16 Aug 2016
Built environment advises the Australian Parliament

Built Environment Meets Parliament (BEMP) is a premier urban think-tank event in Australia, involving leading Parliamentarians, policy specialists, academics and practitioners across the built environment sector. This year, it was held at the NSW State Parliament in Sydney on 10 August, with an agenda which focused on the urgent urban development challenges across Australian cities.

Participants considered the potential and capacity needs to create a step change in affordable and social housing; infrastructure; value capture; and sustainability. Presenters and panelists included the Greater Sydney Commission Chair Lucy Turnbull, NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, UrbanGrowth NSW Chief Executive David Pitchford and Government Architect Peter Poulet and UN Global Compact – Cities Programme Director Ralph Horne.

Stokes spoke of the need for greater diversity of housing typologies in Sydney. Shadow environment and infrastructure minister Michael Daley focused on the value capture issue. He also mentioned the range of infrastructure projects in the works including the North West Rail Link Light Rail and the Sydney Metro.

Turnbull said there had been good past work in delivering affordable housing such as through CityWest but warned that inclusionary zoning needed to be thoughtfully assessed in case it had unintended consequences and created too great a burden on projects.

“The affordability strategy is something we are working hard on but the government agencies will be critical,” she said.

The themes of this year’s BEMP were in keeping with many of the issues addressed by Ralph Horne in his publications (such as his recent book and article in The Conversation). At BEMP Horne spoke about proposals to build sustainable, networked, compact new cities as a part of the future urban development solution for Australia. These could harness land value capture in providing funding and be linked to capital cities via high speed rail links.

“The imperative for a growing population is in providing accessible, walkable, sustainable and equitable cities for all, linked to our capital centres and engineered to enable social inclusion and participation,” said Horne.