Planning for 50 million Australians

Planning for 50 million Australians

Wednesday 26 April 2017

With Australia’s population projected to almost double in the next 40 years, planning and shaping our cities so they remain liveable in the face of this growth is a priority.

Shaping cities: Towards 50 million will be the theme of the Super Session at this year’s annual National Architecture Conference, PRAXIS and annual National Planning Congress: Growing up, Growing Out. Hosted jointly by the Planning Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Architects, a panel of leading Australian and International architects will examine the factors critical to a city’s success.

While Australia’s population now tops 24 million, by 2054-55 it is forecast to climb to almost 40 million, and an annual average population growth rate above the world average.

With the City of Sydney’s Director of City Planning, Graham Jahn AM as the session’s rapporteur, the panel will discuss why integrated design and planning are central to a city’s success, how equity is at the foundation of making vital and productive cities, why addressing climate change is critical and the vital importance of democracy and social licence in planning and design.

The Planning Institute of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer David Williams said the Super Session is a unique opportunity to focus debate on the key challenges facing our cities.

‘Public debate is a significant force shaping our cities. Today’s interconnected, social media plugged-in world has fundamentally changed the way individuals engage with each other and express their views about building design, urban design and master planning,’ Williams said.

‘Informal and formal groups of citizens are highly active, politically and media savvy. This alters how built environment professionals need to engage in the public debate and heightens the importance of providing their pragmatic and informed opinion.’

Australian Institute of Architects National President Ken Maher said great cities provide accessibility and opportunity for all citizens.

‘The provision of hard and soft infrastructure, how it is planned, its design quality and the quality of the public realm is critical to ensuring equity in our growing cities,’ Maher said.

‘Planners, urbanists and architects can and must actively engage in this issue. Similarly, we need to examine how these professions can be more effective in facilitating an understanding in our communities and among our politicians of the imperative to do more to address climate change.’

Facilitated by the Fifth Estate’s Tina Perinotto, the panel includes Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; Sylvia Karres, a leading landscape architect based in the Netherlands; Prathima Manohar, an architect, urbanist and founder of the think-dotank on liveable cities and Julian Bolleter, an awarded landscape architect and urban designer and Assistant Professor at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at UWA.

The Super Session will be held from 1.30 to 3pm on Friday 5 May. For more information and to register visit