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
PSP are working with an inner metro council on the recruitment of a Senior Placemaking Officer for a contract role. The Senior Placemaking Officer will manage the delivery of Placemaking projects including the preparation of place plans, concept design for key proposals, engaging with key stakeholders and coordinate the implementation of various placemaking initiatives. The position will involve reviewing community and consultant inputs, preparing spatial plans and strategies, developing urban design concepts, and writing placemaking related reports. The role will also involve collaborating with internal & external partners to make great places, including the organization of creative activations, community events, internal working groups and external stakeholder workshops. This is a great opportunity for a Landscape Architect, Urban Designer or Planner who wants to transition into placemaking. There will be a mix of working from home and office based work. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in landscape architecture, urban design or urban planning. Excellent communication skills, including report writing, visual presentation and oral communication skills. Demonstrated experience in community consultation processes. Good project management skills including managing project tasks, resources & timeframes. Benefits include: Entry into a placemaking role Work in a busy council with a variety of projects to get exposure to. Flexible working hours. Attractive hourly rate. 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.
PSP currently seeking a Senior Landscape Architect to work for a metro council on a contract basis for a three month contract. Covering a secondment, it is likely this role may be extended beyond this period. Joining a busy inner council, you will be working on the design and documentation of a number of open space and public realm projects, including a dog parks, pocket parks and a mixed-use plaza. This is a Band 7 role and we are seeking an LA with local government experience who is competent with design, documentation. You will be working a mixture of remote and office based. The offices are easily accessible from all directions and surrounded by plenty of coffee and lunch options. This role is paying between $60 - $68 p/h + super. Requirements include: A tertiary qualification in Landscape Architecture, Urban Design or other associated profession. Design and documentation skills. Previous Local Government experience. Benefits include: Add to your portfolio with experience in a busy metro council. $60- $68 per hour, with flexible working hours. Remote working and office based balance. Will consider part-time hours 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.
Public Sector People are working with a local metro council on the recruitment of a Band 5 or a Band 6 statutory planner for a maternity leave contract. The contract is until December 2021. This council are undergoing massive growth and this is a great opportunity for a planner seeking exposure to growth area planning. You will be joining a team with an excellent culture, very friendly and supportive. This council have a strong customer service focus, so would suit a planner who knows the importance of providing a first class service to applicants and residents. You will be managing a caseload of basic applications, residential, industrial and commercial. This role is suitable for someone with at least six months local government experience. You will be continuing to work from home with one or two days in the office for the foreseeable. This is a fantastic council to join from both a cultural perspective and for career development. This council have plenty of opportunity for permanent positions coming up, so a great time to get your foot in the door and potentially secure a permanent role. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Local Government experience, ideally within Victoria. Excellent customer service skills and ensure a great experience for applicants. Benefits include: Long term contract role. Excellent team culture. Working from home and Office balance. A council with diverse planning issues, not just rescode. 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 central Victorian council on the recruitment of an Environmental Health Officer. This is an initial three month contract but likely to extend. You will be able to demonstrate your excellent industry knowledge and previous experience working for a Local Council as an EHO. You will be able to competently complete registered premises inspections whilst communicating with local proprietors in a professional manner. This role will pay $50p/h + super for candidates at a Band 6 level with previous local government experience. You will be working on Customer complaint investigations Public Health and Wellbeing Act inspections Food Act inspections Pandemic Team support Health promotion support and program implementation and development Customer engagement and setting expectations 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.
Public Sector People are currently working with a council in Central Victoria in the recruitment of a Band 5 or Band Planning Compliance Officer. Our client is looking for previous planning enforcement experience within Local Government. Planners who have enforcement experience are also encouraged to apply. An average day will include investigation of planning complaints, conducting on-site inspections to ensure compliance with permit conditions and gathering information / evidence for enforcement purposes. Given the current climate, social distancing precautions will be in place. This is initially a three month contract and would suit a planner with enforcement experience or an enforcement officer who are out of work due to Covid. Requirements include: A full valid Victorian Drivers licence. Ability to gather evidence and conduct investigations to achieve planning compliance, including for prosecutions and enforcement orders where required Ability to listen and to communicate effectively with all relevant stakeholders to handle stressful situation in relation to development disputes Benefits include: Pick up some work in a council which often extend their contractors. Gain valuable experience in a regional Victorian council. No two days the same, this role promises a varied workload and opportunity be a part of a face-paced and dynamic team. $45 - $50 p/h depending on experience. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please 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 working with a Council, North East of Melbourne who require a Public Notice Officer one day a week for a period of six months. The primary responsibility of this role will be the installation/display, maintenance and removal of public notices displayed on land for which a planning permit application has been lodged. This is a six month contract and a fantastic entry level role for anyone studying Planning at the moment. You will be given the opportunity to learn about the Victorian Planning Scheme and deal with general incoming enquiries. This will give you local government experience to add to your CV, along with professional planning related experience. Ideal for anyone still studying or recently graduated. Requirements include: Full, valid drivers licence Ability to manage your own time effectively. Excellent customer service. Benefits include: 6 month assignment – potential for extension. Entry level role into planning for those still studying. Opportunity to work more days within Planning enquiries unit. Develop your CV with experience in a metro council. The previous candidates in this role have secured permanent roles off the back of their experience in this council. Hourly rate of $33.20 (+ super). 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. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below
PSP are currently working with a Council located on the cusp of Melbourne who require a Senior Planner, on a part-time basis for some report writing. Joining a growth area council, you will be coming on board during a particularly busy period and assisting the team with excess work. We are looking for a planner who can commit to two days per week, within business hours. You will be provided with laptop and equipment to get set up working from home. You will be able to work fully remotely, you will just need to attend the office on the first day to collect equipment, etc. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Strong written and verbal communication skills. Local Government experience within Victoria. Must be at least a Band 6 statutory planner. Benefits include: Competitive hourly rate on offer - $50p/h - $55p/h + super. Part-time hours Immediate start Secure work through until EOFY Remote working 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. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
Public Sector People are working with a regional council who are seeking a Senior Statutory planner for a six month contract role. You will join a large planning team covering a large range of applications, residential, industrial, heritage, native vegetation and bushfire management overlays. The workload has been largely unaffected by Covid and this is a busy council. You will be provided with laptop and equipment to get set up working from home but will be required to do one or two days in the office. Part-time hours will be considered. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Strong written and verbal communication skills. Local Government experience within Victoria, ideally with exposure to heritage and/or growth area planning. Benefits include: Competitive hourly rate on offer. Six month contract. Varied workload with some interesting applications to sink your teeth into. Working from home/working from office balance. Can offer full-time or part-time. 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. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.