Publication Details

Cook, N., Wiesel, I. & Liu, F. (2018). Are Urban Development and Densification Patterns Aligned with Infrastructure Funding Allocation? Examining Data from Melbourne 1999-2015. State of Australian Cities National Conference (pp. 1-9). Australian Cities Research Network.


Densification of cities and suburbs is a contentious issue for many communities in lower-density settings. Local opposition to densification is often premised on concerns about the inadequacy of existing infrastructure to support growing populations and is strongest and most successful in wealthier neighbourhoods. While the urban consolidation agenda in cities such as Melbourne and Sydney is justified in policy contexts as a strategy to improve utilisation of existing infrastructure in built up areas, densification over time also produces new demand for services. Whether or not densification drives new infrastructure spending is therefore an important question in the governance of social justice in densifying cities. Alignment between population growth and infrastructure spending is a crucial condition for communities asked to embrace higher density housing. Where misalignment occurs, those areas that are least resourced may also be those bearing the brunt of population increase and infrastructure stress. Recognising both the social justice and strategic dimensions of the density-infrastructure nexus, this paper examines data on spatial patterns of capital investment and population growth in Victoria (VIC). We focus on spending by the Victorian State Governments in a range of urban infrastructures and services in Melbourne since 1999. The findings highlight the limits and potential of these data and point to some inconsistencies between State Governments' infrastructure spending patterns and their urban development strategies.



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