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Property Council of Australia: Building Cities for People Not Yet Born

Everyone is talking about cities, but it’s time to start developing strategies that tackle our great urban challenges – and to do it now, says chief economist of Urbis, Nicki Hutley.

Hutley (pictured) has been confirmed among the strong line-up of speakers at The Property Congress in October, and will be exploring how we build cities for generations that don’t yet exist. Nicki Hutley

“We hear a lot of buzzwords and big picture ideas being bandied about – words like agile, resilient, sustainable, liveable and innovative,” Hutley says.

“But we need to drill down to strategies that bring these ideas to life by examining the economic, environmental and social outcomes and implications for our cities.”

For example, no one would disagree on the importance of investment in infrastructure, she says.

“But what do we mean by infrastructure? We keep talking about transport, but the United Kingdom is testing driverless cars which will be on the roads in 2017.”

While our driverless future faces a few hurdles, it is not far away, Hutley says, and when it arrives, it will have a dramatic impact on the way we use our roads.

“We always underestimate the pace of change – and this makes it very difficult when planning our cities.”

Hutley points to other trends – from collaborative consumption to teleworking – that have had a seismic impact on how we build.

“If we collate all the technological change over the last decade, the biggest message we’ve got is that we need less space than we did 20 or 50 years earlier. Offices are smaller because people are hot-desking and teleworking. Virtual shops are shrinking the retail footprint. We are starting to look at higher density schools, and the first high-rise schools aren’t far off. Hospitals and aged care facilities take up a lot of space too, and we need more efficient services to help people stay in their homes for longer.

“Crowding more people into our cities is more sustainable – both environmentally and economically – but we also need to think about how we maintain their liveability. Can we still afford the green spaces? Can we afford not to have them? There are economic consequences for each decision we make.”

To read more, please click on the link provided: Property Council of Australia, 29 March 2016