Last Friday’s 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan threw down the reform gauntlet to governments on how to plan infrastructure in all its forms across the country.
Pleasingly, Infrastructure Australia recognised that while the pandemic will inevitably leave some lasting impacts on how we live, fundamentally Australia will remain a highly urbanised country with cities that will once again experience strong growth.
If this growth trajectory is to resume following the disruptions of the pandemic, then this has a profound effect on infrastructure and city planning. Our cities will need to achieve our liveability, economic and sustainability objectives within the context of growth.
Infrastructure Australia says this will require a fundamental shift in approach by making infrastructure planning ‘place-centric’.
Instead of infrastructure agencies presenting plans focused solely on rail or road objectives, we need infrastructure plans that underpin the growth of a city or city region. This means having a focus on what’s needed to create a great place, not just a shiny new infrastructure item.
Enabled place-centric infrastructure investment will achieve stronger local outcomes, but also better economic ones too. A place-centric approach should enable us to accommodate growing urban populations in a way that delivers multiple dividends. The Australian Infrastructure Plan recommends a number of ways this could be implemented and how the success of this new approach could be measured.
The Property Council has been a vocal thought leader on how we can utilise infrastructure to create high amenity, high liveability places in our cities. We’ve made the case that this isn’t just a better way to plan, it’s also a better way to bring the community onboard to understand the benefits of growth to their quality of life.
Cities are humanity's greatest invention. Making sure our post-pandemic cities are growing and thriving will be critical to our recovery and set Australia up for long term success.