University of Canberra’s Barbara Norman – Australia News

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Australia should learn from the havoc wreaked on the United States by Hurricane Irma and other weather events to better plan city growth, a University of Canberra expert has told federal Parliament.

Chair of Urban and Regional Planning, Barbara Norman, said a national plan for growth of cities and towns was needed to prevent housing and commercial development in areas of Australia that will be impacted by weather events and natural disasters.

Addressing the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, Professor Norman said national coordination was needed, especially as climate change brings greater risks to urban populations and the environment.

“What we don’t have is a national perspective on how we are to manage future growth and decline,” she said.

“As a whole nation, we will grow quite substantially over the next few years – current projections are up to 40 million by 2050. If that happens, that’s enormous growth. We need to be planning for that.

“We also need to be very mindful of the events in the United States right now, with the extreme events, and be very aware of where we place future urban growth and that we don’t place future urban growth in areas that are exposed to high levels of extreme risk.”

She told the committee, chaired by Sydney MP John Alexander, Australia could follow the US in creating a national plan for hot spots of extreme risk where development could be prevented.

An integrated approach to planning, shared by all levels of government,…

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