Planning for the 200-kilometre city

There is a useful volume on SEQ planning issues out at the moment, A Climate for Growth, edited by Brendan Gleeson and Wendy Steele of Griffith University, and published by University of Queensland (UQ) Press.

The volume includes two standout essays (although this isn’t any endorsement of their conclusions).  In his essay, UQ Prof. Peter Spearritt identifies the SEQ metropolis from Noosa to the Tweed as the “200-kilometre city”.  And he is able to pinpoint the date of its emergence:

Practical recognition of the 200-kilometre city came persuasively in 2005 when the Melbourne street directory firm Melway produced Brisway.  In direct competition with the UBD street directory, it had one street index for all the streets from Noosa to the Tweed River, while the UBD persists in three separate indices.

In the volume’s other standout essay, Prof. Tony Hall from Griffith’s Urban Research Program argues strongly for designing our buildings and urban landscape for our sub-tropical climate, incorporating natural ventilation and plenty of trees to provide shade, rather than building more concrete boxes we can only cool with air-conditioners.

Prof. Hall points to promising new designs that combine high-density housing designs from the UK with the best attributes of Queenslanders, which, although well-adapted to Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate, were built in low-density suburbs and weren’t particularly fire resistant.  These new housing designs, combining the best of the UK and Queensland, would result in an urban density of 34 dwellings per hectare, more than double the SEQ Regional Plan target of at least 15 dwellings per hectare.

From the diagram in the book it appears Prof. Hall has in mind large Queenslander-type buildings divided into a number of units, with surrounding green space.  While further information on this new design is needed, and hopefully forthcoming in future work from Prof. Hall and others, it is certainly worth considering in debates on urban design and planning in SEQ.

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