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Australia: Melbourne's Urban Consolidation Essay

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Urban consolidation refers to a diverse set of policies intended to make more efficient use of the existing urbanised areas instead of developing non-urbanised land, thus limiting urban sprawl. The recent publication of the Melbourne 2030 plan indicates that Melbourne is adopting an urban consolidated direction for further development. This has raised many debates over whether it is the right plan. There are two sides to this complex argument. People in favorite suggests that urban consolidation offers a range of solutions to pressing urban problems socially and environmentally, for example it reduces car use and provide better access to facilities, whilst the other point of view argues that urban consolidation has its limits in terms of consumer preference, land capacity and could actually bring negative social and environmental impact to the city.

This paper argues that urban consolidation should not be the focal point for future development in Melbourne. I will present this augment from 4 different environmental and social perspectives, which include urban consolidation limits green space, lack consumer preference, restricts freedom and rebuts that sprawl development is not necessarily bad for traffic.

In a social sense, consumers prefer low-density developments. Low density means more space and better standard of living. There are apartments available in every city for those who prefer them. However, many people choose to live in detached homes. Nobody forces people to buy house at outer suburbs (Holcombe 1999). Developers build those houses because that is where people want to live. Why? The answer is simple, those houses offer better space and comfort compare to living in the confine inner city. Many have suggeste...


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...ctivity centers in the Los Angeles only account for 17.5 percent of the area’s total employment. Most people both live and work in the suburbs and the average commute for individuals in the Los Angeles area is only 20 minutes (Gordon & Harry 1989). Traffic reduction stems primarily from a decision to drive (Engwight, 1992), a factor not easily adjustable by urban planning alone.



It is clear that urban consolidation can not solve the range of urban problems. It presents new dilemmas as it does not provide sufficient green space, limits people’s freedom, many people do not like living in an urban consolidated environment and it could potentially increase people’s time traveling out of the city. Planners must consider all these factors when assessing urban consolidation potential. Failure to do so could result in descent to achieve efficient, urban development.


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