Urban Consolidation

2691 Words6 Pages

Urban Consolidation

Factors and Fallacies in Urban Consolidation:


As proponents of urban consolidation and consolidated living continue

to manifest in our society, we must ensure that our acknowledgment of

its benefits, and the problems of its agitator (sprawl), do not hinder

our caution over its continually changing objectives.


Like much urban policy, the potential benefits that urban consolidation

and the urban village concept seek to offer are substantially

undermined by ambiguous definition. This ambiguity, as expressed

through a general lack of inter-governmental and inter-professional

cohesion on this policy, can best be understood in terms of individual

motives (AIUSH,1991).

* State Government^s participatory role in the reduction of

infrastructure spending.

* Urban Professional^s recognition of the increased variability,

robustness, and interest in both the urban area and their work.

* Conservation Activist^s commendation of the lower consumption of

resources, and reduced pressure on sensitive environment areas,

suggestive of a reduction in urban sprawl.

* The Development Industry^s equations of profit established through

better and higher levels of land use.

Essentially urban consolidation proposes an increase of either

population or dwellings in an existing defined urban area

(Roseth,1991). Furthermore, the suburban village seeks to establish

this intensification within a more specific agenda, in which community

is to be centred by public transport nodes, and housing choice is to be

widened with increased diversity of housing type (Jackson,1998). The

underlying premise of this swing towards urban regeneration, and the

subsequent debate about higher-density development, is the

reconsideration of the suburban ideal and the negative social and

environmental implications inherent in its continuation (Johnson,

1994). In reference to this regeneration is the encouragement of

greater community participation, a strengthening and broadening of

urban life and culture, and a halt to physical, environmental and

economic decline (Hill,1994).

Myths and Misunderstanding

The relative successes of practical solutions to the urban

consolidation model are constrained within the assumptions underpinning

them. Appropriating community desire towards a more urban lifestyle

ignores the basic fact that people chose to live in the suburbs

(Stretton,1975). Suburbia as an ideal, is a preference based on

perpetual stability, be it though neighbourhood identity or the act of

home ownership ^ a view not reflected in planning models heavily biased

towards highly mobile societies.

Cost benefits deemed to be provided by higher-density living, in terms

of more efficient use of infrastructure, are realized primarily in the

private sectors (Troy,1998). A result inconclusive to State government

objectives towards reduced public spending.

Traffic reduction as an expressed direct result of higher-density

residential living is largely incorrect. A falsehood achieved by using

density as a substitute for sociological variables such as income,

household size, and lifestyle characteristics (Moriarty,1996). Traffic

reduction stems primarily from a decision to drive (Engwight,1992), a

More about Urban Consolidation

Open Document