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Pages from White-Paper-full-document

After recently reviewing the NSW Planning white paper,  it struck me how many times the words economic viability or economic feasibility were mentioned and how little mention there were of other contemporary planning terms, that relate to social and environmental considerations such as Urban Design, Liveability and Natural Resources. So I conducted a subjective word count to discover the following interesting facts:

The white paper ‘word count’ presented the following results:

economic – 82

natural resources – 7

urban design – 1

liveability – 1

landscape – 4

neighbourhood – 13

heritage – 14

streetscape – 1

architecture – 0

engineering – 1

fire – 110

flood – 9

accessibility – 12

seniors /retirement living – 1

There is no doubt that this document is a big body of work which covers a lot of ground and considers many of the complex components which need to be addressed, in order to have a planning system that resembles some sort of orchestrated process. However if this state is still pursuing sustainable development, then the social and environmental considerations need to be factored in equally with the economic considerations. If we are talking about balance, then the white paper has a long way to go.

New research by the university of Western Sydney, focusing on older adults, show the positive link between green space and wellbeing. With more wide spread research relating to liveability, we are now able to make evidence based planning decisions. We have a long way to catchup in quantifying green capital, but one day we will have the tools to be able to apply an economic value (per square meter) on our urban landscape.

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