Planning and urban development has always been a significant player within the public sector and plays an integral role in Australia’s quality of life. However, amidst COVID 19 chaos and strict lockdowns, the notion of ‘liveability’ has become a huge focus, causing global and national leaders to accelerate urban planning policies. Suddenly, with the majority of Australia’s workforce working from home and a significant proportion of the population prohibited from leaving their suburb, people are forced to take a closer look at their local surroundings and the ease in which they can carry out their daily activities. Suddenly, catching public transport to your local Coles, can have severe repercussions.
Cue the rise of the 20-Minute Neighbourhood , the new gold standard in urban planning. The concept focuses on planning and developing a city around how easily it’s inhabitants can access daily goods and services via walking, bike riding or a short drive. Why 20 minutes? Research shows that the 20-minute mark is the maximum time people are willing to walk to meet their daily needs.
The Key Features of a 20-Minute Neighbourhood
Local Shopping Centres
Local Health Facilities and Services
Local Playgrounds and Parks
Local Employment Opportunities
Lifelong Learning Opportunities
Affordable Housing Options
The 20-minute neighbourhood has significant benefits for post-pandemic life as it minimises the need for travel and reduces transit crowding, particularly in relation to public transport. In theory you shouldn’t need to catch a bus across town to buy your groceries or go to school- these amenities are walking or cycle distance away, which should help reduce the chances of COVID 19 spreading throughout cities. Furthermore, 20-minute neighbourhoods can help rebuild local economies, as they present opportunities for small business and provide greater ease in citizens shopping locally. They would also require infrastructure to be built (more bike lanes, walking tracks, local parks etc.) which in theory should generate more jobs for the wider community.
In fact the international coalition of urban leaders, C40 has recently created a ‘Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force’ which has taken the 20-minute concept one step further, encouraging the development of 15-minute cities. Global urban leaders have already begun to invest in the development of more parks and green space, micro mobility (lightweight transportation devices like bicycles and electric scooters) and pedestrian transit as part of the Task Force’s long-term strategy for financial rehabilitation.
Many international cities have swiftly launched into action with Paris beginning the installation of ‘corona cycleways’ to ease mass crowding, while Portland Oregon in the U.S, has fast tracked plans to turn 90 miles of roads into neighbourhood greenways.
Back on Australian soil, The City of Melbourne trailblazed ahead when they launched their metropolitan planning strategy in 2017. ‘Plan Melbourne 2017-2050’ dedicated a significant portion of its strategy to ‘living locally’ with a long-term plan to deliver 20-minute neighbourhoods in outer suburbs like Croydon South, Sunshine West and Strathmore by 2050. Developments have already started for community wellbeing precincts and education services in neighbourhoods currently lacking in these facilities. The City of Springfield in outer Brisbane has also recently taken up the 20-minute challenge, starting developments to integrate 20-minute characteristics into their wider council plans.
Meanwhile, inner-city Australian suburbs, particularly in older cities like Melbourne and Sydney already meet the 20-minute criteria, which is why they are such popular places to live. The catch-22 is that this popularity boosts property values and these inner-city neighbourhoods have become unaffordable for many Australians. Rising property values has caused a significant migration of young professionals and families to the outer-suburbs. Greater Western Sydney in particular is projected to reach 3 million people by 2036, making it one of the largest growing urban populations in Australia. Paramatta alone has one of the fastest growing new economy nodes outside of the Melbourne and Sydney CBD.
Despite this, construction for a 2nd international airport in Western Sydney is only just underway and believed to be finalised in 2026. There are still many pockets of the region which are ‘transport deserts’ and job density in comparison to the region’s employment rate is still very low. In 2018 it was believed that over 10,000 people leave Western Sydney each day for work. And herein lies a key challenge of the 20-minute neighbourhood; how do we create the same levels of liveability in these outer suburbs that exist within the inner-city? Moreover, how do councils and state governments ensure that affordable housing options exist in these inner-city areas?
Linda Corkery, a professor of landscape architecture at UNSW Australia shared her thoughts on the challenges Australia faces in creating more 20-minute neighbourhoods; ‘These neighbourhoods won’t happen overnight. Planning for them involves detailed analysis of existing facilities, businesses and services, local open spaces and activity patterns’.
While sponsored by State Governments, ‘living local’ initiatives are led by local councils and require detailed consultations with the community in-order to start the planning and development process. COVID 19 has presented a unique opportunity for councils however, as the self-isolation and lockdown measures enforced across Australia has caused individuals to take more notice of their local environment, reassess what they need from their community and become invested in how their neighbourhoods should grow and develop. If this interest can translate to an uptake in feedback, local councils will have the added pressure to make 20-minute neighbourhood initiatives a priority in future.
Senior lecturer in Urban and Environment Planning at Griffith University Tony Matthews, agrees with this sentiment “These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary responses. It is not a time for planners and policymakers to plan for people; it is a time to plan with people.”
Ultimately, COVID 19 has presented innovative opportunities for the future of urban planning and what cities could look like in a post-pandemic world. However, for the 20-minute neighbourhood to become a reality across Australia, it will require the integrated efforts of many; planners, governments, engineers and most importantly us, as active members of our local community.
If you would like to hear more about the opportunities available within urban planning and design or want to keep abreast of future opportunities as councils forge ahead with their developments plans, don’t hesitate to reach out to our consultant Emma Murphy. Emma focuses on the planning and environment sector and is always happy to offer support and advice on the industry’s job market – firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Sector People are currently recruiting a Health and Amenity Officer for a large council, in South West Victoria about 1 hour from the CBD. Working within the Health and Local Laws department, this position assist with technical support and investigations for the team, emsuring compliance to legislative controls addressing the Public Health and Amenity Protection. You will assist the Local Laws officers to ensure compliance to relevant legislation, Acts, regulations and Codes of Practice. You will provide assistance to Investigate complaints received in relation to the nuisance provisions of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, support the preparation of relevant documentation and institute legal proceedings as directed in relation to breaches within the area of responsibility. You will also provide support to access and process relevant Local Law provisions as they relate to health and amenity matters including camping, animals, noise, refuse, footpath trading and others. Requirements: Tertiary qualification in Environmental Health or statutory compliance, or other regulatory field. Minimum one year experience in an EHO, or Compliance/Local Laws field. Must have experience with investigations and enforcement in a compliance or regulatory role. Previous public sector experience desirable. Benefits: Start ASAP. Contract role very likely to be extended. Secure Local Government experience within a busy council on South West coast of Victoria. Apply for this role using the relevant links, using an updated copy of your CV. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other planning opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at Public Sector People on (03) 8535 3111.
Public Sector People are working with a South East council in metro Melbourne who are seeking a Landscape Draftsperson on a contract basis. This is a busy council with large developments happening, so will bring with it an interesting and varied workload. You will be working from initially and likely continue to work from home for majority of the contract due to Covid capacity restrictions. This is a Band 5 role so suitable for a designer with 6 months – 2 years experience. Role To assist the Landscape Design Team with drafting and documentation of a wide range of projects including streetscape plans, precinct plans, recreational, playgrounds, open space and park planning projects. Ensure all landscape design packages meet acceptable standards of viability, practicality and design, in accordance with Council policy and relevant legislation. Support the delivery of the Landscape projects though high quality drafting support in preparing full Landscape documentation packages for Tender/Construction. documentation, in a professional, time efficient and customer focused manner. Prepare Landscape Documentation Plans for Tender and Construction using AutoCAD software platform Prepare construction details using AutoCAD 3D modelling and massing models using Rhino and Sketch up software Concept development and preparing plans for consultation and presentations. Prepare project visualisations and documents for public display using Adobe Suite software Requirements Demonstrated relevant professional experience as specified. Valid Driver’s Licence Excellent proficiency using design software including AutoCAD, Rhino, Sketch up, Adobe suite and MS office National Criminal History Check and Working with Children Check to be undertaken if successful in role. Apply for this role using the relevant links, using an updated copy of your CV. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other planning opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at Public Sector People on (03) 8535 3111.
Public Sector People are currently recruiting a Sustainability Officer for a contract position within a regional Council approx. 100 km North/North West of Melbourne. Working within the Environment and Waste team, you will promote sustainability best practice across the organisation and the shire through the provision of expert advice on sustainability issues to Council. You will be working on Council’s solar panel program, energy assessments and developing a strategy for reducing road emissions and green house gasses within the local area. You will be working closely with the community, providing education and advice, stakeholder management is key to success in this role. This is a contract through until end of March but likely to be extended. This is a great opportunity to gain further experience within sustainability and build on community engagement skills. Requirements: This position requires formal tertiary qualifications and extensive practical application in environmental sustainability. Demonstrated stakeholder management experience. Demonstrated ability to project manage. Benefits: Start ASAP. Contract through until end of March, likely to be extended. Work in a beautiful part of Victoria known for its gourmet food and wine and natural mineral springs Hourly rate is negotiable dependent on experience. Please apply for this role using the relevant links and an updated copy of your CV. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP on (03) 8535 3111.
PSP are currently working with an outer ring Council in the North East suburbs who require a Senior Planner for a contract role to start ASAP. This is a large metro based council but you will see a different caseload to other metro councils, you will be working on ‘rural’ planning issues, such as, sheds, bush fire management, vegetation overlays, etc. You will be mainly report writing and working on VicSmart applications to assist with the volume of work. Given this is a short term contract, the successful candidate will be an experienced Local Government planner who can hit the ground running. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Experience working with Victorian Planning Scheme, ideally in a metropolitan context. Available for an immediate start. Benefits include: Secure work to start ASAP. WFH and Office based work as Covid restrictions ease office capacity numbers. You will be provided with laptop and equipment. Please apply with your current resume. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP (03) 8535 3111.
Public Sector People are currently working with a council located in Melbourne’s Inner-Metropolitan area to a recruit a Band 6 planner for a contract role while they undergo recruitment of a permanent position. Your core function will be to manage a caseload of applications and produce the delegate reports. You will be dealing primarily with Clause 54s, Clause 55s, 5-6 storey apartment blocks and liquor licences. Due to a substantial increase in applications our client requires you to assist one of three planning teams, ensuring that applications are being serviced and producing reports in an effective and efficient manner. This is a Senior role and we are seeking an experienced planner, ideally with previous experience in inner urban Melbourne. You will be using Trim, Pathways and Trapeze. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Experienced Local Government planner. Ability to work autonomously and manage your time efficiently. Benefits include: Gain valuable experience in an Inner-Metro Council as a senior team member. Competitive hourly rate offering Immediate start Will be WFH/office based as Covid restrictions allow. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at Public Sector People on (03) 8535 3111.
PSP currently seeking a Project Landscape Architect to work for an inner metro council for a six month contract role. This council have an increased volume in projects and there is plenty of opportunity for this role. This is a Band 5 role and you will be responsible for the concept design and masterplan development and implementation of landscape and urban design projects, such as playgrounds, parks, gardens, streets, open space and related projects. This is suited to an LA with 1 – 2 years’ experience, local government experience is desirable but not a necessity. Requirements include: A tertiary qualification in Landscape Architecture, Urban Design or other associated profession. AutoCAD, Illustrator, InDesign proficiency Strong skills and experience in graphic representation to communicate various concept, detailed and masterplan designs. Benefits include: Secure a six month contract. Add to your portfolio with experience in an inner metro council. Start ASAP! For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP on (03) 8535 3111. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
Public Sector People are currently inviting applications for the role of Environmental Health Officer to join a regional council in Alexandra. Given the current Covid-19 situation, you will be working autonomously. You will be provided with training and an onboarding process, while maintaining social distancing. You will ring each site prior to inspection and run through safety questions to your satisfaction before booking in and conducting any site inspections. You will be working two days in the field, with three days working from home. This is a contract role with an immediate start. $42 - $48 p/h + super. Requirements include: Suitable qualifications – Bachelor of Applied Science or Health Science (Environmental Health) – or recognised equivalency Recent Victorian experience as a practicing Environmental Health Officer, or membership with Environmental Health Australia Current Victorian driver licence. Must have local government experience. For a confidential discussion regarding this opportunity or other Environmental Health roles within public sector, please contact Emma Murphy on (03) 8535 3111 | Emma@publicsectorpeople.com.au