Aus Oppn leader calls for city planning overhaul

Australian Opposition leader Anthony Albanese on Wednesday has called for a major overhaul of city planning as more people were still working from home because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a speech to the Australian Financial Review Business Summit, the Labor Party leader said that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on how people work should force a significant rethink of urban planning, reports Xinhua news agency.

“There is a potential transformation from the hub-and-spoke model of the city, with its large daily inflows and outflows between suburbs and CBDs, to a more distributed and dispersed city,” he said.

“Changes like these may disrupt our cities and our settlement and living patterns. Hollowed-out CBDs could diminish the benefits of agglomeration.

“If we are going to build back stronger from Covid and recession, we need to reimagine our cities and reinvigorate our cities policy,” Albanese said.

He said that the pandemic “offers us a once in a lifetime opportunity to use these accelerated trends to move towards cities that are more productive, sustainable, and liveable, and cities that are more resilient to future shocks, as well”.

Instead of traditional cities, the Opposition leader said he envisages “20-minute neighbourhoods” that give residents access to everything they need within a 20-minute walk.

Albanese, who served as the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport from 2007 to 2013 and as Minister for Regional Development from 2007 to 2010, said that the suburban precincts would “serve local populations and offer skilled and secure jobs”.

“Likewise, for many workers, technology will reduce the need for the daily commute, relieving congestion and offering the scope for areas beyond the CBDs to experience similar levels of dynamism,” he said.