It’s a truism that development costs are much higher on the urban fringe than in inner areas. But there’s little evidence the claim still holds and good reason to think it’s no longer the case
A study of urban form in the US concludes that increasing the density of population and employment is a slow way to significantly reduce car use compared to directly pricing driving
It would be a pity if the “Sky Rail” brouhaha in Melbourne over removal of level crossings were to damage the potential use of elevated rail for totally new rail lines in all Australian cities
There are, but in Victoria those limits appear to be very elastic.
Because it controls the use of land, the whole complex edifice of planning regulation touches to a greater or lesser extent a lot of the things we do.
In a newly released report commissioned by COAG, the Productivity Commission gives us an insight into how the nation’s planning agencies think the land use control system influences our lives.
The report, Performance Benchmarking of Australian Business Regulation: Planning, Zoning and Development Assessments, examines the regulatory frameworks of each jurisdiction, the processes for supply of land, the bases for assessing developer contributions, compliance costs for business, and competition issues arising from planning decision-making.
As part of its investigations, the Commission asked each State and Territory to answer this question: “To what extent can government use the planning, zoning and DA system to positively influence the following challenges”?
The answers each jurisdiction provided to 23 “challenges”, graded from “no effect” through to “major effect”, are shown in the accompanying chart (copied from the report). The survey was completed between October and November 2010, prior to the Victorian State election.
Bear in mind that the survey relates specifically to the powers of land use planning agencies i.e. not transport or other agencies. Also, the planners were specifically asked about the scope to positively influence each of the challenges. There are some interesting claims here and some equally interesting comparisons between States and Territories.
There’s a consensus that, given (presumably) the right policies, land use planning can have a major positive influence on managing greenfield development, accommodating population growth, managing the transition to higher population densities, providing diverse/appropriate housing, and protecting biodiversity.
By and large I’d agree with that. My only caveat would be the understanding that some of the benefits will come from reducing rather than increasing the degree of planning intervention. A prime example is the many restrictions on constructing higher density housing within established urban areas.
Where the survey gets really interesting is outside these five key areas. Victoria in particular stands out from its peers. Read the rest of this entry »