Getting the best from fast growing cities


A conference this week at the University of Western Sydney will look at how we can balance the demands for housing, infrastructure and employment with the need for food production, agriculture and green space at the fringes of our major cities.

Conference convenor Professor Basant Maheshwari says governments, planners and locals in Western Sydney are not alone in their struggle getting the best outcomes for their communities.

"Seventy-five percent of the Australian population live in cities presenting major challenges to governments, developers, industry and communities in getting the balance right between greenfields and infill urban development and competing needs for infrastructure, amenities, affordable housing and jobs," says Professor Maheshwari, from the UWS School of Science and Health.

"Most rapidly growing cities grow fastest at their periphery. Placing high demands on infrastructure, employment and natural resources these communities can sometimes experience growing pains with very real and lasting consequences for the economic, physical and social health of their residents."

The Chair of the Conference Organising Committee, The Hon Kevin Rozzoli says the conference will be a source of data and case studies for communities to draw on to avoid the problems of retrofitting social amenity, infrastructure and industrial enterprise to meet growing need, and the restoration of damaged environments.

"The causes and consequences of problematic peri-urban development are very similar around the world. It's very likely the solutions that work in one city could be adapted and successfully applied to others," says Mr Rozzoli.

Over 100 conference delegates from more than 15 nations will present and discuss research on peri-urban management with topics ranging from protecting water resources, the value of open space and how to maintain active agriculture areas close to cities.

Professor Maheshwari says understanding how to achieve balanced urban growth in our cities is fundamental.

"Through focused research and greater collaboration with industry, governments and communities it will be possible to create liveable urban landscapes that are sustainable while also meeting the demands of population and economic growth."

The International Conference on Peri-Urban Landscapes: Water, Food and Environmental Security(opens in a new window) will be hosted at the UWS Parramatta campus from 8 July to 10 July.


Photo: Paul Grocott 

Media contact: Paul Grocott, Senior Media Officer

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