Sprawling from Grace

Although sprawl exists almost everywhere, there are three nations in the world where it is particularly ubiquitous: the United States, Canada, and Australia.  I’ve written a few things on the first two, but haven’t gotten many articles from the third, so I was particularly excited about this article from John Thistleton of the Canberra Times.  He lists multiple examples of how greenfield development on the fringe of the metropolitan area is sucking the vitality from the city of Canberra.  Although Canberra planners talk a lot about good planning, what actually gets built is more car-dependent sprawl.  From the article:

The trend defies an overwhelming consensus that cities must become more dense if we’re to address climate change. Instead of developing Canberra for walking, cycling and public transport, we’re creating an unsustainable city by building new suburbs every year on the city’s fringe, says the Australian Institute of Architects’ ACT chapter president, David Flannery. ”Looking at a map of the density of the city, you wouldn’t know where the centre is,” he says.

Researchers in the area have found that density could increase by 50% and not impact green space.  Consultants from Parsons Brinkerhoff in the States have advised the city to follow Portland‘s lead in creating a city friendly to transit, pedestrians and bicyclists.  Australia isn’t as deep in the sprawl mess as America is, so hopefully it will be easier for them to get out of it.


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