Wanted: choreographers to shape our urban destiny
And the lesson from Cape Town was that if you could achieve greater efficiency out of existing assets or infrastructure, you were likely to reduce the costs of accommodating an expanding population while creating greater vibrancy.
The opportunity to test these propositions was to come some years later in central Melbourne. The achievement of the City of Melbourne’s 1985 Strategy Plan’s objective of increasing density through the addition of residential apartments in a high-quality public realm with improved connectivity has seen a once-dying city centre transformed in just 30 years into one of the top urban environments in the world. All of this as the tax burden on ratepayers dropped from 13 cents in the dollar in 1996 to 4.5 by 2013.
Since the 1980s this process has been replicated in several cities around the world. There is now no real mystery about the ingredients needed to make a good city. What is lacking, though, is an acknowledgement at the highest levels that the world’s cities are key players in discussions about the critical issues we face in the 21st century.