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On the 175th birthday of the city of Melbourne, Professor Miles Lewis says the city needs to overcome a long history of 'planning anarchy' to continue to grow.  

"Planners have lost their vision of what planning needs to be.  When town planning was introduced here after World War 2 it was seen to be a rather socialist activity, where you distributed the goods across the community in the best possible way.  Now it's seen to be a task of facilitating development, which it shouldn't be."

"What needs to be done is a revived policy of decentralization where we encourage people to live elsewhere."


"What should happen is a complete freeze on the development of farming land that is being destroyed around Melbourne and there should be a limitation on the amount of population that comes into Melbourne.  Not by law but by adjusting the market so it pays the real cost of adding to existing infrastructure."

"In other words, when you build a new estate you pay your share of the original water supply - electricity and so on - so in fact prices are allowed to rise and people have a real incentive to go somewhere else if they don't need to be in the metropolis."

Professor Lewis, speaking on Melbourne Day, says that for what was an illegal settlement back in 1835, the city has turned into something very liveable.  "Despite all that illegal history, we somehow became very respectable and very English."

"I like the layers of meaning, history as you walk around. The whole form of Melbourne today, was totally laid down in the first 20 years and it's just got bigger and bigger and bigger in the same shape. You can read all that into it as you walk around today."
"It's more like a big Adelaide than a small Sydney, it has the respectable flat character and none of the dramatic scenery of Sydney but as a liveable city it certainly stacks up."

The football World Cup in South Africa this year will have economic draw backs, not benefits, for its host country says Professor Richard Tomlinson.

"Facts are negotiable when it comes to the World Cup as it relies on the source of the facts and the context that they're put in.  However, its estimated that South Africa has spent about $4.6 billion on the event."  

"I attended a financial modelling conference in the lead up (to the Cup) and the conclusion at the end was that the best we could hope for was that it would not damage the economy, and that circumstance would only arise if costs were kept under control."

"Well, we know costs have spiralled way out of control."

Professor Tomlinson, the head of Urban Planning at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, co-edited and contributed to a book on Development and Dreams: the urban legacy of the 2010 Football World Cup.  He says despite this, there will be benefits.

"A lot of what has happened has just been bringing forward in time planned investments in transport and infrastructure, and certainly the public transport upgrade will be, for me, the defining legacy.  For example, the airports now are really first world, they're top class."

Professor Tomlinson says that culture and identity reasons were a prominent part of the government's decision to host the tournament.  "To me, it centres on an African identity, a respect for African culture and a replacement of the typical images of dismay associated with the region; starving children, HIV etc."

"The questions of cultural identity are deeply psychological for most South Africans.  The world media invaribly displays Africa in a negative light, and I think there's a strongly felt need to say 'we can do it, we have a culture that's worth respect'.  It's not just to say we're a fun party place."

The now iconic vuvuzela's however, are not part of this culture he says.

"I think the vuvuzela phenomenon is quite extraordinary.  They aren't made in South Africa, China actually, and the website from which most are sold originated in Israel.  So who benefits?"

"To go back to an African identity theme, the head of FIFA Sepp Blatter has said these are an African games and that's why we're going to have the vuvuzela.  But Africa is bigger than just one country, so I find that an expression of ignorance.  Are we to say that the Moroccans use the vuvuzela? No. Do the Algerians? No."  

"These assertions are just silly."

Students from the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne are converting old shipping containers into new community centres for the Gudorrka Community and Knuckey’s Lagoon Community in the Northern Territory.  

Australia must do - and more importantly, be seen to do - its bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport, says Professor Nicholas Low, Director of the University of Melbourne-based Australasian Centre for the Governance and Management of Urban Transport (GAMUT).

Speaking ahead of an international conference organised by GAMUT on "Sustainable Transport in the Asia-Indo-Pacific", Professor Low says Australia needs to work harder to move transport planning in the right direction.

"Australia needs to reduce its emissions by a factor of 18 to bring it back to parity with the rest of the world."

"There's no doubt everyone has the same right to mobility, but they thus have the same responsibility to minimise carbon emissions."

"We know India and China want greater mobility and they have the right to it, but this will have consequences not just for climate change but also the future of their own cities."

"I'm not sure whether Australia is yet in a position to lead China and India with regards to transport planning, but it cannot afford to lag behind either."

"The question is, how can we move away from the current, disjointed transport system - buses running for bus customers, trams for tram customers etc - to a system where people are mobility customers, who want a system that serves their mobility needs in the best possible way, and doesn't destroy the city in the process."

Professor Low says one of the issues for Australia is its lack of strong planning systems.  "I think we have to address transport alongside land use planning, but we can't expect land use planning by itself to save us from our transport defects."

"We have to learn to provide better, more integrated transport in the low density cities that we have, much like Europe has."

Transport disadvantage and social exclusion will be two of the key themes discussed at a University of Melbourne forum tomorrow afternoon on public transport in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

Cities Alliance head and former United Nations settlements expert William Cobbett will share his perspective on the challenges of urbanization in the next Melbourne School of Design Dean’s Lecture for 2010. 

Leading Australian architecture firm Jackson Architecture – behind such designs as the MCG’s Southern Stand and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – will exhibit at the first Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning’s ‘Alumni Retrospective Series’ for 2010.

Three University of Melbourne projects from the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning will help fly the flag for Australia at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, the world’s most important architecture event. 

Children living in high rise apartments want more places to play and explore by themselves, leading to more physical activity, a new study has found.

Dwindling resources and radical environmental change is putting access to essential services like food and water at risk, according to the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL).

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