Show Me the Vision - Is the City of Brisbane Ready for the Future?

Brisbane looks set to progress well out of the state’s latest infrastructure blueprint, but is it enough to make this fast growing city fit for the future?

Brisbane Transport Interchange

"To establish the people’s confidence in Brisbane’s ability to remain a competitive city on a global scale, we need to see a compelling vision for the future."

Is the ever-growing city of Brisbane a city fit for the future? Perhaps not. Our latest global Sustainable City Index suggests there’s still a bit of strategic work the city needs to do to be able to make that claim.  

The Index, developed in partnership with the Centre for Economics & Business Research in London, compared the city of Brisbane to 100 world cities including Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra and examined three broad categories of ‘People’, ‘Planet’, and ‘Profit’ to give provide an indicative sustainability  ranking for each city.

Brisbane did well, coming in at 30th in the overall rankings, yet was behind Canberra and Sydney though ahead of Melbourne. Where Brisbane scored well both nationally and internationally, was in areas like income equality, air quality, green space and transport. 

Where Brisbane doesn’t measure up quite as well, especially when compared to cities in the top 10 like Zurich or Singapore, is when it comes to issues like economic growth, housing affordability, clean energy, exposure to environmental risks and disaster preparedness.  

The People, Profit, Planet categories are underpinned by 32 indicators such as economic development, health or Greenhouse emissions. Brisbane’s score for People was 21 and for Profit was 30, showing it performed reasonably well on many measures. 

Its 41st ranking for Planet however is less stellar, highlighting the continued problems the city is experiencing due to continued urban sprawl, improving densities in the inner and middle ring of suburbs and innovating when it comes to clean energy and managing global warming.

Queensland’s infrastructure plan’s impact on Brisbane suffers from some of the same inconsistencies. While its plants are people-centric-a step in the right direction- it also emphasizes the need for integrated planning and boosts urban mobility. Where it is less convincing is when it comes to delivering seamless urban transport and how all these projects will be funded in the long term. 

Those cities that made it to the top 10 are successful because they’re liveable, integrated, transport enabled cities where planning is a collaborative process that attracts global investors. Planning is also long range and stable, which unfortunately is not the case for Queensland as a result of the frequent changes in the color of State Governments. 

It's clear Brisbane and broader South East Queensland still have plenty of work to do. In order to establish the people’s confidence in Brisbane’s ability to remain a competitive city on a global scale, we need to see a compelling vision for the future backed up by a solid funding strategy.  

Download your copy of the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index here.

Greg Steele

Group Executive for Asia Pacific Ask me a question
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