Defending Sustainable Urbanism


Sustainable urbanism is fast becoming a casualty of the financial squeeze. Local authorities are cutting important strategic initiatives and, in some cases, sprawl is set to make a comeback by loosening growth boundaries. To counter this requires efforts which go beyond the conventional urban design approaches. Urbanists need to illustrate:

  • How sound economics can be achieved by combining selective austerity measures with selective strategic investment.
  • Why integrated approaches are required within local government if more efficient integrated environments are to be delivered.
  • How ‘leveraging’ off external entities can achieve substantial community benefits with less resources.

Only then will politicians make more consistent and unbiased decisions.

To be durable these processes should be ‘bottom-up’ in that they understand local and place-based issues before considering organisational and budgeting responses. They should also be ‘inside-out’ and work with council staff to addresses internal disconnects before considering  external strategies.

These methods have been developed and applied by Urbanismplus in Australia and New Zealand. See Local Government Magazine for the full article, and also see earlier article, by Kobus Mentz and Susannah Goble.