Melbourne's urban sprawl decreases its liveability

Melbourne is at risk of losing its liveability with an inexorable creep of its low density urban sprawl, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

It quoted Terry Rawnsley and Marcus Spiller in its State of Australian Cities 2013 report published recently.

“Metropolitan Melbourne may be drifting towards a seriously divided city which cannot credibly claim sustainability or superior liveability. Just as importantly, this urban structure is doing nothing to improve human capital and labour productivity at a time when the nation is in pressing need of a boost in this area,” it quoted.

“This disadvantageous pattern of urban development may not be planned and its consequences not intended. But it is certainly not accidental. Successive generations of plans for metropolitan Melbourne have promoted a poly-nucleated structure.”

It says there is more of a push towards low density satellite towns which take people away from employment – running counter the aims of a city.

“The reality, however, is that the metropolis is afflicted with relentless pressure for low density urban expansion into districts that are increasingly distant from the main concentrations of employment.”

“This pressure is fuelled by a compelling bipartisan agenda to improve housing affordability for ordinary households. Regrettably, trying to solve the affordability problem by cutting up more land on the urban fringe may be like trying to fix a flagging economy by printing more money.

“Ultimately, this approach may devalue the whole metropolis and compromise its capacity for sustainable prosperity.”

The report later says the outer fringe is dominated by new home owners though scattered with renters.

“In Australia’s larger cities, home renters predominate in the centre while outright homeowners are generally found in the middle suburbs. In the outer suburbs new homes are being purchased – this is the so-called ‘mortgage belt’. On the fringes of cities there is an outer belt of home renters. This outer belt of renters appears to be little studied,” the report said.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?