Cities and Urban Renewal
With an ongoing focus on global integration, cities are increasingly the engines for growth.
New wealth opportunities for Australian cities will require an urban system that is competitive in both the global and national knowledge-intense economy. To facilitate these new opportunities our cities need to change and Urban renewal and revitalisation projects are critical to facilitating these opportunities.
Urbanisation-A Global Trend with Local Implications
Dense and Knowledge-Intense City Economies
Post-industrial cities, regions and nations are dependent on their international competitiveness, which in the future will need to be anchored in knowledge-intense production and services.
Industries based solely on a single region or country are no longer the reality in today’s trade dependent global economy, and, overwhelmingly, tradeable products of the future, be they goods or services, will be made up of a series of intermediate products delivered by a multitude of suppliers based across several regions.
Diverse and complex supply chains will be interwoven across industries, regions and locations. With an already increasingly specialised supply of goods that are originating from locations with specific competitive or comparative advantage, sustainable economic development of our cities will be dependent on increasing the share of knowledge intense tradeable goods and services across regions and internationally.
The capacity to reach global markets has been driven over the last 100 years by the massive transport and ICT technological improvements and rapid decline in transport and ICT costs. This has fundamentally changed the nature of modern industry and economies.
As the image below illustrates, 80% of Australian gross domestic product (GDP) is concentrated in and around major cities. Moreover, economic activity within cities is highly concentrated in a few areas. For example, 19% of Brisbane’s GDP is generated in its CBD, considerably more than any secondary employment centres (Kelly et al, 2014). Cities represent the apex of the national economy and represent locations where value channels converge.
Evolution of Knowledge Intense City Economies
Knowledge-intense economic activity requires high levels of specialisation, skills and wages to be competitive. Growth in knowledge-intense industries increases competition for limited resources (generally land and labour), exerting inflationary pressure in the set of locations enabled by the transport infrastructure. Where there is capacity (land, skills and population) in the surrounding metropolitan region and efficiency in transport systems then the inflationary pressure results not in inflationary outcomes but in outward movement (to locations of lower costs) of more standardised economic activity and affordable housing opportunities. This provides a bonus for surrounding metropolitan areas that can grow their economic activity, employment and populations. This outward spread of benefit will in part depend on the capacity in the outlying areas for skilled and knowledge intense labour, well located and affordable housing supply, and transport infrastructure to provide accessibility.
Globally, policy makers are recognising the need for urban consolidation and renewal to accommodate denser urban communities instead of allowing a continuation of urban sprawl. Greenfield development is recognised as a part of the urban growth mix, but its share of future growth is decreasing. Inappropriate urban sprawl imposes a significant infrastructure burden on the community and governments, undermining the social, economic and environmental sustainability of our cities.
Throughout Australia policymakers have emphasised a focus on urban consolidation and renewal from local and neighborhood plans through to regional and metropolitan plans to deliver a diverse and sustainable supply of housing, employment and recreation opportunities.
CDM Smith Delivers
CDM Smith can deliver services across all aspects of urban renewal and consolidation from understanding site contamination and its implications for development through to infrastructure and structure planning and onto community, economic development strategy and implementation drawing on our experience across several jurisdictions and contexts.
We assist all levels of government and the private sector to deliver sustainable urban outcomes.