Dear Geographers,

The last three or four years have seen the world economy impacted by global changes brought on as the result of evolving technological development at a global scale. The landscape that we work in on a day-to-day basis is changing.

Everywhere we see the results of change. Changes in technology, shifts in the economy, changes to our environment, changes to how we relate to each other. During the past couple of years, we have seen significant issues in our manufacturing sector, transport sector and banking and finance sectors.

Some long-term changes as a result of the new economy and especially in the energy industry, over time will dramatically impact the shape of our cities and the importance of location. Schumpeter (1883-1950) liked to call this process creative destruction. We have witnessed a change in our climate, the economy, technology and our social fabric.  And of course, very recently airline policy and transport infrastructure have been hit.

As planners and geographers, we can take the time to think through how our communities will react to and deal with these changes.

Jobs that we have now will change dramatically, and some will disappear in our building and construction sectors; businesses will move away and locally our government’s policies will be strained. Adaptation and resilience will become the order of the day, designing for more flexible outcomes and faster moving more adept approaches will be the disposition of survivors.

The Canberra is an example of the change in the rest of the world. A city that is reliant on the building sector to maintain its growth, not just for the industry but also for government, the largest developer in town.  Changes that need to take place here include:

The city can continue to rely on the economic base of the construction industry for income and employment growth, but will have oversupply in traditional building forms and undersupply in the medium density to high-density marketplaces.
Recognition that our city is made up of innovative, experienced professionals who will in many cases reinvent themselves and in so doing create new opportunities for many more people.
Recognition that the private sector still has a role, even if diminished in the delivery of new estates, and urban infill.
Private car ownership and driving patterns will change significantly, reducing the need for parking in cities.

However we look at it, the painful creative destruction process that we see in play across the world has not passed by Australia. We are still in need of a methodology to enable us to develop resilience in our communities and economy.

In a world that driven by the economic fortunes of cities, we have to be able to keep ahead of or even just keep up with the rest of the world.

I’m fascinated by cities that continue to move on through tough times without so much as a blip. But in all of life, there are risks with those risks comes change, even creative destruction.

Future updates to this blog will discuss:
·        How urban technology is changing the landscape of our cities;
·        The new economy;
·        Technology and planning policy; and
·        Community engagement and consultation techniques.
I hope you will follow these blogs as they develop and register to have your say.