A new report calls for the development of a national plan of settlement, providing a national vision for Australian cities and regions for the next fifty years.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities has released a report titled Building Up and Moving Out

According to the report, population growth, urbanisation, the ageing of the population and the transformation of the economy towards serviced and knowledge-based industries are causing profound changes in Australia’s urban and regional landscapes. 

“These are big challenges and they require a new understanding of our cities and their relationship with surrounding regions. Managing these challenges requires a national vision – a national plan of settlement,” says Committee chair John Alexander.

The report suggests a “national plan of settlement” covering:

  • Growth and change in population
  • Growth and change in employment
  • The economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development of cities and regions
  • The relationship between cities and regions on a national, regional and local scale
  • Connectivity within and between regions, and between residence and employment

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) president Linda Corkery has welcomed the report.

“While we don’t fully agree with everything in the report, we’re pleased to see that a number of recommendations AILA made to the Committee earlier this year have been included,” says Corkery.

“The report’s recommendations to pursue a system of urban planning that promotes high quality natural and built environments, as well as more accessible, liveable and healthy quality of life in our cities, is exactly what landscape architects do on a day-to-day basis.

“Improving the governance of cities and providing frameworks for a more cohesive planning system, through the re-endorsement of the Urban Design Protocol and consistent guidelines for urban green space, will be a positive step towards better outcomes for people that occupy our cities and the environment.

“The Committee also calls for the introduction of a National Chief Planner which AILA would welcome provided that landscape architecture principles inform the remit of the position to provide urban and regional planning advice that considers liveability, healthy communities and green infrastructure at its core.”