Can Network City Deliver a Sustainable Urban Future?
The new metropolitan planning strategy ‘Network City’ for the Perth region in Western Australia is innovative in many ways. Unlike the conventional strategy production process it involved previously unrepresented stakeholders directly in a ‘Dialogue with the City’ – a collaborative hands-on approach to planning. This became an award-winning process. New planning practices are identified to achieve transport and environmental outcomes based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
The new spatial framework requires a significant change of direction for planners, and also a new partnership relationship between the planning profession and the community. The aim is to achieve a network of mutually dependent sub-centres linked by a high quality public transport system. The integration of land use and transport lies at the heart of the strategy. This is in contrast to the outcome of strategic plans since the 1950s which have resulted in sprawling low-density suburbs, fragmented land use, an extensive road network system and the highest levels of car dependency in Australia. The strategy maintains the extensive system of public open space and conservation reserves achieved by past strategies.
We argue that a key strength of the new planning strategy is in its holistic approach to sustainability. This will require new practices in transport planning in relation to the function of arterial roads and ‘level of service’ and in relation to public transport. In addition, we argue that sustainability has been integrated as a fundamental part of the decision-making process to produce more appropriate environmental outcomes. The result will be a planning system with the potential to produce environmental, social and economic outcomes that will make Perth a world-class sustainable city by 2029.
Carey Curtis, Curtin University of Technology & Tim Perkins, Edith Cowan University.
Keywords: Network City, urban sustainability, Perth, public transport, stake-holders
Assoc Prof Carey Curtis
Senior Lecturer, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Curtin University of Technology
Course Co-ordinator, School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University