Is a Sprawling Future on Tap for Melbourne?

<p>The city of Melbourne, Australia, is on track to surpass Sydney as the country's most populated. But the expected population growth may push the city into a sprawling and unsustainable future.</p>
March 7, 2008, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"In 20 years, it is projected that Melbourne will be the metropolis of Australia, having overtaken Sydney as the most populous city. It is estimated that 1500 people a week are moving to our city and that Melbourne's population will hit 6.2 million by 2020, a decade earlier than previously thought. Eight years after that we will be bigger than Sydney. This is a stunning reversal on a decade ago when Victoria was losing people to other states. Two years ago, the Australian Bureau of Statistics projected that it would take until 2051 for Melbourne's population to reach 5 million, still 600,000 behind Sydney's. Now, people are leaving Sydney, driven out by rising costs. Clearly, the ground has shifted. It represents a fundamental shift in the make-up of Melbourne and poses huge challenges in how the city should grow and, from that, how its personality is maintained."

"Melburnians may think they know their city and what makes it so liveable. However, a population boom on the scale that is happening now has the potential to change the city, and once that change is put into effect it may well be irreversible. Melbourne may become a victim of its own success."

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Published on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 in The Age
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