16/3/11: Problem Categorisation - How have problems been identified? My strategy in evaluating the plans starts with a consideration of the way in which urban ÔproblemsÕ or ÔobjectivesÕ are stated and categorised. This led me to create a matrix as shown in Table 1.1 to demonstrate the key differences in categorisation of ÔproblemsÕ and ÔobjectivesÕ. OBJ 1
PLANYC 2030 Land
METRO VANCOUVER 2040 Compact Urban Area
SEQRP 2009-2031 Sustainability and Climate Change Natural Environment Regional Landscape
Natural Resources Rural Futures
Support Sustainable Economy Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Develop Complete Communities Support Sustainable Transportation Choices
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Strong Communities Engaging ATSI Compact Settlement Employment Location Infrastructure Water Management Integrated Transport
Table 1.1 Ð Current objective areas in South East Queensland Regional Plan (SEQRP) 2009-2031, Plan New York City (PLANYC) 2030, and Metropolitan Vancouver (Metro Vancouver) 2040.
In analysing this matrix it is interesting to note the differences in the overall structures of the plans, and the division and classification of problem areas. SEQRP possesses far more Ôdesired regional outcomesÕ with double the classification areas than that of New York or Vancouver. Whilst the objectives are reasonable and relevant, the segregation of like or overlapping objectives could create discrepancies or confusion when developing more detailed local level plans or control mechanisms. In reviewing the categories included in each plan, my initial thoughts are that it may be possible to combine a number of the SEQRP 20092031 objectives to enable a more concise communication of key objective areas. 18/3/11: Alternative Categorisation - How could SEQ identify problems? The previous entry noted the potential for combining objective areas. I have identified alternative objective classifications that aim to provide a more concise list of objectives as listed below: 1. The ÔDeveloping Strong CommunitiesÕ objective is closely tied to the achievement of cultural diversity and equitable community engagement for all members of society. For this reason my belief is that the incorporation of ÔEngaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslandersÕ within the ÔDeveloping Strong CommunitiesÕ objective would be a positive integration. In addition, I would consider the rural community as part of a ÔStrong CommunityÕ, and would avoid the segregation of any ÔcommunityÕ stakeholders to create emphasis on solidarity of community rather than segregation of key stakeholders. 2. The ability to manage the ÔNatural EnvironmentÕ is subject to managing the objectives of landscape heritage and those recreational activities that occur within the natural environment. I would consider that the ÔClimate ChangeÕ objective is one of many environmental issues, and as a result I would consider combining these objectives into one overarching objective area under ÔEnvironmentÕ or similarly named. 3. I would consider the ÔCompact SettlementÕ and ÔEmployment LocationÕ objectives to be closely related, as we understand that employment location is directly dependent on land-use planning / settlement pattern of a city. For this reason a more accurately defined objective such as ÔSustainable City StructureÕ may be more beneficial than being named after a city structure fad.
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Based on my previous entry in which I developed the matrix shown in Table 1.1 to demonstrate firstly the number of differences in objectives between the three plans for reference. I revisited Table 1.1 and colour coded sections that I believe could be combined to improve clarity. Green references the ÔEnvironmentalÕ objectives, Orange represents the ÔBuilding Strong CommunityÕ objective, while Red represents the ÔSustainable City StructureÕ objective. The alternative objective matrix is shown in Table 2.2. OBJ 1 2 3 4 5 6
SEQRP 2009-2031 Sustainability & Environment Strong Communities Sustainable City Structure Infrastructure Water Management Integrated Transport
PLANYC 2030 Climate Change Air Land Energy Water Transportation
METRO VANCOUVER 2040 Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Develop Complete Communities Compact Urban Area Support Sustainable Economy Support Sustainable Transportation Choices
Table 2.1 Ð Alternative objective areas for SEQ to align closely with those in New York and Vancouver regional plans.
23/3/11: Visionary Vs. Analytical To quote the PLANYC 2030, ÔThirty years ago, a plan for New YorkÕs future would have seemed futile. The city was focused entirely on solving immediate crises.Õ This provides an interesting quote that inspires a look into the environment in which the SEQRP 2009-2031 has been implemented. That is to ask the questions, ÔIs the regional plan Proactive or Reactive?Õ, ÔIs the process visionary or analytical?Õ and ÔIs the plan practical?Õ. In answer to the first stated question the SEQRP 2009-2031 appears largely reactive to the population boom of South East Queensland (SEQ). The objectives within the plan clearly identify that the desired regional outcomes are largely formulated to manage growth, rather than to achieve growth. Under a reactive plan such as this it is difficult to be visionary, due to the perception of a pre-defined fate and the inability to change the outcome. This provides an answer to the second question in which we observe that the SEQRP 2009-2031 is clearly an analytically based plan, in which the only input option we have is to develop alternative strategies based on modeled trends. In answer to the third question, this provides a plan that is practical, however fails to identify the Ôdesirable futureÕ that is a fundamental component within the planning strategy. Metropolitan Vancouver 1996 and 2040 combined is an exemplar of balancing between the ÔVisionaryÕ and ÔAnalyticalÕ states, providing a plan that is both practical to implement and a plan that is forward-thinking to achieving a desirable future. It is clear however, that due to the short development period of the SEQRP 2009-2031, and the high number of local Councils requiring consultation, the end result is surprisingly effective. PLANYC 2030 while visionary and incorporating an inclusive community consultation process, seems to possess more marketing than actual solutions, and doesnÕt appear to possess the rigour that can be observed in the SEQ or Vancouver plans. 23/3/11: Prescriptive Vs. Communicative Acceptance of a strategic metropolitan plan by all stakeholders is vital to the effectiveness of that plan. That is, if the plan does not aim to achieve the values of the community or the direction of local authorities, the acceptance of the plan can be limited. In order to gain acceptance by these relevant stakeholders it is critical to take a ÔcommunicativeÕ approach in which relevant stakeholders can influence the plan formulation. A plan is considered ÔprescriptiveÕ if solutions are proposed without due consideration of stakeholders in the development process. It is with these definitions and observations, that we can analyse the effectiveness of SEQRP 2009-2031 in gaining both community and local authority acceptance.
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SEQRP 2009-2031 appears to have been successful in the involvement of local authorities in the plan development - it is very clear that local authorities were driving the formulation of the regional plan in conjunction with State authorities. This level of involvement is considered paramount when it comes to effective implementation of higher-level policies at the local level. In terms of community engagement, the defined policies clearly commit to community involvement, however evidence of consultation in formulating the SEQRP 2009-2031 is somewhat less than that undertaken in PLANYC 2030. As identified in topic 3, PLANYC 2030 incorporated an exemplary public consultation process, in which significant resources and time were allocated to achieve a fully inclusive consultation commitment. While it is understood that the SEQRP 2009-2031 was developed with limited available time and resources, the prescriptive nature of the plan may be a factor that could reduce its effectiveness in achieving the desired outcomes of the community. In saying this, however, there could potentially be implementation issues associated with the New York City 1996 plan if consultation did not actively engage local authorities. It is noted that the SEQ Integrated Transport Plan involved a significant commitment to public consultation, however, future reviews of the parent document, SEQRP may need to incorporate a greater commitment to the community consultation process to facilitate more holistic planning for the SEQ region. 25/3/11: Public Transport Demand Management & Funding One of the biggest challenges facing the SEQ region is public transport. It is evident that the SEQRP 2009-2031 incorporates Compact City ideals and aims to ÔintensifyÕ development around public transport. DRO 8 ÔCompact settlementÕ policies even address DRO 10 ÔInfrastructureÕ challenges; targeting efficient public transport services. What the plan seems to be lacking however, is solutions for two major DRO 10 challenges with regards to public transport; Ôusing demand management strategies to maximise the use of existing infrastructure and minimise the need for new infrastructureÕ and Ôdeveloping innovative funding and delivery mechanismsÕ. This is where the PLANYC 2030 may provide insight. PLANYC 2030 is looking at statistics and journeys to analyse demand management strategies; looking at routes, end destinations, where riders actual jobs are located, what they are using on their route, what hinders ways to get to their jobs. These are all aspects that improve journey experiences and desirability of public transport trips. This is where designers can play a vital role in improving the demand of existing infrastructure and enhancing commuter culture. It is interesting to note, that the sister document of the SEQRP 2009-2031, the South East Queensland Integrated Transport Plan, provides further detail in terms of transport specifics, however results in a disconnect between the two documents. In terms of innovating funding, NYC came up with a Sustainable Mobility And Regional Transportation (SMART) Funding Authority. The SMART Financing Authority is to be governed by an independent board with one purpose Ð to invest in projects proposed by transportation agencies. The revenue will come from proceeds from congestion pricing, City investment, and State contribution, and the investments will be monitored. A number of Public Private Partnerships (PPPÕs) have been initiated in the SEQ region, however such funding structures, while they allow delivery of an asset, can present controversial and complex commercial agreements that, in some cases have led to a failure by State authorities to effectively consult with Local authorities. PLANYC 2030 may provide some insight into alternative funding structures that may assist in addressing issues such as these. 1/4/11: From Plan to Practice If a plan is a statutory requirement and defines a measurable objective, it provides a more effective means for implementation because it forces lower levels of government to achieve these regional aspirations. The SEQRP 2009-2031 specifies clear measurable objectives such as infill development targets equating 50% of additional dwellings by 2031. Objectives such as these provide a more concise, effective and enforceable objective than vague policy statements that can be misinterpreted or underachieved. Although, through policies such as 8.3.3 and 8.3.4 which specify to Ôensure all development
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and appropriate infrastructure, such as public transport stations, incorporate subtropical design principles, including orientation, sitting and passive climate controlÕ and to Ôachieve design excellence for all new prominent buildings and public spaces in the Brisbane central business district, regional activity centres and transit communitiesÕ respectively, it is evident that in many approved developments these fundamental policies are failing to be achieved. While the principles of these policies are significant, implementation at the local level is clearly an issue. PLANYC 2030 does not specify any required performance levels for objectives, and with policy statements such as, ÒWe will seek to adapt unused schools, hospitals, and other outdated municipal sites for productive use as new housingÓ one can question what ÔadaptÕ, ÔoutdatedÕ, or Ôproductive useÕ are defined as. However, in spite of this, through public involvement and grass roots action, examples such as ÔNYC SkylineÕ are an achievement unsurpassed by SEQ and Vancouver regions. Perhaps measurable objectives are important for short-term goals, but may pose a limit to progression toward innovative long-term objectives.
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