John Norquist Visits Australian New Urbanists

MattBerggren's picture

CNU President John Norquist joined US DOT Asst. Secretary Polly Trottenberg, New York Planning Association Executive Director Robert Yaro and HUD Asst. Secretary Raphael Bostic at Sustainability Conference in Brisbane Australia. The four spoke to a conference organized by the Sydney University's US Studies Center. Australian federal, state and local officials attended along with people from the environmental, design and development sectors.

The conference also gave Norquist the opportunity to meet with Australian new urbanists Wendy Morris, Chip Kaufman, Steven Bowers and Peter Richards. ACNU has held several conferences and is moving toward becoming a fully operational NGO.

Australian cities are challenged by sprawled development patterns similar to US cities. Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have all experienced auto centric growth in the post WW II era, but recently have embraced transit and tighter and more connected development patterns as a goal. The goal is undermined by an aggressive road building program that parallels the US post war road building boom. See Brisbane's downtown Riverside Expressway above.

Sprawl is also abetted by separate use zoning that plagues even projects that claim to be high density green. The three cities do have greater transit assets than most US cities. Brisbane has a vast commuter train system which will soon be supplemented with a new downtown subway rapid transit line. Melbourne saved its extensive streetcar system and also enjoys a large commuter rail system. Sydney, like Stockholm and Seattle is served by a complex network of ferries in addition to its commuter rail system.

Read Andrew West's article about John from The Sydney Morning Herald here.



Fascinating to read about the similarities between American and Australian sprawl! Here's to hoping that we can move toward better public transportation, too.


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