Conference paper

Tipped off: residential amenity and the changing distribution of household waste disposal in Melbourne

Amenity Cities and towns Urban planning Waste management Melbourne
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Abstract: Landfills have long been understood to have negative amenity effects on surrounding areas, both directly and through information about their presence. Externalities include odour, noise, litter, traffic, and real or perceived risks from methane gas or groundwater leachate. It is therefore not surprising that landfills are associated with Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) conflict. Their status as Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) is both reflected in, and reinforced by, the fact that externalities may be capitalised into lower residential property values. Regulations to mitigate the effects of waste on people and environments are one factor in how larger, more engineered, and often more contentious facilities have emerged (Lim and Missios 2007). Hedonic pricing and repeat sales studies establish that homes closer to landfills – and particularly to larger landfills with effects perceived for longer distances – sell for less than similar homes further away (Havlicek and Richardson et al 1971; Nelson et al 1992; Hite and Chern et al 2001; Lim and Missios 2007; Akinjare et al 2011). Landfills follow life cycles, but the literature is less clear about the effects of landfill closures and conversions (Kinnaman 2009). This paper explores how the geography of household putrescible waste disposal facilities (tips and landfills) has changed in Melbourne over the period 1966 to the present; and how this may relate to residential amenity. Many scattered tips in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, for example, are now urban parks. Future research seeks to quantify these relationships using repeat‐sales residential property data. In this paper, data on 150 facilities and their life cycles has been collated from EPA licensing and post closure data; and from a series of Melways street directories beginning in 1966. A key finding emerging is that over time, the number of waste sites in Melbourne has reduced, while their size and concentration has increased. Drawing on Census data, it appears that facilities with substantial numbers of nearby residents are listed as priority sites, with frequent odour and air quality complaints. The importance of potential conflict between landfills and residences in Australian cities is underscored by the Stephenson’s Road containment breach, and by ongoing opposition to proposed landfills.

Based on data

8698.0 - Waste Management Services, Australia, 2009-10

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