The fallout from coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to see governments, urban planners and developers think more seriously about creating more healthy, resilient, self-sufficient, attainable and liveable communities for its residents moving forward, an industry expert has said.
According to RobertDay co-founder Mike Day, the lack of congestion currently on the roads due to the lockdown is not only creating a cleaner world due to less pollution but is also showing how to create cities not designed around motor vehicles.
Mr Day argues that Australia needs to focus on the importance of creating new neighbourhoods in our urban growth areas where essential services – schools, shops and workplaces – are provided early in the life of these ventures, easily reached from home on foot or by bike, and where the aim is not only to provide housing affordability but also attainable and over liveability.
“Nearly all Australian suburban neighbourhoods prioritise vehicles over pedestrians. As the cost of owning and running cars in the growth areas of our capital cities is beginning to exceed the cost of housing, ‘liveability’ – rather than ‘affordability’ – has become the new catch cry.
“In self-sufficient cherished inner-city neighbourhoods of our capital cities, where there are often mixed-use developments, such as townhouses and residential apartments, serviced by trams or trains and built above shops, residents can leave their homes to get their groceries on a daily basis – without relying on the car,” Mr Day said.
Mr Day believes that in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the social shift that has gone through while isolating, it will likely lead to a change in city landscapes.
“In light of the deep societal challenges posed by the coronavirus, I predict more mixed-use developments will emerge to create self-contained communities built around pedestrians, cyclists and ‘light’ modes of public transport, such as e-bikes, trackless trams and small-scale electric buses. Australians in their teens and 20s, in particular, will drive the demand for more compact, connected, mixed-use, liveable neighbourhoods that have these characteristics,” Mr Day concluded.