Melbourne Conversations

Someone at The Economist thinks that Vancouver and Melbourne are doing something right.  We vie for top spot in the livability rankings.   Should we really hold our heads high as the world’s most liveable cities?   I was on a panel in Melbourne this week entitled “Employment, Mobility and Living in a Growing City” — as one of a series of events sponsored by the City of Melbourne called “Melbourne Conversations”.  The event was at the BMW Edge at Federation Square — a building with lots of energy.

After a few years of looking and learning, I have started to think more about visioning and visual thinking as our worlds get increasingly more complex but our technology and decision-making frameworks are alive to the challenges.

So it was fun to be on a panel with local “experts” to hear about Melbourne’s challenges and to share a bit about Vancouver’s past, current and future.

The panel included Halvard Dalheim, Director of State Strategy in the Department of Planning and Community Development; Graham Currie, Professor of Public Transport at Monash University; Marcus Spiller, Director of SGS Economics & Planning (consulting firm); and, me.  It was moderated by Peter Mares, Journalist with The National Interest ABC Radio National.

Melbourne’s challenges are similar to ones that we face in Vancouver.  The CBD is active and alive — actually more vibrant than Vancouver’s – at least there are more people on the street at various times of the day and night.  But they are sprawling out into their region.  Melbourne doesn’t have a regional planning authority (no Metro Vancouver) and no Green Zone or Agricultural Land Reserve.  So there is great concern about the outer suburbs and how they are developing.  And there are the same transportation conversations as we have.  Why build more roads?  We know that they will just be filled with cars as fast as we can build them.

It seems what we’ve needed to do in Metro Vancouver is to refine what and how we look at things …historical, cultural, social, economic.  Next blog on my messages to both Melbourne & Vancouver.

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