|This paper addresses the issues raised in Workshop 2 and in particular |
subthemes 2.1 and 2.2. Copenhagen demonstrated that real change towards
sustainability requires whole-of-government, if not whole-of-world, action.
Planning agencies, while acting now, need to be strong and well prepared
for the time, in the near future, when economic and regulatory measures
fundamentally depart from business as usual.
The Australian experience is that planning agencies currently exaggerate
the effectiveness of measures to achieve, for instance, compact cities,
better public transport, energy efficiency in buildings and centres, etc.
This practice will probably retard effective responses to strong carbon
reduction measures when they come into force. To contribute maximally to
the shift towards sustainable, low carbon cities, planning agencies will
need to adopt far stronger policies while moderating the rhetoric.
The Australian experience is also that metropolitan strategies and policies
relating to ESD and climate change mitigation and adaptation have much
greater legitimacy when adopted or endorsed by independent expert planning
agencies than when adopted by ministers or governments. The two extremes
of a continuum between direct ministerial powers and independent
authorities are represented by the states of New South Wales and Western
Australia. Fifty years of institutional change, and recent planning
controversies, reinforce the finding that strong measures for making urban
regions more sustainable will require institutions seen to have independent
Concrete examples of successes and failures will be presented to illustrate
the above arguments.