A cities expert has named Greater Springfield as most-likely contender for Brisbane’s second central business district.
How Great Cities Happen author and University of Sydney Professor John Stanley made the prediction at an exclusive forum on population growth, Building Australia- Big or Small, at Brookwater this week.
The Australian National University and the Australian Davos Connect (ADC) Forum hosted the inaugural Queensland event, which featured a range of experts talking about city planning, demographics and migration.
Professor Stanley spoke about the future of Australian cities and said Greater Springfield was on track to becoming the next Brisbane CBD.
“Brisbane is at a size now that it needs a clear vision for a second CBD and Greater Springfield has the opportunity to position itself to play in that kind of role,” Professor Stanley said.
Australian cities are relatively low density in international terms, so developing clusters of knowledge-based, high-tech activities is key to promoting productivity growth in our cities. It also enables the benefits from this growth to be better shared.
“Once cities pass about one to two million people, they need one extra cluster of this type per million people (as a rough guide) to achieve these purposes.
“Brisbane is now at the point where it needs to think about where its second dominant cluster should be located.”
In order for a second central business district to be successful, Professor Stanley said it would require well thought out planning and infrastructure.
He said Greater Springfield’s focus on areas such as education, health and IT were great starting points.
“Having rail already in place is really good because it ensures the community can work around the 20-minute neighbourhood model of connectivity,” Professor Stanley said.
“If there are decent public transport service hours in place, it means people won’t need to rely on a car and can survive getting around either on foot, bicycle or public transport.
“Greater Springfield can be compared to Paramatta in Sydney because of its use of the ‘Eds and Meds’ economic approach.
“This is where a city or community focuses its infrastructure plans around education and medicine, which in addition to the current hospital in Greater Springfield, could mean a future research hospital, more university offerings and innovative IT facilities all within close proximity to each other.
“Considering all those elements, the city is on the right track to becoming the next central business hub of South-East Queensland.”
Managing Director of the Demographics Group and social commentator, Bernard Salt AM was at the event and said Greater Springfield was the perfect example of the future of Australian cities.
“Greater Springfield was conceptualised more than 25 years ago as an exemplar of what Australians would want in the 21st century and that has now come to fruition,” Mr Salt said.
“People of the 21st century won’t want to commute because it’s wasteful, bad for mental health and bad for the environment, so ideally you will want to live, work and play all within the local area.
“My view is that Australia should be the world’s best practice at city growth, city planning and city management because of the sheer scale of growth in this country.
“If you cast your eye around Australia and look for good examples of somewhere that has done city planning well, Greater Springfield is undoubtedly one of the best.
“We want large and medium-size businesses to be headed by Australians who can aspire to run a local business that has global interest.
“Hopefully sites like Greater Springfield can attract the best, brightest and most advanced technology employers and start-ups into this community- that would be a great outcome for Australia, Brisbane and Greater Springfield.”
Springfield City Group deputy chairman Bob Sharpless said the Greater Springfield masterplan was founded with the intention of complimenting the predicted population growth of Brisbane and the region.
“Our goal for this city was to be a major contributor to the Queensland economy and to lead the way in terms of fostering industries of future job growth including technology, health and education,” Mr Sharpless said.
“Our proximity to Brisbane means we’re already attracting call and data centres from major international corporations like General Electric.
“The connectivity we have via direct road and rail links means business-people and commuters can travel door to door between the two business hubs in half an hour.
“Add to that the amenity of the Orion Lagoon, Robelle Domain Parklands, the hospital, university, retail precincts and schools, it’s clear Greater Springfield has everything Brisbane needs in a future second CBD.”
The ADC Forum is an Australian, non-political, not-for-profit leadership organisation which brings together leaders from business, government, the public sector, academia and the broader community to improve their understanding of key issues affecting Australia.
ADC Forum CEO Anton Roux said he was delighted to be holding the forum in Greater Springfield.
“Greater Springfield is in one of the fastest growing regions in South-East Queensland and it is great to be learning what it takes to grow a new city,” Mr Roux said.
“If the Australian population is to continue to grow, we need to learn how to create the spaces and services people need to live good lives.”
ANU Public Policy Hub Director Sean Innis said that it was important to bring a diverse range of views together when discussing population.
“We need to have a rich understanding of how Australia is changing if we are to design good public policy into the future.
“There was consensus about the need for an in-depth national discourse on population growth, its implications and how to manage it.
“The issue is not just about population size and migration levels, but also about geographical distribution of our population.
“The long-term implications of population size and structure need to be understood, because they will shape our society and economy.
“The issues are complex, but something so fundamental to our future cannot be distilled into slogans and we need broad engagement to build a national consensus.”