Monday, April 05, 2010

Second Marion Mahony Griffin Lecture in Canberra

"Marion, Miles and The Magic of America" is the title of the second annual Marion Mahony Griffin Lecture by Jill Roe, at the National Library of Australia, 21 April 2010.

Marion, Miles and The Magic of America
a talk by Emeritus Professor Jill Roe who will focus on the association of Marion Mahony Griffin and Miles Franklin in Chicago and Australia, with particular reference to Progressivism, Anthroposophy and a glimpse of the Limestone Plains.

Jill Roe, AO, is Emeritus Professor of History at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is the author of the recent award-winning biography of Miles Franklin.

Free entry

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Transport for Sydney

The NSW Government released a discussion paper, "Sydney Towards 2036" (10 March 2010) and has invited online discussion of topics, which correspond to the document's chapters, such as "Alternative transport options". Unfortunately the discussion paper has not been integrated with the discussion forum, making citizens input difficult.

The discussion paper is released as a 2.2 Mbyte PDF file. The discussion forms consist of a set of web pages. The content discussion paper has not been reproduced under, or linked from the corresponding topics. This requires the reader to first download the 30 page PDF document, find the relevant section of interest, then turn back to the web site, find the corresponding web page and then somehow relate one to the other in their comment. As an example "Integrating land use with transport" starts on page 15 of the discussion document.

The ten topics for in the report are:

  1. Planning for a growing population
  2. Making Sydney climate change ready
  3. Integrating land use with transport
  4. More jobs in the Sydney region
  5. Growing Sydney’s value
  6. Strengthening a City of Cities
  7. Meeting changing housing needs
  8. Balancing land uses on the city fringe
  9. Achieving renewal
  10. Implementation

The NSW government has an apps4nsw competition, modelled on the successful federal government gov 2.0 mashup competition. Perhaps someone would like to mash up the Sydney planning discussion paper and discussion forum.

My suggestions for the transport topic were as per my submission on the Sydney CBD Metro.

Also the book Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age (Paul Mees, February 2010) is of interest.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Sydney Metropolitan Transport Plan

The NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, yesterday released a Metropolitan Transport Plan. This is in line with my submission on the Sydney CBD Metro. The new strategy abandons the plan for an automated underground Metro by the previous NSW Premier and the highly centralised CBD land use plan it implied. The reinstated older plan is for heavy surface railways between several economic centres and the use of freeways, supplemented by light rail and bus-ways for the urban areas between them. This new (old) plan reinstates the "Cities of Cities" plan and the North West Rail link.

This is an improvement on the Metro plan which was unworkable, but places too much emphasis on the use of private cars for transport. The NSW government needs to accept that there must be large investment in public transport and that building roads is no solution. However, the major problem is not with the new plan, but with the lack of credibility the NSW government has in implementing any transport plan, having changed plans, and Premiers, several times in the last few years.

The plan makes mention of the use of ICT for transport in using GPS for prioritise traffic lights for buses and in integrated ticketing systems. However, more use of ICT could make the new plan more workable. As an example, ICT can be used to provide the commuter with better information about services.

Available are:
  1. Transport Plan for Sydney, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally, (65 Kbytes PDF), attributed to Walter Secord, 21 February 2010.
  2. Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities, (19 Mbytes, 48 Pages, PDF), 21 February, 2010
  3. $6.7 billion North West Rail Link, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally,(42 kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
  4. New $4.53 billion Western Express CityRail Service, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally (59 Kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
  5. 1,000 new buses means more services and less cars on the road, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally (45 Kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
Minister for Transport AND Roads 4
Minister for Planning 4
Challenges and Vision 5
Meeting the demands of a growing city and a changing population
SYDNEY TO 2036 11
SYDNEY TO 2020 13
Where we are now 17
Integrating Transport and Land Use Planning
Our New Approach to Transport 23
and Land Use Planning
Supporting our Cities and Centres
Urban Renewal 26
We will grow the cities within Syd ney 27
The 10–year funding guarantee 28
Integrating Transport and Land Use Planning
New Express Rail Services for Western Syd ney 30
An expanded light rail network 32
Rail to match the demands of growth 34
Better Bus Connections 36
Getting Syd ney Moving 38
Syd ney’s Iconic Ferries 39
Increasing the efficiency of the road network 40
Key Freight Projects 41
A Better Customer Experience 42
Planning the Future Transport Network 43
Next Steps 44

From: Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities, (19 Mbytes, 48 Pages, PDF), 21 February, 2010

February 21, 2010
Premier Kristina Keneally today released the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities.

It focuses on slashing travel times for western Sydney commuters, a North West rail link, an expansion of light rail, more commuter car parks, new ferries, air conditioned buses and trains.

It is a 25-year vision for land use planning for Sydney and a 10-year fully funded package of transport infrastructure for the Sydney metropolitan area and will deliver benefits for the Illawarra, Central Coast and Hunter.

Over 10 years, the plan comprises $50.2 billion in spending; of that, there is more than $7 billion in new or expanded transport infrastructure and services.

The plan is backed up by a 10-year funding guarantee and is consistent with maintaining the State’s AAA credit rating and delivering value for money for the NSW taxpayer.

This is the first time that land use and transport planning have been integrated into a single, funded plan.

Under the plan, Transport and Planning Ministers would jointly approve major transport infrastructure, ensuring Sydney’s transport needs are matched to growth. In addition, significant land use decisions will be made by both ministers.

Ms Keneally made the announcement following a specially convened State Cabinet meeting in Sydney today.

The NSW Cabinet decided to:
  • Stop work on the $5 billion Stage 1 CBD Metro;
  • Reallocate resources and funding to a range of other projects and transport plans over the next 10 years;
  • Move swiftly to support the tenderers for the major construction contracts affected by the decision to stop the CBD Metro – saying they would be reimbursed for reasonable costs incurred; and
  • Put processes in place to assist property owners and tenants who have incurred legal, valuation and other costs relating to property acquisition.
“We’ve listened to the community and made a tough decision,” Ms Keneally said.
“This is about re-allocating spending to where it is needed. Sydney is no longer one city.
“Sydney is a series of regional cities – Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith – and accessible centres like Blacktown, Chatswood and Bondi Junction.
“This is about responding to the challenges of Sydney’s growing population.”
By 2036, Sydney is expected to grow by 1.7 million to a population of 5.98 million.
“The Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities is about getting people home from work as quick as possible. By 2016, 28 per cent of all trips to work will be taken by public transport.”
The Premier’s Plan – the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities – includes:
  • The $4.5 billion Western Express CityRail Service – a separate dedicated rail track to slash travelling times from western Sydney to the city. It will achieve faster and more frequent services with a goal of up to 50 per cent more services and 17 per cent more passengers on the CityRail network on an average weekday. This will occur through:
    • o Separating a dedicated track from all other traffic;
    • o Construction of a new five kilometre priority tunnel –City Relief Line – will be built from 2015 in the city to separate western services from inner-city trains to provide shorter journey times;
    • o Construction of eight new platforms to increase capacity at Redfern, Central, Town Hall and Wynyard to relieve congestion;
    • o New express train services will be introduced for the Blue Mountains, Richmond, Penrith, Blacktown and Parramatta; and
    • o Increase CityRail’s capacity on all lines and allow the introduction of express rail services to western Sydney.
  • Start of work on the $6.7 billion North West rail link from Epping to Rouse Hill with six stations at Franklin Road, Castle Hill, Hills Centre, Norwest, Burns Road and Rouse Hill in 2017;
  • A $500 million expansion of the current light rail system – bringing its total length to 16.9 kilometres with up to 20 new stations and almost 10 kilometres of new track – a more than doubling of the distance of the existing route. The $500 million comprises:
  • Road works and infrastructure;
  • 4.1 kilometres of light rail from Circular Quay via Barangaroo to Haymarket; and
  • 5.6 kilometres of light rail from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill.
  • Improvements to bus services – costing $2.9 billion – which includes:
    • o Roll out of 1,000 new buses in Strategic Bus Corridors in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Central Coast;
    • o Bus priority measures such as GPS traffic light priority; and
    • o New STA and private bus depots.
    • Over the next 10 years, $3.1 billion for new trains and this is in addition to the 626 carriages on order;
  • Creation of the new Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority to drive future transit-oriented development and urban renewal. Authority will be similar to the highly successful Redfern Waterloo Authority and Barangaroo Delivery Authority. It will be responsible for implementing the integrated metropolitan land use strategy and will report to the Minister for Roads and Transport and the Minister for Planning with its own board with a Federal Government representative.);
  • A number of other transport related measures including:
  • o $158 million in cycleways – completing many of the city’s high priority missing links;
  • o More than $400 million in commuter car parks; and
  • o $57 million Commuter Infrastructure Fund for local transport partnerships – such as improved and easy access for people with disabilities and more awnings and shelters at rail stations;
  • $225 million over 10 years for Sydney ferries, including six vessels;
  • $536 million for motorway planning, transit corridor reservations and land acquisition for future projects;
  • $483 million from State and Federal Governments to deliver important freight works in Sydney, including a NSW Freight Plan to increase productivity and secure jobs;
  • State Government will continue to deliver $21.9 billion of joint State and Federal funded road projects; and
  • An historic partnership with the City of Sydney to develop a memorandum of understanding on public transport; movement on laneways and streets and planning issues such as pedestrian friendly areas and civic spaces.

  • To ensure that future State and Federal governments are still able to build high capacity public transport if and when they are needed, corridors and planning approvals will continue to be secured, such as metros.
    The Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities builds on the MyZone announcement on February 1.

    MyZone is a new fare structure and multi-modal system for greater Sydney to make using public transport fairer, simpler and cheaper. It is scheduled to commence on April 18.
    The new fare structure applies across the entire CityRail, State Transit, Sydney Ferries and private bus networks in the greater Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Central Coast and the Hunter.


    The NSW Government wants to know what the community thinks about the initiatives outlined in the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities plan.
    The NSW Government will simultaneously undertake the first five year review of the Metropolitan Strategy.
    Submissions and comments can be lodged at:
    Once the review of both documents has been completed, all feedback will be consolidated into a Metropolitan Plan to link our transport and land use planning.

    From: Transport Plan for Sydney, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally, (65 Kbytes PDF), attributed to Walter Secord, 21 February 2010.

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    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Bicycling the Sydney Light Rail Extension

    View Leichhardt to the Cooks River by Cycle in a larger mapIt has been proposed to extend the existing inner Sydney light rail line 5.6 km to Dulwich Hill along the old Rozelle Freight Line. Some Greenway proposals envisage the space being used for a cycle and walkway, rather than a tram line. On Sunday I folding bicycle along the route from Marion Street, Leichardt to Dulwich Hill, using the directions in "Cycling Around Sydney - 30 of the Best Rides in Sydney" (Bruce Ashley, 2007).

    The first half kilometre is a pleasant ride between the Hawthorne Canal and the embankment of the rail line, in some places through a tunnel of green. There are pedestrian underpasses allowing access to the cycle track at several points, including adjacent to the Artest. Art School. At Parramatta Road it is necessary to leave the green path and cross the very busy road and corss the bridge to the western bank of the canal. The path then continues south to Grosvenor Crescent. AT this point you can see the remaining span of the Whipple truss bridge over Long Cove Creek (1886). There is an Institution of Engineers Australia historic engineering marker on the nearby railway viaduct (unfortunately the marker is slightly crooked, not in keeping with the IE Aust standards). At this point there is no bicycle or pedestrian access along the river or rail line.

    In my view the best option would be to use the route for trams and, where possible, accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The goods line can be converted to a tram line at little cost, compared to the proposed Sydney Metro.

    See also "Leichhardt to Cooks River by folding Bicycle", in Travel Journal

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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Rail and broadband in place of second Sydney airport

    A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. This is not a new or unexplored idea, from a high speed rail line proposed in 1981, to a "East Coast Very High Speed Train Scoping Study" in 2008. But the mass production of very high speed trains in Asia, combined with advances in broadband and environmental pressures, makes it more feasible.

    The Federal and New South Wales Governments are to conduct a joint study of options for additional airport capacity for Sydney. This follows a "National Aviation Policy White Paper" (16 December 2009). It should be noted that the paper is not just talking about an airport and mentions rail transport systems. I suggest that the study should look at a train in place of a second Sydney airport. A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. Provision of wireless broadband on the train would allow the passengers to do useful work and be entertained. In addition to passengers, a high speed train can also carry high high value freight, such as priority mail, currently sent by air.

    Sydney airport already has two underground stations in place and a direct underground line to the Sydney CBD. Work would be needed on the rail corridor out of Sydney, but this is relatively minor, with work already underway for a rail freight corridor.

    Very fast trains are now a proven technology, with China and Korea mass producing adaptions of proven European designs.

    The cost of the line from Sydney to Melbourne could be covered by the sale of land in new greenfield environmentally efficient towns in inland Australia. These towns would also reduce the growth pressure on Sydney (politically the new towns would be attractive to the current NSW and Federal governments as it would shift the voting trends to the ALP in previously conservative rural electorates). Integration of the National Broadband Network in the new towns would allow rapid provision of services and jobs to the new towns and reduce the cost of infrastructure.

    New towns could be built along the VFT route incorporating high environmental and planning standards. Buildings could be designed to use the minimum of water and power, then assembled from mass produced modules. Homes could be designed to accommodate the elderly. Broadband could bring jobs, education and services to the towns quickly. Both government and commercial telecommuting offices could be provided allowing office works to telecommute most days and perhaps have to catch the train only once every few weeks. Each town could have a university campus, as well as a hospital with advanced medical facilities, linked by broadband to specalists.

    The pressure on Sydney airport will also be reduced in coming years due to changes in the aircraft used and environmental pressures. The introduction of larger aircraft, specifically the Airbus A380, will reduce the number of international aircraft movements needed. Added to this the Boeing 787 (and Airbus A350) will allow more direct international flights from other Australian airports, reducing the need for Sydney to act as a hub. Added to this, the need for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will increase pressure on airlines to have aircraft loaded to capacity to increase fuel efficiency. The requirement for passengers to pay the environmental cost of their travel will also dampen demand for flights.
    Sydney is Australia’s biggest and busiest city and Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport is Australia’s busiest airport, with over 32 million passengers in 2008–09. To ensure the future aviation needs of Sydney meet the expectations of the community and are fully integrated into long-term growth strategies, the Government, in partnership with the New South Wales Government, will work together to plan for the Sydney region’s future airport infrastructure, including how it links to Sydney’s growth centres and its road and rail transport systems. This is the first time that the two governments are aligning their planning and investment strategies. ...

    From: National Aviation Policy White Paper, Department of Infrastructure,Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, 16 December 2009

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    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Cities for People

    Greetings from the The Shine Dome in Canberra where Professor Jan Gehl is presenting the 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture. Professor Gehl conducted the "Sydney CBD Public Life and Public Spaces Survey" and is the author of "Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space". He started with Robert Mann New York traffic engineer, he proposed the "lomax" (Lower Manhattan Express way). In response Jan Jacobs rallied the neighbourhood and went on to write "The Death and Life of Great American Cities". He then went on to talk about after graduation and learning how people use architecture and what was wrong with architectural education. He strives to go beyond two dimensional rendering which architects use to worry about the dynamics of human use of architecture.

    Professor Gehl was critical of Le Corbusier's 1924 planning, where the citizens may only get some greenery on a wall to look at. He also criticised the CIAM Athens Charter 1933 which aimed to separate people and transport. From the 1950s as cars became affordable, the problem became to find more space for cars and planners had become traffic engineers. The result was tall buildings with all the spaces between them taken by cars. The dignity of people was lost in the process with the car taking precedent. Cities are valuable because they allow people to meet each other face to face and cars degrade this.

    In the eighties old urbanism was rediscovered with housing tower blocks demolished.

    The 1998 Second Athens Charter of City Planning reversed the previous charter arguing that housing and transport should be unified. Many architects were already practising this, but some not. In 2009 in Dubai, Frank Gehry is still proposing 1920s Le Corbusier style impersonal buildings. Professor Gehl described this as "Bird Shit" architecture, dropped from the sky to pollute the urban fabric. He showed the example of Kenzo Tange's, Singapore waterfront high rise.

    Professor Gehl used Copenhagen 1962 to 2009 as an example of what to do. In 1962 the main street was pedestrianised, with great success. Progressively 18 public squares were turned from parking lots into people squares. He charted the change in reasons for visiting the city, which changed from "Necessity" in 1900, "Transport" 1950, Shopping 1960, to Enjoyment in 2000. An illustration of this is the growth of the cappuccino culture. Even in Cophenagan's climate, people are happy to be outside all but two months of the year.

    In the 1960's Copenhagen considered phasing out bicycles, but this was reversed by the first oil crisis. Copenhagen developed a network of bicycle paths separated from car traffic. They also have priority traffic lights for bicycles and green lanes. The lights are timed to allow a continual flow of bicycles, with cars having the wait. This is the reverse of the trend in Beijing, where bicycles are being squeezed off the roads.

    In Copenhagen new roads are being designed with only one lane in each direction for cars, plus bicycle lanes, but in such a way they have a higher car capacity than a four lane road. Taxis and trains are also equipped to carry bicycles.

    Professor Gehl contrasted Brisbane and Copenhagen bicycle use. Bicycle use in Brisbane was much lower, with ,most cyclists being young males treating it as an "extreme sport", whereas Copenhagen has almost as many women as men at a much more relaxed pace. However, the Copenhagen cyclists looked hardy when cycling through snow storms.

    Discussing Australia, Professor Gehl detailed Melbourne's success at attracting people to the city. He saw a similar positive future for Sydney, with trams and bicycle lanes planned.

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    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Canberra planning forum agenda

    Greetings from Parliament House Canberra, where the National Capital Authority (NCA) is holding a public forum on planning in Canberra. THere are about three hundred people present. Sitting next to me is Senator Kate Lundy, chair of the parliamentary committee which delivered recommendations on planning Canberra: "The Way Forward – Inquiry into the role of the National Capital" and who talked on "Creating a New Nation’s Capital – the international origins of the Griffin Canberra Plan" recently (she is Tweeting with the tag "#NCAforum"). One controversial topic on the agenda is the new ASIO Building.

    The event did not start well with the MC giving an overly long legal statement explaining that the event would be videoed. This was followed by a brief and interesting introduction by Professor Atkin. This was a brief pause in the tedium, as then several went through the details of NCA legislation and the legalese of the NCA National Capital Plan. have been to several planning meetings and this was not one of the best. NCA might have expert planners, but they are not good communicators. The planners of the Sydney City Council, Leichardt Council and the ACT Government do a much better job. It may because local government agencies have to do it more often. As the talks progressed over 30 minutes the style got a little more relaxed and interesting. The high point for me was a comment on the volunteers who look after the Old Parliament House rose garden "with love".

    The NCA claims to be going to release an interactive online forum to allow comments from the citizens. This will be good when done. However, the organisation will need to do some work in online communication styles.

    The question I registered was: "What changes have been made to the national capital planning process to take into account the development of the Internet". With is I had in mind both the effect on the physical structure of the city and the way consultations on planning are done. AGIMO have some guidelines for online policy consultation and NCA might consider using them. However, I am sitting in the public forum wondering if I am going to get an answer. If I was a concerned citizen who could not get to the forum, I wonder if they would have any chance of an answer.

    One issue which came up was the Immigration Bridge, which is opposed by the Friends of the Albert Hall. The NCA response was that there is no current plan for the bridge and any would have to be consistent with Canberra plans.

    Also Professor Jan Gehl will present the 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture in Canberra, 30 November 2009.

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    Public Spaces For Public Life

    Professor Jan Gehl will present the 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture in Canberra, 30 November 2009. Professor Gehl is conducted the "Sydney CBD Public Life and Public Spaces Survey" and is the author of "Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space".
    Free Public Lecture: 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture (30 November 2009)
    2009 November 23

    The Australian Institute of Architects invites the general public to the 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture to be delivered by world renowned architect Professor Jan Gehl. Gehl’s vision is to create better cities, aspiring to create cities that are lively, healthy, diverse, sustainable and safe – and thereby improve people’s quality of life.

    2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture – Presented by Jan Gehl

    Time: 18:00
    Date: Monday 30th November
    Where: The Shine Dome, Gordon St, ANU, Acton

    Bookings essential. Please RSVP to

    Jan Gehl has worked with the Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne governments and has been engaged by the City of Sydney to develop a Public Spaces and Public Life survey for the Sydney CBD.

    Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said Gehl’s study “will be a landmark urban design initiative for the City to help strike a balance between people, cars and the built form.

    Jan is an Architect MAA & FRIBA, Professor Emeritus of Urban Design at the School of Architecture in Copenhagen. For over 40 years his career has focused on improving the quality of urban life, especially for pedestrians, through his work as urban design adviser to Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, New York Washington, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and many more. His writings include the “Life Between Buildings” first published in 1971, a widely used handbook on the relationship between public spaces and the social life in cities, through to “New City Life”, published in 2006, and which responds to the challenges facing cities in the 21st century (source Gehl Architects).

    National President of the Australian Institute of Architects, Melinda Dodson, will be the respondent to Jan Gehl’s lecture.

    The 2009 WBMGL is presented by the ACT Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects with the generous support of the Royal Danish Embassy and GHD Australia.

    The annual WBGML has been delivered in Canberra since 1961.Over that time it has been given by a number of distinguished individuals from many fields of expertise, including Gough Whitlam, Professor Manning Clarke and Romaldo Giurgola.

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    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Canberra planning forum agenda

    The National Capital Authority (NCA) will hold a public forum on planning in Canberra, at Parliament House Canberra, 6pm, 26 November 2009. One controversial topic on the agenda is the new ASIO Building.

    I have lodged the question: "What changes have been made to the national capital planning process to take into account the development of the Internet". With is I had in mind both the effect on the physical structure of the city and the way consultations on planning are done.

    With the availability of high speed broadband it should not be as necessary to concentrate people in one place, nor have them travel as much for meetings. As an example, NCA are videoing the Canberra meeting. Unfortunately they are not planning to distribute the video for several weeks, making it of little value for consultation purposes. Instead NCA could have streamed the event, allowing people who could not get to Canberra, or to Parliament House to take part.

    Here is the agenda for the meeting:
    National Capital Authority Public Forum 26 November 2009

    Order of Proceedings

    All times are approximate and will depend on the level of participant interest

    Time Action
    6.00 Dr Allan Hawke - Moderator:
    • Welcome
    • Format of the evening
    • Indicative date for the 2010 Public Forum
    • Introduction to the panel
    Segment 1: Functions of the NCA
    6.10 Chairman’s Overview
    NCA presentation:
    • Statutory Functions
    • Budget & Staffing
    • Designated Areas (map)
    • National Land (map)
    6.30 Open Forum
    Questions and comments from the audience relating to the general functions of the NCA.
    Topics already identified in early RSVPs include:
    • Consultation
    • Strategic Planning in the ACT
    • Sustainability
    Segment 2: Topic Spe cific Discuss ions
    7.00 Topics already identified in early RSVPs include:
    • The New Commonwealth Building Project (ASIO Building)
    • Constitution Avenue
    • Heritage Management
    • Lake Burley Griffin
    • Landscape of the National Capital
    • Parking Management
    • Planning
    • Carillon
    • Administration of Canberra Avenue
    • Monash Drive
    • World War I and II Memorials
    8.00 If necessary - Short break for tea/coffee
    8.10 If necessary - Resume Topic Specific Discussions

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    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Canberra planning forum

    The National Capital Authority (NCA) will hold a public forum on planning in Canberra, at Parliament House Canberra, 6pm, 26 November 2009. The agenda has not been finalised and input has been sought. I have lodged the question: "What changes have been made to the national capital planning process to take into account the development of the Internet". With is I had in mind both the effect on the physical structure of the city and the way consultations on planning are done.

    On 26 November 2009 the NCA will hold a public forum to begin an open dialogue about planning in Canberra, and ensuring Canberra's 'place' as the national capital. The event will take place at Parliament House commencing at 6pm. An agenda will be issued closer to the date.

    The finish time will be determined according to the level of interest, but the forum is anticipated to close between 9pm and 10pm. Tea and coffee will be available.

    The forum will provide a framework for discussion between the NCA, the community and stakeholders on:

    • the NCA and our role;
    • recent projects and work of the NCA; and
    • goals and plans for Canberra as the National Capital.

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    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Prime Minister Needs to Consider the Internet in City Planning

    The latest edition of "On Line Opinion: Australia's free Internet journal of social and political opinion" has an article on "Cities in planning spotlight". I was surprised to find the author is "Kevin Rudd", the Prime Minister:
    "Around the world, nations are grappling with the challenge of planning for the cities of the future. The forces of the global economy are driving rapid urban growth and requiring governments to rethink their approach to the planning and development of cities. ..."
    You can comment on the article, or read those of others. In my comments, I agree with most of the PM's article, but have suggested that the Internet needs to be incorporated in city planning. Projects such as the NBN will change the shape of cities. The Internet can be used to improve public transport and combat climate change, but this needs to be incorporated into city planning to have the maximum benefit.

    Examples of the Internet effecting cities are the use of WiFi on public transport increasing the acceptable journey time for commuters and the use of web booking for car share services. These are examples of changes which can be made to transport system much quicker and cheaper than building a metro or a hybrid car factory.

    In "Cities in planning spotlight" (2/11/2009) Mr. Rudd argues a larger role for central government in city planning. The government has already played a useful role is in transport planning, but needs to incorporate the Internet in planning. The NBN can be used to improve city transport and help combat climate change.

    The federal government funding Melbourne rail improvements and rejecting the Sydney Metro, has sent a clear signal that transport needs to be planned. The NSW government has since made some progress with a study of light rail:

    Recent research predicts a larger rise in sea level than previously thought. None of the proposals currently being prepared for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (CoP15) will be sufficient:

    The Internet is available and rapidly expanding, so it can be deployed to combat climate change faster than other technologies, such as Metros or solar power. Friday's "Govhack" shows how government and community can work innovatively online:

    Data from the $100M Smart Grid Project could be made available for energy saving projects:

    Web carshare projects could be funded:

    Free WiFi for public passengers and a national smart ticket could be introduced.

    Other proposals I put to the APEC Climate Change Symposium in Canberra last week:

    1. GREEN COURSE: Broaden the content and add multimedia, mobile phone and village classroom options to the ANU/ACS Green Technologies course to make it available in APEC countries at the local level:

    2. INNOVATION COMPETITION: Expand the InnovationACT project to the APEC region. In a one year trial Australian and Korea will have teams of students working online on climate change innovations. Prizes will be awarded for the best project:

    3. GREEN CERTIFICATION: Expand the COA Green ICT certification scheme to APEC, providing web tools to ICT green certify organisations:

    4. PROTECT CULTURAL RECORDS: Many cultural institutions are located near the sea and will be at threat from inundation due to climate change. Training and resources for government and non-government cultural institutions to catalogue and digitally preserve their materials can be provided. Background:

    Posted by tomw, Monday, 2 November 2009 10:35:13 AM
    ps: I am on the On Line Opinion Editorial Advisory Board, along with Mrs. Turnbull, amongst others.

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    Friday, October 16, 2009

    From Sustainable Development to a Low Carbon Strategy

    The slides from "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover" at The University of Sydney, 15 October 2009 are available from Hans Mönninghoff's web site. Unfortunately they are 3 Mbytes of Powerpoint. Here is the text:

    From Sustainable Development to a Low Carbon Strategy on a local level

    (and how to combine environment and economy)

    The example of the City of Hannover (Germany)

    Hans Mönninghoff
    • since 1989 Head of the City of Hannover Directorate of Environmental Affairs
    • since 1997 also Deputy to the Lord Mayor in his function as Chief Executive
    • since 2005 also Head of Directorate of Economic Affairs
    • until 2013 re-elected in all three functions
    1,700 employees, 370 Mio. Euro p.a. budget

    Hans Mönninghoff in the political Structure of the City of Hannover

    Hannover: A Liveable City at the Heart of Europe

    • Pop: 520,000 inhabitants (Region: 1.1 Mil.)

    City of Hannover
    • 204 km ²
    • Capital and economic centre of Lower Saxony
    • the world’s largest trade fair location
    • 245.000 jobs in service industries (e.g. insurances) and manufacturing and processing industries (e.g. automobile)
    • 35.000 students in famous universities
    Presentation Overview
    1. Four challenges of sustainable development
    2. Four important principles of Urban Planning as instrument of sustainable development
    3. Three central fields of a Low Carbon Strategy as part of Local Sustainability
    4. Three economic advantages
    Four Challenges of Sustainable Development

    Sustainability is more than environmental policy
    • stable population and social structures
    • employment
    • environmental quality, quality of life
    • stable municipal finances
    Challenge I Demographic Change 2005 - 2050
    Challenge II Employment
    Challenge III Maintaining the Quality of Urban Life, Crucial Soft Location Factors

    Challenge IV Stable Municipal Finances
    income and expenditure must be balanced !
    (1,580 billion €)

    Four Principles of Urban Planning as Part of a of Sustainable Development and low carbon strategy

    Planning principle I
    all new building developments in the region only along existing rail routes

    Planning principle II
    • minimum out-of-town shopping centres encouraging car use
    • support for city centre shopping
    • local shops
    Planning principle III
    • reutilisation of industrial wasteland; Hannover has extensive experience with decontamination of polluted sites.
    • There is a movement of older people to the City from the Hinterland
    • single-family-homes in the City, to keep young people here
    Why do we speak about low carbon strategies?

    1. Transport
    Hannover has a successful Long-Term Transport Plan with a good Modal Split
    • 27% on foot
    • 13% by bicycle
    • 41% by car - today no more cars per household than 1995 (411 per 1,000 inhabitants)
    • 17% by public transport
    Far-sighted planning for cars has averted serious traffic problems.
    • very good Light Rail/U-Bahn network with 12 routes
    • 63 Bus routes
    • 933 km of Public Transport routes in the city
    • 163 million Passengers per year in the region (+10% in the last 5 years)
    • 160 Mil. € subsidies per year
    • good connections with the train network
    2. Waste Mangment
    • Waste Quantities in the City of Hannover
    • waste avoidance
    • (- 380,000 t)
    • dumping of soil, building rubble, sewage sludge
    • (- 340,000t)
    • recycling of compost, organic waste (+ 72,000t)
    • recycling of glass, paper, packaging and scrap metal (+ 41,700t)
    Waste Treatment Concept for the Hannover Region from 2005
    • 365,000 tonnes p.a. unavoidable and unrecyclable waste
    • about 60% coarse fraction incinerated in a new waste-to-energy plant
    • about 30% fine fraction biologically treated in a fermentation plant
    • about 10% separated wood-fraction used in a special wood-fuelled power station
    Waste Treatment Centre
    • house insulation
    • construction of Low Energy Houses
    • high-efficiency heating systems e.g. decentral CHP plants
    • extension of the district heating network
    • electricity saving campaigns
    • renewable energy use
    Economic Advantage 1: more local purchasing power
    • In 2005 Hannover’s private households spent around 220 million € on gas and oil, most of which came from abroad.
    • Reducing these imports will increase local purchasing power considerably.
    Economic Advantage II: a stronger regional craft industries
    • Investment in and technologies for climate protection stimulate a dynamic added-value chain for the regional craft trades and businesses - an important job motor for the local economy .
    Economic Advantage III: more jobs !
    In the Hannover region there are already 3,000 people working in climate protection.

    In Germany jobs in wind energy is rising from 45.000 (in 2004) to 106.000 (in 2009)

    Worldwide more than 2 Mio. jobs in the solar-industry in the next 20 years (greenpeace-study)

    It is funny to read in THE AUSTRALIAN, Sept.14th 2009, The union-leader Tony Maher says “Green jobs are dopey”

    There is a lot to do !

    G20 low carbon competitiveness
    Report of the Climate Institute (Sep. 2009)

    Australia is ranked 15th out of 19 industrial countries and is the lowest of the Annex I countries of the Kyoto Protocol

    The GDP per tonne of CO2
    is very different
    in the countries
    (intelligent use of energy)
    Australia 0,8
    Germany 2,0
    Japan 3,6

    Economic growth and sustainable development are not contradictions:
    • Sustainable development means that economic, ecological and social issues are harmonised.
    • Economic and ecology are not adversaries; they enhance each other’s potential.
    • Better environmental standards and quality of life are important soft factors for the economic development of a city and a nation.
    Adapted from: "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover", Hans Mönninghoff, 2009

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    Sunday, October 04, 2009

    Paddington Reservoir Gardens and Architectural Display

    Garden supported by the Brick arches of the Paddington Reservoir GardensThe Paddington Reservoir Gardens turned out to look disconcertingly like the digital architectural rendering. The gardens are worth a visit, if only for comparison with the Basilica Cistern of Istanbul. While more than a thousand years separate the two, it is remarkable how similar the design is (as they are both underground water tanks).

    The roof of the 1880's underground water reservoir opposite the Paddington Town Hall was collapsing, so it has been partly removed to make a sunken garden. Part of the roof has been repaired and is available for cultural activities. Some of the vaults of the old brickwork have been retained to support some of the garden. Considerable effort (and money) has been lavished on the work (perhaps a bit to much money). The garden has the look of a digital rendering, with the sharp edges of the new steelwork just a little too precise and a little too designed. The patchwork of the cistern in Istanbul looks more genuine. But perhaps that takes a thousand years.

    The Saturday Paddington Markets were disappointing, due to rain. Better was the foyer of the Chauvel Cinema in the old Padding Town Hall. This art house cinema is furnished in the style of a university student share house, with sixties velour couches. The cinema is currently showing Van Diemen's Land.

    The architectural exhibitions at City of Sydney Library at Customs House is worth seeing. There are three levels of displays by young architects. The ground floor has "Testing Reality" with multiple representations of Harry Seidler's 1949 Marcus Seidler House. As well as traditional hand made wooden models, there was a Lego bricks odel, 3D digital printed plastic and one in PDF.

    "Ulterior Motives" is a display of UTS architecture students proposals for sustainable development of the Ultimo Precinct around the university.

    Least interesting of the displays was
    "Remodelling Architecture: Architectural Places - Digital Spaces" with some poorly executed digital works, reminding me of the cover of a cheap science fiction novel. One problem with all of the exhibitions was the lack of a web presence. For displays emphasising digital work, it is odd that there was no web address provided for any of the works directing the viewer for more details. This appears to be a failing in the education of architects in general. Even where there are architectural web sites, they tend to be so poorly designed as to be of little use.

    A visit to Sydney's Paddy's Markets for some fresh produce ended the day. To get around to all those, I planned the journey using the excellent, Transport Info 131500. The buses ran as per the planner, but were surprisingly crowded for a weekend. The NSW Government clearly has failed to plan Sydney's transport and the system is near collapse, despite the advertisements currently running which claim improvements in timetables.

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    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Moving Cities to Low Carbon

    Hans Mönninghoff, Deputy Chief Executive, City of Hannover, will speak on "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover" at The University of Sydney, 15 October 2009:
    Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover
    Hans Mönninghoff

    When: Thursday, 15 October, from 6.30pm
    Location: Wilkinson Building, 148 City Road, The University of Sydney
    Cost: These events are free of charge
    Contact: Sue Lalor
    Phone: 02 9114 0941

    Hannover has over twenty years of experience in planning to meet Climate Change, and a Low Carbon Future. Hannover has committed itself to a wholistic sustainable urban strategy, whose aims are derived from a vision of sustainable development and comprise protection of natural common goods, social justice, responsible lifestyles, urban planning and development, mobility, business development, sustainable local economy and global responsibility for local action.

    Hans will outline the experiences of Hannover in Climate Protection, Planning for a Low Carbon Future, the Development of Model Urban Projects, Sustainable Resource Management, and Energy, amongst others. Given how long Hannover has been working in these fields, they have learnt many valuable lessons in what to do, and what not to do, as well as some of the barriers to implementation.

    About the Speaker

    Hans Mönninghoff has been dedicated to energy and climate protection politics for over 30 years. As Deputy Chief Executive for the City of Hannover Mönninghoff established and led Hannover's Carbon Reduction Initiatives with a target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, on the back of existing successful initiatives to reduce carbon. Mönninghoff has played a key role in the development of Hannover as the greenest City in Germany with the most square meters of green space per capita.

    For more information on this talk visit or download the flyer.

    I look forward to seeing you here.

    Yours sincerely,

    Alan Peters
    Director, Planning Research Centre
    Professor, Urban and Regional Planning
    University of Sydney

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    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Boomburbs teaching how to run cities

    Browsing the new books at the University of Canberra library recently, I came across "Boomburbs: The Rise of America's Accidental Cities (James a Johnson Metro)" (Robert E. Lang; Jennifer Lefurgy, Brookings Institution Press, 2007).This argues that suburbs outside established cities have expanded to be cities in their own right. These cities do not get much attention as they do not have clearly identifiable city centres with large buildings and monuments. Instead they have suburbs with small commercial sites near freeway off ramps. While it would be easy to just critique undifferentiated urban sprawl covering the landscape, with strip shopping, there are some positives in the boomburbs. Some of the new cities have interesting administrative structures, such as outsourced services. Some emphasise the use of "home-owners associations" to deal with some of the provision of services and decision making, like Australian "bodies corporate".

    Some topics: boomburbs, edgeless cities, favoured quarter, phoenix region, accidental cities, housing hardship, unincorporated places, reluctant cities, panoramic maps, unincorporated land, urban realms, growth counties, homeowners associations


    Victorian Transport Plan

    The Victorian government has been promoting a "Victorian Transport Plan" on free to air TV using advertisements. This may have some unintended negative effects. I am in Canberra, which is not in Victoria, and yet I see the ads. This makes me wonder if the Victorian government is spending its transport money wisely.

    The Victorian advertisements looks very similar to those which the NSW Government used to promote its "North West Metro". These advertisements were designed to reassure the public that this plan was going to be implemented very soon, unfortunately this turned out not to be true.

    The Victorian government might usefully reallocate money from advertising a transport plan to replace its stalled MyKi smart card ticketing system. The Victorian Minister for Transport might like to visit Istanbul and ride their integrated public transport system, using an Akbil electronic token. Istanbul's Akbil is less technically sophisticated than Melbourne's MyKi, but has the advantage of being proved in daily use. Melbourne could benefit from such a system.

    The Victorian government is renaming Melbourne's train system a 'Metro'. A metro system is distinguished by having a high capacity, frequent service. Usually with a metro there is no timetable, with services running at specified frequencies, such as every five to fifteen minutes. The Melbourne trains are not such a system and are therefore not a metro. As with the NSW failed North West project, simply relabeling a rail line a "Metro" will not make it one. In the case of Melbourne rail, the service is provided by a private operator, who could be taken to court for falsely offering a Metro service.

    The last problem is that the Victorian government has made it very difficult to obtain the actual plan advertised. The plan is in the form of numerousdifficult to read files, some of which are very large, under an obscure link: "Download the plan":
    Summary document

    Full document

    Document in parts

    Audio (MP3) version

    Consultant reports

    1. Victorian Transport Plan Stakeholder Engagement Summary Report (PDF, 228 KB, 28 pp.)
    2. Booz and Co: Melbourne Public Transport Standards Review (PDF, 217 KB, 15 pp.)
    3. Edward Dotson: East West Link Needs Assessment Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 6 (PDF, 185 KB, 3 pp.)
    4. GHD: EWLNA and Northern Link (PDF, 13,861 KB, 81 pp.)
    5. GHD: Hoddle Street Advice (PDF, 19,168 KB, 91 pp.)
    6. Maunsell: Review and Analysis of Historical and Proposed Commuter Ferry Services on Port Phillip (PDF, 657 KB, 49 pp.)
    7. Meyrick: Economic Assessment (PDF, 321 KB, 28 pp.)
    8. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Review of Social, Demographic and Land Use Analysis (PDF, 135 KB, 22 pp.)
    9. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Additional Impacts Analysis (PDF, 505 KB, 22 pp.)
    10. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Critique of Assessment of Conventional Costs and Benefits (PDF, 1561 KB, 41 pp.)
    11. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Review of the Estimation of Wider Economic Benefits (PDF, 115 KB, 20 pp.)
    12. SGS Economics and Planning: Melbourne Employment Projections (PDF, 933 KB, 34 pp.)
    13. SGS Economics and Planning: Valuing Household Sector Non-Transport Benefits in Cost Benefits Analysis (PDF, 632 KB, 39 pp.)
    14. Summary of Model Outputs (PDF, 1,802 KB, 23 pp.)
    15. The Nous Group: Transport Abatement Wedges (PDF, 706 KB, 54 pp.)
    16. Veitch Lister: Zenith Model Establishment And Validation Report (PDF, 2,935 KB, 34 pp.)
    17. Veitch Lister: Background Assumptions (PDF, 919 KB, 11 pp.)

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    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    The Remaking of Canberra

    Senator Kate Lundy talked on "Creating a New Nation’s Capital – the international origins of the Griffin Canberra Plan" today. This far ranging talk on Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin's design for the city of Canberra was made more relevant, as it was at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, located in the centre of the city the Griffin plan created. Several of the restored original renderings of the design are on display in the archive. Senator Lundy chairs the parliamentary committee which recently delivered recommendations on planning Canberra: "The Way Forward – Inquiry into the role of the National Capital".

    This was not the average politician's talk, written by a staffer with snide remarks about the opposition. Senator Lundy discussed the detail of the origins of the Griffin plan for Canberra in scholarly detail, combined with personal anecdotes about living in the city. Kate argues the Canberra plan was a joint work by Walter and Marion Griffin. She courted controversy by suggesting that Frank Lloyd Wright's town planning designs were derivative of the Griffins (my criticism of Wright brought dismissive responses from US academics).

    The Lundy thesis is that the Griffins expressed a detailed theoretical blueprint of the role of government in a democracy via their plan for Canberra. Some parts of the plan survive, despite the intervention of the federal public service and changes in requirements. At question time there was some quibbling over details in the talk. My only correction would be to say that the flagpole on new Parliament House, which has pyramidal legs reflecting the Griffin's original design, is made from stainless steel, not aluminium.

    One questioner asked about getting Canberra planning "back on the rails", referring to the splitting of the process between the federal planners and ACT Government. Senator Lundy will be setting up a blog on her web site in the next few days for discussion of recent proposals from the federal committee. I wanted to ask a more literal question about rails, as to if there was prospect for a light rail (tram) along the approximate alignment planned by Griffin and linked to a high speed Sydney rail terminus (perhaps Australia could swap Chinese made trams and high speed trains for some more LNG?).

    National Archives of Australia will be providing an edited podcast of the talk in the next few weeks. Hopefully the text of the talk will also be provided. Perhaps the blog discussion can be expanded to encompass the "Public Sphere" web based consultation process which the Senator is pioneering.

    After the talk I walked towards Lake Burlie Griffin, with Old Parliament House to my left and the Portrait Gallery ahead and national monuments all around glowing in the spring sunshine.

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    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    International origins of Griffin Canberra Plan

    Senator Kate Lundy will discuss "Creating a New Nation’s Capital – the international origins of the Griffin Canberra Plan" in a free talk at National Archives of Australia in Canberra, 11am, 20 September 2009. One interesting aspect of this is that of the plan was being done today, how would modern technology and ideas on planning make the result different? As an example, Senator Lundy has been pioneering web based public policy consultation for government. How might more early public input change planing of a city? How might access to the Internet by government change the idea as well as the function of a capital city?

    Creating a New Nation’s Capital – Senator Kate Lundy discusses the international origins of the Griffin Canberra Plan

    Senator Lundy will present a personal perspective on the design of Canberra, making reference to the renderings submitted by Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin to the 1911–12 international design competition. The renderings are a treasured part of the Archives collection. A selection of the Griffin designs will be on display before and after the event.

    20 September 2009 – 11.00am

    Menzies Room
    Queen Victoria Terrace
    Parkes ACT 2600

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    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan

    The ACT Government has issued for a request for tender for a "Cost Benefit Analysis - ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan" (29 June 2009). There is a 35 page (109.5 kb PDF) tender document which outlines the ACT's public transport strategy and triple bottom line approach to cost benefit analysis. Unfortunately, apart from the tender documents, I was unable to find any reference online to any work being undertaken for the plan. The ACT government appears to be starting from scratch very late in developing a public transport plan.
    The ACT Government has been working on an integrated transport plan that will help create a more sustainable transport environment in the ACT. The Plan will help respond to climate change, and provide benefits to the whole community by making the transport system more efficient, effective, sustainable, and accessible. The key components of this integrated transport plan are strategies for public transport, parking, cycling, walking and transport infrastructure supplemented by detailed implementation plans for the next several years.

    As part of developing a strategy for public transport, the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) has undertaken a study entitled the ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan (PT Plan). This PT Plan has focused on a study year of 2031, with improvements identified over the twenty-two years in the future.

    The key elements of the PT Plan are the identification of:
    • a “back-bone” network structure for public transport operation. This is called the frequent network in the PT Plan;
    • an express network structure to meet commuter needs during peak periods; and
    • a coverage network to meet social goals and accessibility needs.
    The frequent network has two components: frequent rapid services and frequent local services. The frequent network refers to services that run frequently offering reliable public transport at intervals which negate reliance on a timetable. In the long term this is designed to run every 15 minutes.

    Further, the frequent network runs for a long service day, usually a span of at least 15 hours per day, 7 days per week.

    The service characteristics of this network have been identified in the PT Plan. The PT Plan has also identified the infrastructures that support the operation of the proposed network structure and service design.

    The PT Plan has recognised that there is a direct trade off between the resources devoted on the “back-bone” network and the “coverage” network. The recommended service design in the study estimates that there is a potential to achieve more than 16% mode split towards public transport by 2031.

    The implementation of this network structure, therefore, has the benefit of increasing the role of public transport within the ACT and reducing car reliance to some extent.

    Emerging Issues
    In the past few years, major policy issues such as peak oil, climate change and the social inclusion role of public transport (PT) have come to the fore of transport thinking and planning in the ACT.

    An effective public transport system can and should improve the liveability of a city, and a strategically designed PT system would help us adapt and address both sustainable and broader transport planning challenges. This is reflected in the National Capital Plan, and these sentiments have been expanded in policy documents such as the 2004 Canberra Spatial Plan, the 2004 Sustainable Transport Plan, and the Integrated Transport Framework published in August 2008.

    Such a system has the potential to support a more compact urban structure, delivering on the principles of integrated land use and transport planning espoused in the National Charter for Land Use and Transport Planning, to which the ACT is a signatory along with all the other jurisdictions. ...

    4.2 Description of Work
    The consultancy is to be based on a Triple Bottom Line cost-benefit analysis. The cost–benefit analysis should go beyond conventional factors such as travel time, vehicle operating costs and crash costs, and needs to consider other factors such as environmental impacts, potential carbon emission reduction, social benefits through improved accessibility, business opportunities and land use intensification, and municipal service cost reduction from urban consolidation.

    In developing the final report, the consultant should identify, and quantify as far as possible, the potential economic, social and environmental benefits of the PT Plan. An effective public transport system provides opportunities for urban consolidation and greater land value capture.

    The modelling of the PT Plan was undertaken by McCormick Rankin Cagney (MRC) using the strategic transport model EMME and further detailed modelling was carried out using VISUM.

    Specifically, the scope of works includes:

    · Modelling and quantitative assessment of economic, environmental and social costs/opportunities;
    · Reviewing and determining network scenarios of different frequent network coverage and network balance, based on the PT Plan and by consulting with the client;
    · Establishing a base case: “Do Nothing” to benchmark assessment;
    · Assessing potential for land value capture, urban consolidation and transit orientated development, particularly at key interchanges and corridors;
    · Developing of a comprehensive cost – benefit analysis; and
    · Suggesting the most beneficial option for the ACT Government to pursue.

    Modelling and assessment of economic, environmental and social factors:
    The analysis must include both qualitative and quantitative assessment of opportunities the implementation of the PT Plan would provide for the ACT in the areas of:

    · Sustainability and climate change benefits, including greenhouse gas reductions;
    · Potential health benefits, for example through reduced vehicle emissions and more active lifestyles;
    · Economic opportunities for the ACT and region, including integration of the city's key retail and office precincts, core education and tourism facilities, and greater development in areas bordering the route (see TOD below);
    · Social inclusion opportunities, including urban design and amenity, accessibility and affordability; and
    · Other benefits/opportunities identified by the consultant.

    In addition to quantification of the above benefits, the cost – benefit analysis will need to include implementation life cost estimates based on the resources and infrastructure costs. The analysis should address a range of input variables such as population growth and the cost of petrol, parking
    and bus fares. The cost – benefit analysis should also refer to the potential impact of carbon pricing on cost estimates in light of the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2010.

    The analysis can use the Australian Transport Council guidelines – the “National Guidelines for Transport System Management in Australia" at

    From: Cost Benefit Analysis - ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan, ACT Government, 29 June 2009

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    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    New Architecture from Berlin in Canberra

    The Gallery of Australian Design opened in Canberra last month in Canberra, with two exhibitions: Stadt und Haus - New Architecture from Berlin and Far Away so Close . These were disappointing, consisting almost entirely of not very inspiring photographs. In a case of life imitating art, this gallery appears to be designed to find some excuse for an otherwise useless building in the Parliamentary triangle, as satirised in the TV comedy The Hollowmen.

    The gallery is at Commonwealth Place, Parkes and open Wednesday to Saturday 10.00am-4.00pm. Unfortunately the gallery appears to have no web site associated with it. Perhaps the next exhibition will be better, whatever that might be (as there is no web site there is no way of knowing). But I suspect we will see this "galley" close within six months.

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    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Gallery of Australian Design

    The Gallery of Australian Design opened in Canberra 22 May 2009 in Canberra, with two exhibitions sponsored by the Goethe Institute: Stadt und Haus - New Architecture from Berlin and Far Away so Close (photographs) until June 20. The gallery is at Commonwealth Place, Parkes and open Wednesday to Saturday 10.00am-4.00pm.

    In a case of life imitating art, the gallery is in one of the buildings featured in the Australian TV comedy The Hollowmen. In series 2, episode 2 of the series, "Edifice Complex", a fictional Prime Minister wants an arts building named after him. As Canberra is already over catered with art galleries, a permanent building for temporary art exhibitions is decided on. The German term for such a building is used and much fun is had over the pretensions of German architects. The building the real Gallery of Australian Design is in is featured in the program.

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    Friday, June 05, 2009

    Walter Burley Griffin battles ASIO Plans

    The Walter Burley Griffin Society features in "ASIO bugs Canberra" on the Canberra edition of ABC TV 'Stateline' Friday 5 June at 7.30pm by reporter Melissa Polimeni. A new ASIO headquarters building is proposed between East Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way. Brett Odgers, Canberra chair of the Canberra chapter of the society was interviewed as the proposed building conflicts with Griffin's plan for the city. The Society made a submission to a parlimentary committee opposing the development, Professor WEIRICK, President, Walter Burley Griffin Society gave evidence to a parlimentary committee about this, 6 August 2008 and there was an earlier submission. Griffin would have approved of this action, having had to face many battles with the Canberra bureaucracy over his plan for the city.
    ... 4.25 The project conceived by the NCA to kick‐start the Constitution Avenue development is the new headquarters for ASIO and the Office of National Assessments, funded in the 2006‐2007 Budget.

    4.26 This high security, highly secretive building complex is proposed for the grassed woodland site east of Anzac Park East. The very idea that this project will contribute to ‘a diverse and active grand boulevard lined with shops, cafes’ and ‘provide a mix of land uses that contributes to the creation of a 24 hour community with dynamic activity patterns’ (Amendment 60, p.2) is of course, absurd.

    4.27 The ASIO/ONA building complex, with something like a 300 m frontage to both Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way, will be a fortress secured with razor wire, security cameras and crash barriers.

    4.28 This is a very bad idea and should be abandoned at once. The ASIO/ONA complex should be removed to a remote location like Campbell Park.

    4.29 To forestall a repeat performance on the part of the Federal bureaucracy, the ‘National Capital Use Zone’ should be reduced to the immediate surrounds of the Russell Defence Precinct and Constitution Avenuezoned for mixed commercial/residential uses throughout.

    4.30 Amendment 60 proposes a wall of new buildings, 8‐storeys high, along Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way, approximately double the height of the Anzac Park Portal Buildings, rising above the tree canopy of the ‘Bush Capital’ (Amendment 60, pp.11‐14).

    4.31 This will change the Central National Area forever. Above the sweep of green canopy trees, there will be a prominent wall of buildings on Parkes Way – not a unified composition like the 1960s Portal Buildings, but an assemblage of different buildings.

    4.32 It is a matter of great concern that the ‘Parliament House Vista’ is only proclaimed to the south side of Parkes Way – see diagram on p.3 of Draft Amendment 60, August 2006. This diagram has been omitted from the final NCA document. Clearly a new wall of buildings on the north side of Parkes Way will form the dominant urban edge to the views from ParliamentHouse and other vantage points in the Parliamentary Triangle. ...

    From: Walter Burley Griffin Society Submission, Professor James Weirick, President, Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc., 22 February 2007, for the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee On The National Capital & External Territories, Roundtable Public Hearing, Griffin Legacy Amendments 56, 59, 60 and 61 to the National Capital Plan, Parliament House, Canberra,
    23 February 2007

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    Making Sydney Sustainable

    Dialogues in urban planning book launchThe next presentation in the University of Sydney "Current Thinking Series" is "Making Sydney's Future Sustainable", 17 June 2009. I attended the April event with Kristina Keneally, NSW Minister for Planning and this was well worthwhile. The June event is the launch of the book "Dialogues in urban planning: towards sustainable regions" by Tony Gilmour.

    This book is timely as the federal government has promised $91 million for planning the Sydney West Metro. The funding is for pre-construction, planning, design and engineering works, so the project can be put to public tender in 2010. However, the NSW government has a poor track record in such metro projects and some wider thinking about transport and sustainable development for Sydney would be worthwhile.

    Unfortunately Sydney University Press have not managed to get the book into the catalogue yet

    Making Sydney's Future Sustainable

    In an age when the buzzword is 'sustainability', why do we continue to build unsustainable cities and regions? Are there alternatives to car-clogged streets, suburban McMansions and degraded natural environments?

    This presentation celebrates the launch of 'Dialogues in urban planning: towards sustainable regions' by Sydney University Press, a book showcasing research by staff and doctoral research candidates at the University of Sydney. The event will feature a panel of well-known Sydney scholars. The 'Q&A' format should encourage a lively debate.

    If you have questions you would like the panel to consider, please forward them to Sue Lalor when you RSVP. The panel will include:

    Professor Richard Hyde, international sustainable architectural design specialist

    Professor Peter Phibbs, pioneer of urban sustainability and climate change initiatives in western Sydney

    Professor Ed Blakely, recent 'reconstruction tsar' for New Orleans and prime mover behind Sydney's metropolitan strategy

    Associate Professor Nicole Gurran, land use planner and expert on the growth of sea-change communities

    Tony Gilmour, affordable housing expert and lead editor of Dialogues in Urban Planning

    For more information on this event, please download the event flyer.

    The event is free of charge and will be held at the University of Sydney in the Wilkinson Building, 148 City Road. If you would like to come please RSVP to Sue Lalor on (02) 9351 2686 or via email at

    *This event attracts PIA Professional Development points. ...

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