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Six million in Melbourne or a network of sustainable midi-cities? A thought experiment

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Robert Fuller, L Trygg
By 2050, it is projected that Melbourne will have a population of between 5.6 and 6.4 million (DPCD, 2012), an increase of nearly 50% above its current level. Despite Melbourne's status as the world's most liveable city, a recent survey found that Australians in general found smaller cities are better places to live and bring up families (Perkins, 2013). The Grattan Institute's report entitled "The Cities We Need" was "an invitation to a conversation" about our future cities (Kelly, 2010:5). One idea not canvassed in the report was that of decentralization to accommodate Melbourne's projected growth. In its discussion paper, "Let's Talk about the Future", the Victorian State Government proposes that Melbourne become a 'polycentric city' linked to its regional cities (DPCD, 2012). While growth in the present regional cities is acknowledged, the possibility that these and other new regional cities could absorb the future population projected for Melbourne is not considered, nor that these regional cities could be transformed into 'sustainable cities'. This paper explores the idea that a network of smaller 'midi-cities, based on the sustainable city concept of Sweden, might provide a better alternative to concentrated growth in one city. Fifteen new cities of 150,000 would be required to absorb the projected extra 2.3 million Victorian residents. The paper analyses the energy, food, water and land requirements of a typical sustainable city. The new cities would require approximately 12% of the State's land area for food and energy supply, as well as the built environment.



State of Australian Cities. Conference (6th : 2013 : Sydney, NSW)


1 - 9




Sydney, NSW

Place of publication

[Sydney, N.S.W.]

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2013, SOAC


K Ruming, B Randolph, N Gurran

Title of proceedings

SOAC 2013 : Proceedings of the 6th State of Australian Cities Conference

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