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Melbourne, Australia Plans Assault on Sprawl With '20-Minute Neighborhoods'

Melbourne's long-range plan for development through 2050 envisions denser neighborhoods, built around the idea of 20-minute neighborhoods.
March 17, 2017, 5am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Xiquinho Silva

The Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 long-range plan released last week has offered some innovative changes to the city's current planning scheme to address an anticipated growth from 4.5 million to 8 million residents between now and 2050. The plan would remove current limitations that only permits two dwelling units per residentially zoned lot. Urban Development Institute of Australia Victorian CEO Danni Addison is supportive of the proposed density increases, noting that it will give middle- to low-income resident an opportunity to live in Melbourne's inner suburbs. John Masanauskas of the Herald Sunreports that the plan's detractors worry about the loss of the city's suburban character, losing its livability and becoming "a concrete jungle."

However, the plan has also introduced requirements for maintenance of minimum garden space for lots greater than 400 square meters (approx. 4,300 sq. ft), which has earned the support of residents who love their "Aussie backyard". The plan also seeks to create 20-minute neighborhoods that will allow residents to access basic needs within a 20-minute trip without the use of a car.

The concept involves reducing car use by encouraging more active modes of transport while creating mixed-use community areas of varying densities.

Under Plan Melbourne 2017-2050, people should be able to meet most of their everyday needs within a 20-minute walk, cycle or public transport trip from their home, but not including travel to work.

Each neighbourhood would have an activity centre with shops, cafes, service businesses and community hubs, while residents would also have access to local schools, sporting facilities and parks.

The Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 document can be found online, here.

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Published on Friday, March 10, 2017 in Melbourne Herald Sun
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