Why we want to limit urban sprawl

Even if denser cities aren't particularly desirable our respondents seem to think they are inevitable, so let's work out how to live with them. So the qualitative responses are practical more than anything else. While they may support higher density they often come combined with advice as to how to make higher density work better.

The Leximancer map shows the only group strongly opposed to higher density - Australian Party (BKAP) voters - out on their own with LNP voters grouped much closer than usual to ALP voters.

Urban Density Why 12 08 29

The BKAP voters are focused on "houses" and "blocks". They do tend to be outer urban and rural voters, so this may play some part, but a lot of the concern is aimed at block splitting in the inner area, and small lot housing where houses are semi-detached and share one wall. These are thought to create slums as well as amenity issues, like the neighbour's cigarette smoke wafting through the house, or noise hazards such as from vigorous love making!

High rise seems to be less of a problem, as long as it is appropriately situated, although one respondent did look back nostalgically to the days when the city hall clock tower was the tallest structure in Brisbane.

LNP voters, while on balance in favour of higher density, also looked at the practicalities. While it was seen as one way of saving prime farmland close to the city there were also concerns about whether there was enough infrastructure to cope with it, including roads to handle increased traffic. Some respondents also saw it as an answer to curing issues with things like public transport which need a strong population base to be viable.

ALP voters seemed to be more concerned about population growth, which they generally thought should be constrained, and lacking that constraint, higher density was seen as a solution. There was also the thought that well-planned higher density also improved the quality of community, bringing more people closer together, and allowed people to be closer to essential services, including hospitals.

The following verbatims cover most of these issues.

Verbatims

  First_Pref: grn
Urban_Density: strongly_support

Urban sprawl creates many negatives, including increased land costs, travel costs, reduction in good farming land close to cities, expensive to provide public transport so people become car dependent, increased health issues such as obesity and air pollution.Of course, the preferable option to maintain liveability of cities would be to slow population growth, but this is rarely considered an option, due to self interest groups and governments who benefit from ongoing growth.

First_Pref: alp
Urban_Density: strongly_support

because urban sprawl (with single detached houses) is not a suitable way for the future; it's costly, socially and environmentally poor; medium density in the suburbs - up to two stories - up to say six in the inner suburbs) surrounded by an adequate amount of parkland can actually provide people with greater feelings of space than the 40 perch )oops 26 perch these days) block. High rise in particular locations (inner city, Kangaroo Pt okay)

First_Pref: grn
Urban_Density: support

Provided the increase in urban density is in close proximity to transport nodes (train, bus, etc)this is acceptable. However ALLLocal Gov bodies must ensure that urban block sizes are not reduced to a size that will be the precursor for a future slum, associated social problems, etc. The recent approval of 12 storey buildings at West End are an example of inappropriate development adjacent to the Brisbane River - environmentally, asthetically and from a flood level point of view.

First_Pref: ind
Urban_Density: strongly_oppose

They are creating hell-holes with increased traffic congestion, permitting housing to the fencelines, multiple storeys overlooking hapless original housing, destruction of cultural and older housing styles, social engineering trying to persuade us that we prefer organised entertainment, gyms,appartments, rather than one's own space (garden, pets, sheds).Heavier drinking and bored young people result, as well as more crime & drug concerns.

First_Pref: grn
Urban_Density: oppose

Whilst I realise that people must be housed and the environment preserved, rushed development with shoddy construction and poor services lead to severe social problems like the estates on ’The Bill’. I would like to see much reduced population growth, with emphasis on the humanitarian, and a focus on educatingAustralians for needed skills, rather than exporting education and importing skills.

First_Pref: grn
Urban_Density: neutral

Generally I would support increased density PROVIDEDappropriate services such as public transport, road funding, water, sewerage etc are also expanded to cope with the extra load.Generally in South East Queensland the State Govt was starting to make progress before recent cutbacks - less so the councils (although Ipswich seems to be doing a reasonable job).

First_Pref: grn
Urban_Density: strongly_support

Firstly, it economizes on use of land and secondly, it provides the opportunity to implement more cost effective services such as public transport. This was the strategy adopted in Cairns where urban expansion is in conflict with high value agricultural land (sugar) and high biodiversity/scenic rainforested hillslopes.

First_Pref: alp
Urban_Density: unsure

I do not like any of the possible solutions to increased population; the only solution is to stop increasing population, that is impossible; it may happen with climate change, or some plague, it may happen with AIDS. I do not like small pieces of land for dwellings, but with increased population, low density living means long journeys to infrastructure such as supermarkets, medical services, entertainments, open space recreation.

First_Pref: lnp
Urban_Density: support

The only way to make the city livable is to cluster population centres round transport and commercial hubs. The centre of the city can no longer be the focus the the city, we need urban village environments where people can live, work and play.

First_Pref: alp
Urban_Density: support

Qualified support: large pockets of high density housing are essential for the efficient delivery of services such as frequent and affordable public transport, and to reduce the urban footprint (= preserve green space. But this has to be done carefully to prevent urban jungles and give residents quality ambience and free space.

First_Pref: lnp
Urban_Density: support

We can't stop population growth. I'd like to attract people to rural areas but right now the jobs/ housing/ service aren't there so I'm happy with PLANNED increased urban density but would like a long term regional growth policy.

solar energy] and waste water regeneration] and meet low emission standards?INFRASTRUCTURE: Are there sufficient open areas for sport, participation in sport, physical activity, social and other community activities? Are there internal community centres built as a requirement for construction of the project?LOCATION: is the area of high urban density safe from flooding or other natural events and located away from trunk routes?

Further, the major premise of densification is that this will lead to increased use of public transport. There are a number of issues with this; research has showed that many people living in inner city areas are in a higher income bracket, and while they may use more public transport, they also tend to fly more.

Cities which sprawl are inevitably private motor car dependent - a certain density of population is necessary to support mass transit systems. Many great cities of the world can attribute much of their success as wonderful places to live and visit to optimum density of population, great parks, and leisure and cultural facilities and transport systems which are able to be sustained by the population density.

SOCIAL FACTORS: will the area become a ghetto or will it contain a mix of cultural, economic and other characterisrics? SAFETY: Does the denser urban area have the potential to create socialproblems?COMMUNITY: How will denser areas be designed to foster a local sense of community and engagement?SUPPLY:will urban density be accompanied by a local or regional food security strategy?

Not only facilities such as community gardens but regional food supply chains?NEIGHBOURHOOD: the integration of retail and hospitality needs to be planned to foster a sense of neighbourhood.LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Will local government boundaries be changed to keep governance local not only in spread but to accommodate higher population densities?TRANSPORTATION: rapid, frequent and safe rapid transit systems must provide links witin a precinct but also links to other neighbourhoods, beyond the urban areas and to other cities.

the Bligh governments decision to drughtproof SE Qld will be seen as foresight with hindsight. I started selling houses in 1959 at age 18, I have seen urban spread and the failure of local & state government policy regarding urban density, nothing will change as land developers influence local & state governments to extend the urban footprint and the NIMBY factor in the inner suburbs hold back higher density outcomes.

The choice for increased density is high rise (small, expensive, poor capital growth, bad for anyone other than singles); townhouses (tend to attract lower socio-economic, poor capital growth); inner city houses (old, expensive) or suburbs/feeder towns like Sunshine Coast (transport issues, but good for lifestyle). It is a difficult decision, and the benefits of density are not sufficiently quantified to make this a viable option. 

 

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