Build it and they will walk: the suburbs that foster good health

Jason Dowling  |  City Editor for The Age

If you design suburbs so walking to public transport, shops and parks is an easy option, people will walk – that is the simple and clear finding of long-term Australian research.

urban sprawl

Health and planning experts are urging governments to make health a feature of planning laws and city growth strategies.

Researchers monitored the amount of walking by more than 1400 people building homes in new developments in Perth. Readings were taken before moving in and about 12 months later.

The results, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, showed transport-related walking declined and recreational walking increased.

Read the full story here


ABS population figures: we’re growing, especially in WA

12 February 2013 — Western Australian continues to record the fastest population growth rate of all states and territories, 3.3 per cent, according to the latest demographic figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that will have an impact on planning for a more sustainable development industry.

Tasmania recorded the slowest growth rate at 0.2 per cent.

The figures, which cover from 30 June 2011 to 30 June 2012 and were released in December last year, found that Australia’s population increased to 22,683,600, up by 359,600 during the 12-month period.

This places the annual population growth rate for the year ended 30 June 2012 at 1.6 per cent, up from a low of 1.1 per cent for the year ending March 2011.

The Bureau says the growth of Australia’s population has two components: natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) and net overseas migration.

To read the full story, click here

Fat of the land: how urban design can help curb obesity

5 July, 2012 Billie Giles-Corti and Carolyn Whitzman, University of Melbourne

Billie Giles-Corti and Carolyn Whitzman discuss ways to change our obesogenic environment through urban design while Jo Salmon looks at the role physical activity and exercise play in healthy lifestyles.

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it – Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic.

Compared with our grandparents, feeding, clothing, and entertaining ourselves has never been easier: a one-stop weekly shopping centre trip in a car, facilitated by convenient parking and light-weight maneuverable shopping trolleys that allow us to whiz around the supermarket with ease.

In fact, these days people don’t even need to leave home to do their food shopping, order takeaway food, bank or pay bills, shop for clothing or household goods, “visit” with their friends, read the newspaper or amuse themselves. Using the internet or telephone, activities that used to involve some level of activity or a short walk, can be done with “anywhere, anytime” convenience.

Read the full article in The Conversation here

Helping People To Walk And Leave The Car At Home In Camberwell

Media Release

Joint release with: Senator David Feeney, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator for Victoria

Victorian Senator David Feeney is pleased to announce that Camberwell will soon be home to a new project showcasing the best in urban design, planning and renewal. The Pedestrian Network Demonstration Project is funded as part of our efforts to make the nation’s major cities more productive, sustainable and liveable.

The Gillard Labor Government is contributing $1.2 million across metropolitan Melbourne and Geelong towards the project to encourage more people to walk between local destinations, rather than take the car.

The City of Boroondara is one of four local councils where the Principal Pedestrian Network Demonstration project will be rolled out.

The process involves identifying key routes for pedestrians and then improving those routes so that they are safer and more appealing to use.

Until now, access to the local activity centre of Camberwell within the Boroondara Council area has been dominated by private car. The project will provide locals with greater opportunity to walk.

“Pedestrian activity is regarded as a barometer of the health and economic success of urban centres,” said Minister Albanese.

“This project is a great example of the cooperation needed between governments and communities as we tackle the big challenges facing our cities such as climate change, traffic congestion and a growing, ageing population.”

As one of the most urbanised societies on the planet, Australia’s future economic prosperity and social cohesion will depend largely on how successful we are at making our cities work better.

“Projects like this in Camberwell will help ensure that Melbourne remains among the most liveable cities in the world,” Senator Feeney said.

“That is why Federal Labor has ended the Commonwealth’s self-imposed, decade long exile from our major cities and is again engaging with the states, territories and local councils to bring about a much needed urban renaissance.”

$1.2 million will be provided to four local council areas including the City of Boroondara, Frankston City Council, Shire of Yarra Ranges and City of Greater Geelong. Pedestrian Network Demonstration Project is funded under the Gillard Labor Government’s Liveable Cities program.

E-health record plan must be uniform, says privacy commissioner

Karen Dearne From: The Australian November 08, 2011

PRIVACY Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim  has called for a unified approach to privacy protections in his response to the Gillard government’s draft legislation for its $500 million personally controlled e-health record program.

Read the full story in the Australian

Full Conference Program Available from the Healthy Cities Website

With speakers from the USA, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, and Posters from South Korea, China, Japan and Iran, this year’s conference will feature over 70 presentations and be our most comprehensive yet.

This year we have also included a delegate forum to identify actions and goals we can address over the next twelve months.

The Forum will be filmed and added to the 2012 Conference website. You can also access the full program, along with registration details which this year includes;

* All conference sessions. * Conference materials, including satchel and handbook with abstracts. * Softcopy of the book of proceedings (available four weeks after the conference). * Morning and afternoon teas and lunch for the duration of the conference. * Attendance to the Welcome Reception. * Full delegates will have access to selected steam presentations in our online archive (username and password supplied after the conference).

Who is Attending? Policy Makers, Politicians, Senior Public Servants, City Governance Personnel, Public Health Administrators, Academics, Waste Management Professionals, National Resources Administrators, Planning Professionals, Environmental Groups, Engineers, Urban Designers, Consultants, Social Planners, Disaster Management Groups, Elected Representatives, Mayors, Non-Government Agencies, Community and Industry Groups, Coastal Resource Managers, Place Makers and Sustainability Practitioners.

The conference will be in beautiful Noosa, and will include an optional tour of the Biosphere.

Program Available Here

Technology and its Place in Healthy Cities

Local Ecommerce and Sustainable Towns – Will our Regional towns and communities be saved by digital highways?

The evidence is clear. Regional identity and lifestyle is in decline. This decline has been long term and gradual. The issue is what are we going to do about it? Decades of concern and initiatives have done little to strengthen the future prosperity of regional communities. To turn things around and deliver the community’s aspirations for the future of their children and grandchildren will clearly require a new approach.

How do we….create great regions to live, work and play… places of Opportunity & Lifestyle?

This is a familiar vision for most regional communities and is a very practical definition of what “sustainability” means at the grassroots. Recent natural disasters in regional Australia have only added to the pressure on regional communities and the vitality of local business.

To counter the momentum of long term economic and social decline it will require strategic interventions of significant scale and impact. In regional communities the critical focus of sustainable growth, where change strengthens the community, centres on the ability deliver well paid local jobs for families across the region.

Strategic interventions need to deliver new skills, increased productivity, increased internet capabilities and the adaption of regional identity and lifestyle in a world subject to climate change and increasing energy costs.

The integration of Local Ecommerce into regional towns and communities may well be a once in generational opportunity to revitalise regional Australia. But what works in the city is different to what works in the regions. This paper provides insights and tips to how to develop local ecommerce that will promote the growth of regional local business and why this approach needs to be significantly different from city based local ecommerce.

Robert Prestipino, Director, Vital Places QLD will speak at the Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference

Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th July  2011 at the  Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa NOOSA, Queensland