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Liveability of cities paramount

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Better Cities: Urban Change in

Canberra 27 - 28 March 1995




28 March 1995


Cities should no longer be categorised as developed or

undeveloped but liveable or unliveable Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley said today.

Jim Soorley was speaking at the "Communities and Urban Change" Session of the Better Cities Seminar being held in Canberra today.

Mr Soorley said we had been used to looking at the services

provided in cities and categorising them into developed or undeveloped.

"This has changed.

"Already some parts of London are unliveable as are some parts of New York.

"Mexico City could also be classified as unliveable," he said.

"We are now getting to the stage where the liveability of cities will determine their economic activity.

"People are already fleeing those cities which have high levels of pollution or crime to move to more liveable areas.

"Companies are relocating to where the social and environmental amenity give a high guality of life."

Jim Soorley said he believed that in Australia, Brisbane had a real opportunity to capitalise on its liveability.

"Melbourne will remain the manufacturing centre of Australia and Sydney the financial," he said.

"But Brisbane has the opportunity to develop as the service centre and to attract companies working globally who wanted to locate somewhere where their employees could enjoy a good quality of life."

At the same session Professor Peter McDonald from the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University said cities needed to pay more attention to their social


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"Many world cities have now divided into two or more cities within one city.

"Elite neighbourhoods have developed which are separated physically and socially from the ghettos of the poor.

"Parts of the city decay while other parts prosper.

"Research has shown that new firms are reluctant to establish in places where extreme poverty is juxtaposed with extreme wealth.

"The cities of the extremes are failing."

Professor McDonald said the population loss from Melbourne and Sydney over the past ten years came from people of all ages

including families with children.

"Both of these cities rank highly on international comparisons of the living standards of cities but we should be aware that the falls in living standards in other countries have demonstrated just how rapidly the situation can change.

"Social sustainability must be up there among economic efficiency and environmental sustainability if we wish to keep our cities successful in the future," he said.

For further information: Jenny Menzies, Brian Howe's Office (06) 2 7 7 7 6 8 0