Page 468 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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fabric. The diversity of people living in our streets, the positive social inclusiveness and the built form all have an impact on the quality and experience of our lives in a city.

I think that many members met Jan Gehl, the Danish city planner, when he was here recently, and will have seen the stories in the paper. I had the opportunity to speak to him. It is always very interesting, of course, to have that chance to talk to someone that comes from outside, that offers fresh perspectives and that is perhaps not caught up in the day to day of the Canberra policy discussions.

I think the thing that I took out of the conversation I had with Jan Gehl is that you need to plan cities for people. That must be the number one policy question that we ask ourselves as we work through these issues: how will people interact in this place? How will it suit the human scale? These are questions that do not always have an easy answer, but I think they are the sorts of things that should motivate us as we think about these issues.

So I thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing this motion forward today. I think that the question of urban renewal is one that we are facing as a city. We may only be a relatively young city still, but clearly the world has changed a lot in the last 102 years. There are parts of our city that can be renewed in a way that makes us an even better city to live in than it already is. It is a discussion that will be an ongoing one but it is one we need to be having. The debate today allows us to reflect on some of the important principles and the rationale behind some of that urban renewal effort. I will be supporting the motion today.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (12.19): Belconnen is less than 50 years old as a town, almost born yesterday compared to the ancient cities in Iraq or to Rome and Beijing. However, Belconnen is undergoing rapid urban renewal under this government, bringing the promise of those early plans for a dynamic city centre to fruition. We are maintaining vast green corridors in Belconnen—open spaces, nature parks and more intensely manicured parks, such as the impressive John Knight Memorial Park, which are being constantly renewed, updated and improved.

There are also substantial areas being put aside in the early town planning of Belconnen for future development, notably in the town centre and around the suburban shopping centres. Other opportunities for urban renewal have arisen though changes in the community’s need and market conditions. Over 50 years the demographics of the Belconnen community have changed. Families are smaller, more households do not have children and more young adults are living independently of their families.

We are living longer and seniors are living in retirement in Canberra, whereas in the earlier days of Belconnen they returned, for example, to Melbourne or Sydney, where they had grown up. We have a wonderful legacy of suburbs full of houses on large blocks with room for front gardens, backyards and a garage or carport.

These are treasured. They meet the needs of many families and are being renovated, as needed, to meet more modern tastes and needs. Meanwhile, due to the demographic

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