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 – email@example.com
Public Sector People are currently seeking an Urban Planner to join a progressive metro council with offices based in the CBD. Covering a period of leave, this is a contract role until April 2022. This is a busy team, with a high volume of work with up to 50 applications at a time, working on business signage, liquor licensing, heritage, residential and shop fronts. This role is suited to candidates who can work in fast paced environments, seeking a planner with 1-2 years’ experience in the private or public sector. Great opportunity for a planner who wants to work for a Inner City Council which is highly regarded and will look great on any CV! Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. 1-2 years’ working experience within Urban planning. Available to work 30 – 35 hours per week. Comfortable working in a fast paced environment. Benefits include: Contract until April 2022 $45 p/h + super Work with a progressive council with a great reputation Working a hybrid model with time in office and remotely. 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. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format
Public Sector People are seeking a Landscape Architect for a council based in Melbourne’s CBD. Working in the Property, Infrastructure and design branch, you will be joining a team of eleven people. In this role you will be working on a transformative $300 million river walk project. This is a real opportunity to be involved in a project that could shape the future of Melbourne. The Senior Landscape Architect is responsible to provide landscape architectural services including design conception and resolution, detailing, documentation and site attendance to assist in delivering high quality architectural projects on time, to budget and within the scope and quality in project briefs, as a member of the City Design’s team, to achieve the successful delivery of key milestones and high quality design outcomes. The successful candidate will have public sector experience and strong design and documentation experience, with previous experience in urban renewal/ transport and infrastructure projects being desirable. This is an initial three month contract position, likely to be extended. Requirements include: A tertiary qualification in Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, or other associated profession. Five to six years’ plus experience in a Landscape Architecture role, ideally within the public sector. Competent in AutoCAD and Adobe suite. Strong stakeholder management skills. Benefits include: $55 - $75 p/h + super depending on experience. Contract through until end of January 2022. Work on a project which will transform Melbourne. Mixture of WFH and office based working. 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. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
Public Sector People are currently working with a regional Council located North Melbourne. A Band 5 Statutory planner is required for a period of at least three months while they manage an increase workload. It is likely the role will go for longer due to the volume of work. This is a supportive team and suitable for someone early in their planning career as you will get exposure to a variety of planning issues. You will be working across a range of applications, farming, commercial, residential infill and subdivision, heritage and environmental. This role is suited to candidates who have previous public or private sector experience withing planning. This is a regional council and they have their team back in the office, will be a hybrid model with some days in office, some days from home. Great opportunity for a planner early in their career, keen to develop public sector experience. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Some exposure to Victorian Planning Scheme. Available for a full time contract, five days a week. Benefits include: Three month contract, with potential for extension. $35 - $45 p/h dependent on experience. Regional councils offer a range of applications and candidates benefit from increasing their skills across the board. 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. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
PSP are working with a busy, growth area council on the recruitment of a highly motivated and emerging design manager for a newly created role. Drawing on your design, preconstruction project management and well developed client and stakeholder engagement skills, this is an outstanding opportunity to drive the design and development of council’s forward pipeline of growth area Community Centres, and the renewal of Centres in established areas. With a focus on the delivery of high quality, sustainable and user responsive design outcomes you will forge effective partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, manage design timelines, prepare functional briefs and site masterplans, and appoint the architect and technical consultants to design and document these important community facilities. Key Skills The successful candidate will have qualifications in Urban Design or Architecture Project management in a community or capital projects setting Development facilitation Exceptional stakeholder engagement and negotiation skills Benefits Work within a team that can offer ongoing support and development. Can offer a permanent arrangement or an 18 month contract – depending on your preference. Flexible working arrangements. Hybrid office and working from home model. Opportunity to transition into a public sector role. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other planning 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 working with a local council in the South Eastern suburbs on the recruitment of two Environmental Health Officers. Environmental Health Officer 1 The Environmental Health Officer will be an intensive program of conducting Risk Based Food Safety assessments at predominately Class 2 and maybe 3 registered food businesses. This position will be for 9 weeks. Environmental Health Officer 2 The Environmental Health Officer will be managing a part-time area and conducting additional assessments to make up Full time capacity at least until the end of the 2021 year. They will be predominately be conducting Food Act activities including Assessments, New business applications ect, but will also need to be able conduct inspections and investigate matters under the PH&W Act. This position will be at least until the end of 2021. Requirements include: Suitable qualifications – Bachelor of Applied Science or Health Science (Environmental Health) – or recognised equivalency Recent public sector experience as a practicing Environmental Health Officer, or membership with Environmental Health Australia Current Victorian driver licence. Previous Local Government experience as an EHO. 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.