and provide expert, high level strategic advice.

The Institute will seek a meeting with the Minister to ensure that the profession is represented in policy development.  

David Parken is chief executive officer, Australian Institute of Architects, and can be contacted here.

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Malcolm Turnbull Urban Design

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