The papers presented at the 2015 State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 7) were organised into seven broad themes but all shared, to varying degrees, a common focus on the ways in which high quality academic research can be used in the development and implementation of policy.
Researchers have found that open space provision (e.g. parkland) is vitally important for meeting the social, economic and environmental needs of urban populations globally. The international literature on park provision identifies many factors that influence a local government’s ability to provide adequate parkland including political agendas, governance tools and resources.
The highly populated coastal cities and towns in Australia are also most vulnerable places to climate change induced by increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emission through anthropogenic activities. It is estimated that urban areas account for 60-80% of the global energy use and emit more than 70% of global greenhouse gases.
This study examines the emerging shift towards distributed infrastructure systems and the parallel transition that is occurring towards decentralised forms of governance to support climate change strategies such as, low carbon urban development.
Historically, Town Planning has been concerned with protecting public health and safety. Indeed, earliest town planning legislation in the UK grew out of public health legislation. Over time planning broadened its focus and the role of planners by adding new areas within its scope of concerns.
Urban centres are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. In Australia, Building energy use is responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more than half of which comes from the residential sector (CIE, 2007). In Australian residential homes, about two thirds of energy is used for heating and cooling (incl. water) (CIE, 2007).
Given the increasing evidence of an ailing earth, many would today agree and accept that there is a need to move towards a more sustainable form of development. While change has been inclined towards a top-down approach, it is equally important to work bottom-up, i.e., through communities, whose support underpins sustainability policies.
Urban fringe residential estates continue to dominate the residential development sector in Australia. Several practice based sustainability assessment tools have recently been developed which acknowledge the impacts of such developments and attempt to improve outcomes.
The City of Greater Geelong has been exploring walkability in an attempt to better cater for the walking dependant population, improve rates of walking in the overall population, and achieve better population health. At the same time we have sought to achieve better overall environmental performance while minimizing the cost to financial and health environment and community.