Working paper

Transport oriented urban transformation: contribution to urban futures

26 Nov 2014

Executive Summary

Recent experience shows that action to improve the efficiency and outcomes of city transport systems, linked to well-planned urban development, can deliver substantial economic, social and environmental benefits to the community and to government.

The Australian Capital Territory Government is implementing a strategy of developing Canberra’s inner north transport corridor in conjunction with a decision to commence construction of the first stage of a light rail network between Civic and Gungahlin. The principal objective of this report is to review the experiences of other Australian cities (also citing some international case studies) and to note and review the policy objectives and, where implemented, urban outcomes in terms of land use change and measurable community benefits.

This background paper draws upon recent academic literature on transformative inner urban development considerations and provides an analysis of best practice via desktop review of comparable case studies of inner urban transformation.

The paper highlights key learnings and exemplars of best practice drawn from the case studies. The conceptual framework is urban planning and design, with the substantive analysis contextualised by a triple bottom line framework.

The urban form of an established city is principally an outcome of its development history - when the city was established, or more correctly, when it proceeded through its major growth phase – and the form of transportation that was dominant at that time. Most European cities, for example, have been in existence for centuries, if not millennia, and have a compact core most suitable for pedestrians and unsuitable for motor vehicle use. Conversely, many American and Australian cities grew rapidly in the post-Second-World-War period, aided by rapidly expanding populations, increasing motor vehicle availability and use, and cheap petroleum.

In the last three decades numerous cities around the world have realised the need to address the financial, social and environmental problems manifested with expanding urban areas and established policies to mitigate the effects of growing populations, rural migration, urban sprawl and car dependence. This has been undertaken through informed and deliberate governance strategies to improve and enhance access and mobility, population health and environmental and a response to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This study examines a number of international case studies including New York, Singapore, Portland, Stockholm, Freiburg and Bergen, together with six Australia cites, namely Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.

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