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We’ve got to around two million people in
Perth over 200 years of development. And
now we’re talking about increasing the
population by at least another 50 per cent
in the next 25 years.
We need a plan in place to understand
where we want to be and deliver the necessary
infrastructure. We have less and less time
for the vision to evolve. It has to be locked
in and delivered.
Transport is a key to the way the city will
develop. If we get some early action on that
next layer of transport infrastructure – it seems
light rail is the missing ingredient – then it
will facilitate development in a certain way.
It will facilitate people continuing to come into
central areas to work and recreate, but it will
also facilitate developments along transport
routes so that we can get some decentralisation.
Seattle, which is a similar scale to Perth, has
invested heavily in light rail. It’s been a catalyst
for a whole lot of new development that essentially
follows the pathway of the rail network. Many
more people can now live a life where they
can walk to work and places they recreate. It’s
better for the environment, for health and for
community building. It’s an essential piece of
infrastructure and needs to be right at the heart of
planning the future of the city.
The last election was the transport election but
there was a sense of one-upmanship, which
doesn’t necessarily lead to the right outcome. And
now light rail has been deferred. It needs to get out
of that politicised arena and more into an arena of
rational thoughts and proper strategic decisions.
We are a global economy now but we are going
to become more and more linked to the Asian
economy, competing with big Asian capitals to get
businesses here. That will only happen if the young
stars of the various businesses want to bring their
families here and that comes down to livability.
There’s no question Perth is a desirable place to
live, but we need to make sure it’s still going to
be desirable once there’s another million people
added. The nature of the city will change so we
can’t just be focused on trying to keep what we’ve
got. We need to take some of the great features of
what we’ve got and look at how we can reinforce
them and supplement them with new qualities as
the population grows.
Elizabeth Quay and Perth City Link will change
the way people perceive the city and move
through it. They will create a highly defined north-
south spine through the city, from an active focal
By 2040, we’re going to see
a completely different density than
what we’ve got at the moment. We
don’t really have even any small
pockets of genuine high-density
living and working environments,
but that will change if the population
continues to grow at the current
rate. In terms of the way we live
and occupy the city, I don’t think
we will be very different to other
big Australian cities, but what
I would hope is that we have enough
confidence in our home-grown
Perth-located architects so we
develop our own design culture that
responds to our own community, and
develop a sense of who we are as
a unique city in Australia and the
Asia Pacific region.
I would hope we develop
a sense of who we are
as a unique city in Australia
and the Asia Pacific region.
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