Saying yes, yes, yes to urban renewal

It's time for Canberrans to embrace rather than fight urban renewal, says Dan Stewart.

“Canberra’s population is set to grow by 98 per cent in the next 45 years. In a city with fixed borders, there will come a time when greenfield development will no longer be an option,” the outgoing co-ordinator general of urban renewal and the deputy director of land development for the ACT government told a Propery Council lunch.

Urban renewal was an essential part of the future of our city, he said.

“We can expect to see new developments springing up across our borders – West Belconnen, Queanbeyan and Murrumbateman are just the start,” he said.

“But many people will want to live within the ACT, and urban renewal will help us to start building our city from the inside.”

Changing lifestyle preferences and an ageing population will also drive urban renewal. The proportion of Canberra citizens aged over 65 will grow from 11 per cent in 2012 to 22.5 per cent by 2060.

“We’re going to need to work hard to provide retirement living solutions – and that won’t come from pushing retirement living developments further and further into greenfield suburbs,” Stewart said.

Instead, he predicted we’d see multi-storey retirement living options emerge as downsizers become inner-city urbanites.

Pointing to projects such as City to the Lake and Capital City Metro, Stewart said these were “city-changing projects” that will breathe new life into our CBD – but they needed the community’s support.