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


Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030

“The Hon. Tony Burke MP, Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, and co-chair of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, has released Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030 on behalf of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council. The strategy is an overarching national policy document guiding how governments, the community, farmers and other land managers, industry and scientists manage and protect Australia’s plants, animals and ecosystems over the next 20 years.”

Driven Apart: How sprawl is lengthening our commutes and why misleading mobility measures are making things worse

From the USA

This new report from CEOs for Cities, Driven Apart, shows that the solution to our traffic problems has more to do with how we build our cities than how we build our roads. 

The Urban Mobility Report produced by the Texas Transportation Institute presents a distorted picture of the causes and the extent of urban transportation problems, concealing the role that sprawl plays in lengthening travel times, and effectively penalizing compact cities.  We need new and better measures of transportation system performance that emphasize accessibility, rather than just speed.

Download the full Press Relase, Executive Summary and Report here

Sustainability perspective of supporting local, independent businesses, as opposed to chains

Philip D. Allsopp, D.Arch., RIBA, FRSA

Phil is a committee member of the 2011 Conference at Noosa in Qld Australia, and a keynote speaker, he will be speaking at  Arizona American Planning Association (APA) State Conference, in Phoenix, November 2010

Sustainability is often described as having an economic, social and environmental component (and land use would affect all of these).

The session will include a discussion of the benefits, from a broad sustainability perspective of supporting local, independent businesses, as opposed to chains. For planners, there are several implications, from economic development (for instance, relating to the fact that, dollar for dollar and square foot to square foot, considerably more money is returned to the local community from local businesses as from chains) to environmental (a greater ability to do adaptive reuse) to the land use implications of supporting smaller, independent businesses and the impact on creating sustainable, walkable, more attractive commercial and activity areas.

As “Local First” efforts multiply, both within Arizona as well as nationally, they will increasingly have an impact on planning efforts and, conversely, planning decisions that will have impacts on the ability of local businesses to survive and prosper. BlakelyCityTalk on air 8:00 PM Sunday night Sydney, Aus time


Ed Blakely

“This weeks show is about is a Bigger Australia and/or a Better Australia. In keeping with the focus the show is about cities and communities and how we live in them with good examples from around the world presented to help make our cities and neighbourhoods better places to live, work and play. However, how big is too big is the issue this week in dry parched Australia which like Europe and he United States is receiving new migrants with little or no capacity to support them.”

Guest this week will be Brian Haratsis his latest book is “Australia 2050” .

Click here to visit the site and download the podcast or play the radio show. Ed will keynote at the Making Cities Liveable Conference in Noosa in 2011