2  The Canberra Spatial Plan – An Overview

The Canberra Spatial Plan broadly describes the Canberra to which we as a community aspire. It recognises that the community of Canberra will be different in 30 years time. It outlines the characteristics encapsulated in the Strategic Direction and the key initiatives to achieve the goals and objectives underpinning the plan. The Canberra Spatial Plan also includes a detailed implementation plan and mechanisms for regular review.

The Strategic Direction – A More Compact City

It is expected that in 30 years time there will be more people living in Canberra. As a proportion of the total community it is also clearly predicted that there will be a lot more older people and a lot less younger people.

Unless there is a significant change to Australia’s immigration policies, the population of Australia will experience moderate growth rates. This growth will need to be accommodated somewhere, and there is already significant concern about the impact the concentration of growth on the coast is having, especially in the Sydney basin. While Canberra is an inland city, requiring careful planning and environmental management, there is confidence that we can relieve some population pressure from the larger metropolitan areas.

The Canberra Spatial Plan therefore puts in place a framework that encourages and facilitates population growth and seeks to ensure that we can sustainably provide for this community of the future, with a population of up to half a million for the Canberra-Queanbeyan metropolitan area.

The Canberra Spatial Plan aims for a Canberra that in 2032 will have the following characteristics:

Canberra: the liveable city, enjoyed by all

An inclusive community, valuing the diversity of its people. It will be a city where people can walk or cycle, enjoying the network of paths, on and off-road, as they travel within and across the city or enjoy the recreational opportunities the city and its rural and natural setting can offer. It will be a safe city where people can enjoy their lives without undue concerns about the impact of natural hazards. Canberra will be an accessible city. People will be able to travel easily from one place in the city to another and services will be readily available.

Canberra will be an international city with a dynamic heart

A thriving and vibrant city centre. The city centre will attract residents and visitors, to meet with friends, share ideas, enjoy cultural events and enjoy the sense of place and architecture of a great modern city. The city centre will be the focus of commerce for the region and will attract national and international businesses. Above all, it will provide a home for our locally grown businesses and Territory and Commonwealth government agencies while proudly standing as the nation’s capital.

Canberra will be a city of choice

A choice of housing will provide for the diverse range of households that will make up our community. People will be able to choose to live their whole lives in their local neighbourhood but will be able to move to various types of housing that best suit their needs at a particular stage in life. Many more people will be living within Central Canberra where they can enjoy the lifestyle offered by a vibrant international city. Families will have the choice of housing appropriate for the needs of their growing children. Older people will have access to a range of housing and services appropriate to their needs. There will be a range of affordable housing options. Workplaces will be diverse, and many people will have the opportunity to work from home, but clustering jobs around existing commercial centres will ensure a more sustainable public transport system and minimise the length of the journey to work or to education facilities.

Canberra will be a place where the natural and cultural environment is respected and protected

Nature will continue to be a part of the city and will frame the urban areas. Air quality will be excellent, energy will be used efficiently and cleanly and the quality of water discharged to our natural waterways will be of the highest environmental standard. Water use will be managed wisely and within the environmental capabilities of the region. The regional significance of the remaining bushland will be valued. Canberra will be a city where growth has been largely contained within a 15 kilometre radius of the city centre. Set within rolling hills and green spaces, with the backdrop of the Australian bush, interspersed with lakes that all can enjoy, Canberra will be a beautiful city renowned as one of the world’s great 20th and 21st Century planned cities.