Problems with fringe-dwelling are peripheral (OpEd in The Age)

I have an OpEd in The Age this morning which the editor has titled Problems with fringe-dwelling are peripheral. That’s quite clever! My OpEd seeks to cut through the hyperbole and examine the issue of sprawl dispassionately and logically. Unfortunately this time The Age doesn’t appear to have made provision for people to make comments – that’s usually a lot of fun. (EDIT 1: I see that The Age has now activated the comments section but its after midday so I suspect the horse has bolted. Edit 2: see further post on sources here)

4 Comments on “Problems with fringe-dwelling are peripheral (OpEd in The Age)”

  1. Tanya says:

    It’s good to see an article that’s based on research & facts. Having worked with communities in the outer western suburbs however, I know how hard it is for those people who don’t have a car. Even if there is a car in their household, they don’t necessarily have access to it- women who don’t drive, people with disabilities or young people, may depend largely on woeful public transport. Amenities in the outer suburbs have gradually improved, but many people are missing out on what inner suburbs have in abundance. Pressure needs to be increased on all levels of government and the private sector to improve the facilities and opportunities lower socio-economic areas.

    • Alan Davies says:

      Completely agree. About four fifths of that 6% of outer suburban households who don’t have a car are on low incomes. My argument is that rather than say people can’t live in the outer suburbs, there should be better services like public transport. In fact, since we’re only talking about a relatively small number of households, it might cost the State less to provide them with subsidised taxi vouchers instead.

  2. […] that it increases sustainability by reducing sprawl is over exaggerated (I address this issue in an OpEd the The Age is planning to publish as part of its current series on Project Melbourne, so I’ll […]

  3. Russell Pollard says:

    I wanted to let you know that I found your article in The Age “Problems with fringe-dwelling are peripheral” thought provoking and enlightening. It certainly gives one reason to think further about some of the assumptions made all too easily – and all too often – about the intricacies of urban development.

    I can’t believe how touchy some of the largely anonymous responses were in the comments section of The Age Online. Obviously this is a minefield where entrenched radicals, vested consultancies and the usual tedious noise makers – people seemingly without any new insights – wait in ambush for anyone who lifts his head above the horizon to examine the increasingly repetitious messages extolling other people to move to Ballarat or Moe, where they’ll presumably find better jobs, ample parking and, for good measure, be able to entertain themselves in the long evenings with the internet and regional TV, or by joining other locals with a keen interest in local history and community theatre!

    Great for some but a horror scenario for others. And if I had to do it I’d choose Eltham over Moe any day, not because I have anything against Moe [love the place – been there twice] . . . I’m just not related to anyone down that way and my occasional trips to the Eltham cemetery would probably cease altogether if I had to trek all the way up from the LaTrobe Valley to get there.

    Thinking about tackling what people actually do, to balance staying close, or at least to staying in some reasonable proximity to work, friends, family, social supports, lifestyle interests and so on, seems to get dumped in the too hard basket as does thinking of ways to create sensible, viable possibilities for all of us, and most especially the younger and older members of our community, to live where they feel they have their best chances for a reasonable life that has some personal and social value to them, including some prospect for continuity.

    “Continuity” is a critical human value to just about all of us, albeit expressed in many different ways, as we work through the stages of our lives. It’s also obvious that some “solutions” to where people live pay far less, if any, attention to this important idea than others.

    One of your respondents even went so far as to say that older people should be moved from the valuable spaces they occupy because “location should be dictated by need”. He probably never visits his older family members and apparently wants them kept at some distance from where he resides. His needs are clearly greater than everyone else’s needs. Seems like the tyranny of someone’s clever sounding general principle being applied with a baseball bat.

    Your article was also optimistic and encouraging and you should keep it going. Even if your notion of relying on evidence puts you outside the particular cabal who apparently have all the evidence they are capable of dealing with. You should persevere, and with our gratitude!



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