Housing more people, addressing social inequality and generating revenue to fund public services are challenges that can be met together if new urban development opportunities are tackled in the right way, says Clare Wildfire.
Many cities already have a housing shortfall and, if left unchecked, this will only worsen. It’s not just space for homes, but also for the infrastructure that make them liveable and desirable. Creating high-density developments of good quality housing within existing boundaries, on brownfield sites and underused land, will make a major contribution to meeting demand for homes without adding to the urban sprawl.
Building new neighbourhoods on underused or redundant transport authority land, for example, provides multiple benefits. It can provide a more attractive public realm, better local services and amenities, stronger connections to neighbouring areas, improved resilience and new opportunities – things that local residents need and want. Well-planned places where people want to live, work and play, as well as travel from and to, are attractive to developers and investors. Through levies on revenues from development and businesses, site owners can raise money to reinvest in services and keep fares low as central governments scale back financial support.