A few years ago I helped write a study called ‘Melbourne Beyond 5 Million’, part of a Committee of Melbourne initiative aimed at boosting the city’s quality of life given the challenges of more people and rapid growth.
Since then the pressures have only increased and it’s now expected that Melbourne could double in size to around 8 million in just the next generation.
While this is a sign of Melbourne’s ongoing success due to strategic investments in housing, infra-structure, planning and mobility-Melbourne keeps getting voted the world’s ‘most liveable city’ needless to say-it also means the city faces far bigger stresses going forward.
‘Liveability’ is a great result of course, but Melbourne will need to get a whole suite of urban out-comes right if it is going to remain a global, smart city. After all the competition both here and internationally for skilled people, new business and cutting edge technologies is already intense.
I recently joined Arcadis as their City Executive Melbourne, part of a global cities program com-mitted to not only understanding how to make cities fit for the future, but focused on providing the tools to make it happen.
The Sustainability City Index that Arcadis released last year did just that. It looked at 100 cities worldwide ranked around 3 concepts of People, Profit and Planet-or lifestyle, business and the en-vironment if you prefer-underpinned by 24 detailed indicators like transport, pollution or health.
With an overall 32nd global ranking Melbourne is clearly one of the world’s top performing cities. Drilling in to the SCI showed Melbourne at 22 for People, 26 for Profit and 46 for Planet, suggest-ing we’re getting a lot right, but can do much better on a number of different measures.
While the global rankings are interesting, the Arcadis SCI is first and foremost an innovative and comprehensive way to look at what smart cities need to get right in the 21st Century. Importantly it hands everyone from planners to politicians and even communities a clear way to think about the urban environment and how it can adapt to new challenges.
One of the most useful, I think, is resiliency. How do we ensure a city’s physical, social and eco-nomic systems can respond to growth sustainably while delivering the very best quality of life for everyone who lives there? it’s the debate we need to start having now.
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