Property Council weighs into urban debate with its Great Cities research project

Property Council weighs into urban debate with its Great Cities research project
Property Council weighs into urban debate with its Great Cities research project

The Property Council of Australia has launched its Great Cities research project that aims to provide an 'outside in' perspective on Australia's cities based on megatrends, case studies and benchmarks.

The PCA commissioned Professor Greg Clark and Dr Tim Moonen of The Business of Cities to author the reports.  Prof. Greg Clark also appears alongside the PCA's Chief Executive Ken Morrison in many video summaries now published on the PCA's website

'Low public-investment model of urbanisation that served to support cities with smaller populations and less urbanised economies' is a phrase that is often referred to in the research project and reflects the light-touch approach to infrastructure provisioning and land development which Australian cities have traditionally undertaken when compared to cities overseas.

The metropolitan age, which the research papers say we are currently living in, is characterised by the global urbanisation & population growth concentrating in cities; employment growthalong with it, and in an Australian context, the PCA's Great Cities thought-leadership piece argues Australia needs to change.

Change in the way planning is conducted in multi-council metropolitan areas, change in the way we finance infrastructure and change in what we build to house growing populations.

Professor Greg Clark said Australia is not alone in facing these challenges.

All of the great cities of the 21st century have been through some version of this trek. Australian cities are starting from further behind, but they can also benefit from the experience of comparable cities around the world.

Australians are being challenged to rethink their traditional ideas about their cities, including a future that involves shifting from the low-density sprawl of the past to high quality, medium density living.

Addressing the challenges and opportunities of the metropolitan century is not just an agenda for politicians, urbanists, metropolitan elites or city planners.

It needs to be a national project that touches every aspect of public life and demands the support of every Australian.

Professor Greg Clark, Lead researcher on the Property Council's Great Cities research project

There is an emphasis on the jobs of the future contained within the research as well - with case studies highlighting how cities and metropolitan areas are working together to carve out niche & focus on a specific sector of an industry and calls for Australian cities to do the same.

The research also calls for a broad brush stroke view of making cities more polycentric across metropolitan areas and introduces an interesting term to the Australian urban debate: unicorn cities. The term relates to encouraging cities to focus on building ecosystems that foster innovation and then commercialise the ideas - Stockholm is cited as an example.

Great Cities is broad in that it touches a lot of governance, planning, business and industry issues and the full document suite along with summary videos can be seen on the PCA's website.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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Help contribute to the Urban community by leaving your comments about this article
What would you like to say about this project?
Also a good short 8 minute video on the Morning Show on 3AW website with Clarke talking about Melbourne's report card.
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