Social implications of urban intensification

Community responses and adjustments to the effects of change on personal, family and peer group are not apparently being adequately monitored, assessed or seriously considered in neighbourhood planning. Even the most obvious immediate needs, such as – nearby access at walking-distance, to early child-education, family recreation and social interaction. Provision of access to local facilities for family’s generally, are not currently being reflected adequately in neighbourhood planning approvals.  Provision of what modern families would regard as essential local community facilities, often takes many years to appear, if at all.  Why? –

Commercial ‘estate’ developers that dominate what is on offer, appear to be permitted to escape responsibility for community services and disinterested in identifying and providing for proper outcomes. They of course, have a direct financial interest in offering a simple low-variety model –e.g. ‘clear land, sub-divide, sell and depart’ .They usually reconnoitre outer suburban land at the first sign of residential zoning being signalled. In practise, they offer to purchase land, but pay later and ‘subject to being able to obtain planning approval,’ (using these promissory agreements and planning approval as security for borrowing). That type of commercial opportunism being then allowed to operate prematurely and then effectively control a chain reaction of consequences through to the inevitable result of inadequate neighbourhood community outcomes; does not seem to be in the future public interest. Therefore, to use a phrase often quoted as the core principle in WA planning Law, it is surely not ‘Orderly and Proper Planning’?

The result of this practise, particularly over the past decade,  is that provision of basic ‘house and land package’ or even just a ‘block’ in an area of crudely cleared land is the standard offering – with consumers left with no choice other than from a catalogue of standard house designs, with no thought given as to how the whole area will finally materialise as a visually and socially coherent  living community.

The outcomes have been visually and environmentally uncoordinated, large-scale, low-density urbanised sprawl. (Outer Suburban Perth now predominately comprises a vast area of this low-variety, family-unfriendly, partially serviced (with inconvenient excessive travel and associated cost to consumers). These are  supposedly planned ‘estates’ that now extend in a narrow strip extending over 100kms along the coastline and many now spreading around some longer established inland localities.

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