How right Kelvin Thomson is

The Editor
Herald Sun
 
Dear Editor,
 
The founder of international talkfest TED, Chris Anderson, is terribly wrong if he believes a world of 10 billion people is a good thing, and that building bigger mega cities is ‘going to save humanity’ (‘Vertical living is the answer to the world’s population growth’ 29/5/12).
 
Studies have shown high density high rise buildings have big carbon footprints, consume more energy, generate more pollution and detract public amenity through the large shadows they cast, as opposed to lower density, traditional forms of development. The proliferation of high rise development is seriously threatening not only our environment, but also our social fabric, leading to more crime, drug use and anti-social behaviour.
 
Mr Anderson’s claim that New York is ‘the most sustainable city of Earth’, is utterly nonsense. The Economist latest rankings put Melbourne as the most liveable city in the world. New York was 56th. It is an urban myth that people living in high rise buildings use less energy and have a lower environmental footprint than people in detached houses. In Manhattan people run their air conditioners all day and all night to keep their airless apartments cool. There are no rainwater tanks, solar PV panels, no people growing their own vegetables. Manhattan is not the self-sufficient, sustainable, world of the future. It is a product of a time when we thought the sky was the limit. But the planet does have limits - food, water, energy, carbon.
 
Developers use doublespeak terms like "sustainable", "exemplary design", "efficient planning" and "reduced footprint". These are all code for removing residents' rights to meaningfully object to developments in their neighbourhoods.
 
The future of our planet does not lie in our population ballooning out to 10 billion people, but rather governments around the globe taking the responsible approach to stabilise global population levels, so that we can pass on a world in as good a condition as the one our parents and grand parents gave to us.
 
Yours sincerely
KELVIN THOMSON MP
Federal Member for Wills