Australia's burn-me cities: urban sprawl and our new climate of fire

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Opinion: Our cities are not only unprepared for fires supercharged by climate change, they are making the situation worse | emfarrelly

Cities have always been shaped by fire. The 1666 Great Fire of London, destroying 70,000 homes, turned a huddle of half-timbered shacks and shop-houses into the grand rows of terraces we see today. First, under Elizabeth I’s first building act which forbade all projection and decoration, came the very dour and upright Georgian terraces of Westminster and Islington. Then, as the law slowly softened, the more expansive and flossied-up Victorian terraces of Kensington and Camden Town emerged.

These same laws also produced old Sydney. Because our first building acts copied London’s almost word-for-word and our builders used the same pattern books, our terraces show the same basic pattern of protruding party-walls making a fire-proof matrix and well-proportioned windows with hidden frames. Being a century or two later than London’s, ours are distinguished by their near-universal wrought iron balconies.

of expected climate-stress, its water supply predicted to be just half of demand inside 30 years. Sydney has suffered prolonged smoke hazard, 10 times toxic levels. And Canberra, the pristine bush capital, entered the new decade with the world’s most poisonous air;Yet Melbourne is still sprawling massively, turning farms into sprawl. Bush-encircled and car-dependent -

like Resimax’s huge new Eynesbury development housing a potential 10,000 people on 828 hectares some 40 kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBDCanberra, perhaps the lowest density non-city known to man, where entire villages could be accommodated on the median strips alone, has also announced yet another shiny new suburb. Called, with ghastly irony,

, it will house 5,000 people in the Molonglo Valley. The official rationale for this madness? “Pent-up demand for houses on single blocks,” said the ACT’s Suburban Land Agency. Who needs government when you have market.

 

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emfarrelly 1. Urban sprawl moratorium. 2. Institute a 'pave an acre, save an acre' to mandate conservation for equal amounts of land that is developed. 3. Provide tremendous, unprecedented tax benefits to companies and people who conserve land.

emfarrelly We have now 3D sprawl with 100s of Apartment towers in Sydney. Elizabeth Farrelly still doesn't slaughter the holy cow of (rich) immigration which is the driver of all this. The unstructured settlement pie of Australian cities can't be changed. There is not enough time.

emfarrelly Pure comedy cold

emfarrelly The Central Coast is unprotected.

emfarrelly Fires supercharged by climate change? That will do me.

emfarrelly Sounds wonderful. I hope my great grand children live in cities like that, as for me, I'd be grateful for an affordable permanent roof over my ageing head. How I'd love to have enough idealism left in me to imagine a world like that!

emfarrelly I have been thinking for some time that Building Code of Australia needs a significant revamp. In bushfire prone areas there tough rules already but that may need to be extended more widely. A better BCA could reduce a lot of energy requirements for buildings and dwellings.

emfarrelly just think of Gold Coast canal houses The losses in value would be $10s bils

emfarrelly Super charged by climate change huh? That is a lie. And now its pissing rain! Climate change is a scam. Stop lying to the people you are propaganda.

emfarrelly Is all this rain supercharged by climate change? Or is it just rain?

emfarrelly So now not caused by climate change but 'supercharged' by climate change? 😆

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