5. Developing a strategic vision

The starting point for best practice ITLUP is stating a clear and compelling vision for the future structure of a city. This can guide land use and transport planning decision making, galvanise private and government investment activity, and provide the wider community with a degree of certainty and purpose as a city evolves. The vision can include traditional metropolitan planning elements, spatial visioning and developing regulations around the location, type and density of development in line with the vision. Best practice ITLUP goes beyond these elements to also include supporting wider policy levers outside traditional town planning and clear and aligned governance arrangements, including inter-jurisdictional relations.

This best practice approach consists of a trilogy of plan making, implementation elements and governance (see Figure 3) to achieve a strategic vision of metropolitan planning, drawing from the perspective of Australian, state and local governments. Implicit in this model is the essential 'buy in' of the private sector and the general community.

The transport initiatives that form part of the implementation mechanisms illustrated below include the full range of both investment and non-investment options and initiatives (see Part F3 of the Guidelines). Best practice planning involves adopting the optimal mix and balance between:

  • Investment and non-investment transport initiatives
  • Transport initiatives and other implementation mechanisms.

Figure 3: Essential elements in best practice metropolitan planning

Essential elements in best practice metropolitan planning
Source: SGS Economics and Planning Pty Ltd

5.1 The vision

The vision should reflect up-to-date planning principles and focus on sustainable development across economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The vision should also be practical, but able to achieve shifts from the trend-based development scenario for a city in terms of housing location and mix, employment distribution and travel efficiency, among other parameters of urban performance.

The scope of metropolitan plans varies but the vision is likely to cover:

  • Where and how housing and employment requirements will be accommodated
  • No-go areas for urban development
  • The hierarchy and distribution of activity centres
  • Areas targeted for accelerated regeneration and intensification
  • Metropolitan open space corridors and facilities
  • Major infrastructure corridors
  • The clustering within, and connections between, particular business areas
  • Inter-regional connectivity
  • The staging or sequencing of development.

The vision must be expressed in a form that enables monitoring and evaluation, allowing third party assessment of whether the plans to deliver the vision are being implemented and whether the anticipated benefits are being achieved.

5.2 Transport initiatives as implementation mechanisms

Figure 3 identifies various implementation mechanisms to support the metropolitan vision, including transport initiatives. Transport initiatives can set a city towards the vision or inadvertently steer it elsewhere. The metropolitan planning process needs a reliable and consistent mechanism for identifying and appraising transport initiatives, including those with city shaping power.

5.3 City structure

Urban or city structure is defined by the distribution and relationships of the dominant land uses and the networks that serve them (Westerman, 1998). City structure is concerned with how land uses are arranged and all aspects of how a city functions. The structure and economic geography influences the social, economic and environmental characteristics of the city. City structure has a strong influence on the opportunities and constraints shaping future land use and infrastructure investment decisions.

A clear and compelling vision for the future structure of a city is necessary to guide land use planning decision making, guide private investment activity and provide the wider community with a degree of certainty and purpose as a city grows or evolves. Investments in transport can set a city towards the vision or inadvertently steer it elsewhere.

The optimal vision for the future structure of a city will depend upon the city under consideration, its geographical context and scale, and its history and stage of growth and development. 4.3.1 and Figure 5 provide some illustrative city structure concepts (drawn from work in 2010 and 2012 in NSW).

Figure: Figure 4 shows a possible vision of Sydney developing into “a more compact, connected and increasingly networked city that supports a wider range of prospects for urban renewal and employment growth in areas that have potential for sustainable growth networked city” (NSW Department of Planning, 2010, p. 26).

Figure 4: Towards a networked city, vision for the city structure of Sydney

Towards a networked city, vision for the city structure of Sydney
Source: NSW Department of Planning, 2010

Figure 5 (from the 2012 NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan ) illustrates connections between regional and strategic centres across a city with two approaches: a radial network and a connected network. This approach is closely aligned with the concept of city shaping infrastructure presented within these guidelines.

Figure 5: Radial versus connected network

Radial versus connected network
Source: Tranpsort for NSW, 2012

Once the optimal vision for city structure has been identified, integrated planning can work towards achieving that vision (to which city shaping transport infrastructure can contribute).