Three Orwellian Contentions

This is from Sydney but it sounds familiar in Melbourne
Hi SOS Members
1. The Department of Planning states ad nausea that its high-density policies provide housing choice.   But one or the reasons for SOS resisting high-density housing being forced onto communities that do not want it is that this reduces choice for the housing that most people want – family friendly single-residential housing.
SOS has been pointing out for years the tragic consequence of this policy – the regular newspaper reports of child deaths from falling out of apartment windows.  With no backyard in which to play and explore, children restricted within four walls are tempted to explore their confines. At last the Department of Planning has recognised this is happening.   But as you can see from the attached, instead of solving the problem by allowing the community the type of dwelling they need, the response to these increasing tragedies is to distribute brochures!  So much for housing choice! We have also been pointing out that mental illness is associated with increasing density.  Presumably a Department of Planning brochure on mental illness will be next.
2.  The Department of Planning tells us that a world-wide trend is for people to flee from suburbs to high-density.  In a recent article Joel Kotkin, described as the world’s leading futurist and planning expert, shows this is nonsense.  He writes “Perhaps no theology more grips the nation’s mainstream media — and the planning community — more than the notion of inevitable suburban decline….  Yet repeating a mantra incessantly does not make it true. Indeed, any analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census would make perfectly clear that rather than heading for density, Americans are voting with their feet in the opposite direction: toward the outer sections of the metropolis and to smaller, less dense cities.”
You may recollect that Mr Kotkin was the keynote speaker at the Property Council’s “Cities Summit 2011” in September and, at his request, SOS took him on a tour of Sydney. 
What the Department of Planning tells us is Orwellian rubbish.
3.  The Department of Planning tells us that with high-density there will be no congestion as everyone will use public transport. But we have all seen that as high-density policies tightened their stranglehold on Sydney, so traffic congestion worsened. This would be expected by any rational person.  Any slight increase in public transport use is more than outweighed by the increased number of people who still have to use their cars for all sorts of reasons – going to work or visiting relatives and friends or facilities not easily reached by public transport and for transporting bulky items that are impractical or illegal aboard public transport such as weighty shopping items, weekend recreation equipment and the family pet.
More public transport will not solve the basic problem.  Wendell Cox reports “In Europe, where cars carry the largest share of commuting in major urban areas, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport has characterized attracting people out of cars to transit as comparatively ineffective. If it were possible to reduce travel times with transit, local planners would have long ago proposed such a system; they haven’t anywhere. The reality is that transit, on average, takes 70 percent longer than commuting by car in the metro area”.
Contrary to what we are incessantly being told, while public transport has an important role, it will not ease the swelling strangulation brought about by increasing population and density.

Save Our Suburbs has been invited to make a submission to the Inquiry into the provisions of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2011.  Please let me know of any suggestions you have for this submission.
Tony Recsei
Save Our Suburbs
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