Geographical Perspectives of Brisbane 2026
In many western countries, as well as in Australia, city planners consider urban consolidation so as to achieve a compact urban form as a good strategy to manage urban growth as well as to contain urban sprawl (Freeman, 2001). Freeman further explains that such compact urban centers are beneficial in terms of efficient land use, reduced automobile reliance and promotes social interaction among the residents. The Brisbane city council as well as many other city councils has realized proper management of urban centers will contribute positively in creating sustainable cities.
A report by the South East Queensland Region Plan (SEQRP) says that because of the climatic changes which are affecting the suburban areas surrounding Brisbane, the city is likely to experience more influx of people because of increased urban migration. The city’s humid climate which is similar to sub-tropical regions will attract more people who will be pushed out of their homes by the extreme weather conditions. Due to the anticipated urban migration, Brisbane city council came up with a vision “Living in Brisbane 2026” to ensure sustainability was achieved by 2026. The vision was developed in 2000/01 as the council saw the looming challenge of population influx (Brisbane City Council, 2009). The task of the 2026 vision is to ensure the city is prepared to meet demand for more housing, more roads and more social services as it braces for the estimated people migration into the city for the next 20 years (Brisbane 04). The daunting task is how to bring a balance between natural habitat conservation, and meet demand at the same time.
Looking at the vision from the geographical point of view, it is paramount to understand the geographical location of the city. Brisbane city is magnificent for it has a beautiful river and the buildings start from the mouth of the river, and extends along the banks of the river (Brisbane City Council, 2009). It also prides itself in harboring open green spaces as the residents practice an outdoor lifestyle culture. The visions aim to preserve this unique feature that makes Brisbane magnificent. Plans are underway to make the river and Moreton Bay healthy. The plan is to ensure no waste water is discharged into the river or bay as well as make water catchment areas clean to promote an ecosystem which is free from pollutants.
Land use sustainable management will also take into consideration the land use for infrastructure building to promote transport network. The council is responsible for ensuring that the installed public transport infrastructure adheres to the proposed land use pattern. In the short action plan report labeled transport 2007, a detailed action plan of how infrastructure to meet public transport demand should be planned to promote better land use in the city. The insistence on proper land use patterns is to promote environmental sustainability so as maintain the current city outlook as a magnificent city (Northern link, 2008).
Another massive and magnificent factor that marks the geography of Brisbane is the Great Dividing Range (Queensland Department of Infrastructure and Planning, 2009). The city which faces Mount Coot-tha has its larger part lying on the coastal plains while the other part is on the Eastern part of the Great Dividing Range. There are many large hills that dot the city with their altitude estimated to be more than 300 meters. The Great Dividing Range also has mountains such as Mount Gravatt, Stephens Mountain and Whites Hill.
The geographical nature of Brisbane
The urban and natural habitat of Brisbane city is rich in shady tree lined streets, parks and opens spaces. It also has large areas of bush land and wetlands which are re-known worldwide (Brisbane 15). Brisbane is also a very diverse city in term of flora and fauna as it supports thousand of plants and animal species (Brisbane City Council, 2009). Currently, 30% of the land is covered by natural habitat while more than 84% percent of land which is privately owned is covered by trees. The vision is in place to protect the rich natural habitat from degradation due to population growth pressure. The vision strategy is to restore 40% of natural habitat area so as to maintain urban and environmental harmony, in order to make Brisbane flora and fauna diversity sustainable. This will be achieved by involving the community and the council together to restore and protect the habitat.
Environmental Issues, Hazards and Sustainability
The 2026 vision also aims to make Brisbane the most sustainable city in the world. The residents and business will be required to undertake several measures aimed at reducing environmental impacts. Brisbane as it stands now has a unique subtropical character as compared to other cities in Australia (Brisbane City Council, 2009). The unique character is enhanced by the rivers and bush land setting which hosts some of the Australian natural wonders. The bush setting acts as a habitat to great diversity of wild animals such as mammals, birds and amphibians which are not found in any other capital city in Australia. The city vision 2026 program is aimed at creating and maintaining a sustainable culture among its residents. To enhance the sustainability; the city council will engage residents and business to contribute to the measures on individual, household, business basis in achieving the vision (p. 14). The council will provide clear guidelines to the residents on the intended activities to ensure sustainability of the outcomes. Using the bush land preservation levy, the council will also embark on acquisition and preservation of bush land. The council is also set to improve the green scenery of the city by planting tress under the two million trees project (p. 16). In order to adapt to the impact of climatic changes, measures will be undertake to reduce greenhouses gas emission by 50 % by 2026. This target will be achievable as the city residents will be using alternative fuels and smart air technology. In turn, the residents are assured of breathing the cleanest air in Australia
In addition, measures will be undertaken to protect the biodiversity and the significant habitats such as wetlands, coastal environments and bush lands so as to maintain the unique subtropical character of the city. The above will be achieved by promoting land use partnerships between the council and the residents (Northern link, 2008). Also, the council will ensure public lands are under sustainable management practices. The public lands management tactics include; management of weeds and pest animal management which the council will undertake in conjunction with private land owners to control the invasive pest species into the lands.
Another measure to promote environmental sustainability is by promoting proper waste management. The council aims to encourage the residents to undertake measures of waste minimization and also to provide cleaning services to ensure the Brisbane streets and roadways are kept clean. The rising population will demand more water, hence sustainable water use strategy is mandatory. According to the 2026 vision, a program for waste water recycling and reuse will be implemented. The program will go a long way in conserving the dams as pressure will be minimized through water recycling and re-use. The vision is to use alternative sources of waters such as grey water, storm water, ground water and rain water harvesting, and to meet a 100% target of water re-use (Brisbane City Council, 2009).
To ensure the above environmental hazards control measures are implemented, the council has appointed officers who are in charge of reviewing results on a regular basis. This is to ensure the target outcomes are delivered within the set budget and deadline (Brisbane 14). If all goes according to the plan, (SEQRP, 2010) says the outcome of the “Our Shared Vision: Living in Brisbane 2026” will translate to; clear air, sustainable water use, healthy river and bay, zero waste and green and bio-diverse city.
Brisbane City prides itself because of its magnificent nature in terms of natural habitat which is very diverse in terms of flora and fauna. The city which enjoys a humid sub-tropic climate is very attractive to the people on the surrounding suburban, which experience harsh extreme temperatures, due to the climatic changes in the world. In the next 20 years the city will experience a population growth due to urban migration. Population influx could lead to the city degradation as the cities amenities will be overstretched. The proposed 2026 vision is therefore; important in ensuring that the city is meets the demand in terms of housing, transport and land use, water and environmental issues. Effective management of transport infrastructure, housing planning, land use, water use, environmental hazard management and waste management will go a long way in making Brisbane a sustainable urban center. It will become an ideal city where residents will enjoy a diverse ecosystem, clean air, effective transport systems and free flow of water. Those who love outdoors will be assured of open spaces to conduct their activities like cycling.
City smart, Brisbane City Council, Brisbane, 2009 http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/2010%20Library/2009%20PDF%20and%20Docs/1.About%20Council/1.10%20News%20and%20publications/Budget%202010-2011/budget_1011_citysmart.pdf
Freeman, L. (2001). The effects of Sprawl on neighborhood social ties. Journal of the American
Planning Association, Vol.67(1), 2001, 69-77.
Brisbane City Council (2006). Living in Brisbane 2026
Northern link (2008). Technical report No.11 Planning land use. Brisbane City Council,
September, 2008 http://www.northernlinkeis.com.au/pdf/eis/Vol3/Vol3_TechReport11_Land%20Use.pdf
Queensland Department of Infrastructure and Planning, South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031. Queensland Government. 2009
Queensland geographical journal. Royal Geographical Society of Australasia. Queensland Branch. Brisbane, Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, Queensland. 1986. Print