Density dreamin’

ALANNAH MacTIERNAN will deliver the Stephenson-Hepburn oration at UWA on “delivering the dream of density” on Wednesday.

The Vincent mayor—formerly a WA Labor planning minister who was enthusiastically pro-density—has overseen the roll-out of many multiple dwellings through her municipality.

She says “we need to shift the balance from the suburban to the urban in order to contain the economic and ecological hazards of sprawl in our rapidly growing city”.

While planning boffins and academia largely agree on the need for increased density Ms MacTiernan says “there seems to have been very little research into how we practically manage that transition”.

“We need to work out how we’re how we’re going to integrate small, inner-city bars and nightclubs with residential living.”

A supporter of Mark McGowan’s Metronet plan—now mothballed—Ms MacTiernan says “we can’t look at European-style city-densities without European-standard public transport”.

She’ll also look at how to compensate for the loss of trees and open space and the intensifying heat island effect from increased density.

In her role as mayor Ms MacTiernan has said she wants to expand the amount of open space in Vincent, possibly by purchasing land with the expected windfall from the Tamala Park sale (the former Perth council bought a share of landfill there for a pittance in 1981. Now it’s being sold for  the Catalina housing development big cash returns are on the way).

The Stephenson-Hepburn Oration, named for influential town planners Gordon Stephenson and Alistair Hepburn, is at the UWA social sciences lecture theatre on Wednesday from 5.45pm to 7pm, register stephensonhepburnoration2013.eventbrite.com.au

by DAVID BELL

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