A vision splendid for a sustainable city

EWA KRETOWICZ CITY REPORTER – 31 Aug, 2010 12:00 AM

Ripping up roads and replacing them with trams, increasing high-density living in Civic and ending urban sprawl in greenfield developments would make Canberra a ”sustainable” city.

The biophilic city design, which would move the city from car dependence, was suggested yesterday as a way to deal with threats from climate change, pollution and peak food, water and oil.

It was one of many featured on the first day of the International Design Conference held at the National Convention Centre.

Environment and sustainability expert Darren Bilsborough said the ACT Government needed to make clear decisions about planning as it approached the challenges of increasing traffic congestion, poor public transport and affordable housing.

The adjunct professor from Curtin University said his research showed fringe developments were not sustainable as a diminishing supply of oil would make daily car travel too expensive. The hidden cost of these developments also made them more expensive than urban infill.

Professor Bilsborough’s research found people who commuted more than one hour to work each way experienced negative heath impacts.

He said Canberra was at a tipping point.

”There is obesity issues, there is also the issues of stress and depression of feeling isolated,” Professor Bilsborough said.

The hour commute to city centres would become a reality as congestion made travel more time consuming.

The solution was to rip up roads and use that space for trams and additional housing in city centres.

Darren spoke at the International Urban Design Conference in 2010.

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