Posted in Life, Melbn
It’s a tricky concept – living in such a way that minimises one’s impact on the planet, whilst still being able to live a sane and relatively “normal” life. We own a car (an efficient Diesel auto), but I take public transport to work nearly ever day. I support road tolls as a way of discouraging driving in the city. As much as is practical, we buy locally-produced, organic fruit and vegetables. Recycling is okay, but not buying stuff in the first place is better.
Generally, Australia (and Melbn in particular) isn’t so good at this kind of planning. Perhaps it’s a geography thing: there’s nothing stopping Melbn from sprawling endlessly in nearly every direction (much like Los Angeles). I think Vancouver’s planning is better, simply because it can only really sprawl in one direction; the other three are blocked by mountains, water and the USA. Planning for the future in some kind of sensible way is a necessity.
The poor, unsustainable planning in my adopted home of Melbourne really bothers me. One can drive 90 minutes in nearly any direction from the CBD and still be in suburbia – more during the evening rush. New estates are being built huge distances away from where people work, and no new trains are being built to connect them to the city. The existing train network isn’t being used as efficiently as it can be. Very little money has been spent on infrastructure in the past 20 years – while at the same time, we’ve spent $500 million on a new ticketing system that no one wants and is a year overdue, and still has problems. Architecture is just starting to experiment with “greener” buildings, but nothing in the mainstream is going far enough. There’s discussion about a new freeway tunnel under the north bit of the city, which will encourage even more people to get in their cars.
Urban sprawl is not sustainable. Cars are not sustainable (both due to the congestion they create and fuel they consume). Melbourne’s urban planning (or lack thereof), which features a lot of both of these things, is definitely not sustainable.
Blah blah blah. Yeah, I’ve gone on too long about this. This entry was really supposed to just be a link to a single article in The Age about the lack of planning in Melbourne. Please read it – the author is far more coherent than I am, gentle reader.