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Debate on our urban sprawl

Redland Times – 7/7/2008

STRATEGIES for combating urban sprawl are among the issues to be discussed during a debate on ‘What is the Sustainable Population for the Redlands’ later this month when a leading QUT academic presents her views.

Senior lecturer in urban design and architecture Dr Kathi Holt-Damant, who is currently involved in various government and academic advisory groups examining new approaches to sustainable urban design, will be one of the guest speakers.

Urban sprawl is the continual spreading of a city and its suburbs over rural land at the fringe of the urban area.

This causes loss of farms, forests and related ecosystems to developments, and residents of sprawling neighborhoods tend to commute by car to work, adding to traffic congestion and air pollution problems.

Dr Holt-Damant has been part of an international research team from QUT, the University of Queensland, Columbia University (New York) and Rand Corporation (Los Angeles) involved in a project focusing on transit-oriented developments as a strategy for combating urban sprawl and this will be part of her presentation.

The Emerging Futures Project, funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant along with Queensland Rail and Queensland Transport, has examined how South East Queensland compares to global trends particularly in the US, Dr Holt-Damant said.

“I’m greatly looking forward to discussing aspects of our research project in relation to possible futures for Redlands and transport-oriented developments,” Dr Holt-Damant said.

“I hope to present some provocative thoughts on a range of issues relating to ‘sustainable communities’ and I’ll discuss some examples of what might be considered sustainable for South East Queensland.

“One critical issue is that of public space and the quality of the built environment as development pressures increase – it’s certainly a topic that is relevant to Redlands people and I hope the information I present will help to better inform the discussion,” Dr Holt-Damant said.

She holds a Doctor of Philosophy, a Master of Architecture (Design) and a Bachelor of Architecture.

She was also a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York.

Dr Holt-Damant will be one of a panel of four to address the debate on the question of ‘What is the Sustainable Population for the Redlands’.

Other speakers are: chief executive of premier industry group, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), Brian Stewart; environmental activist and councillor in the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Vivien Griffin; and Chair of the Office of Urban Management’s Transit Oriented Development Taskforce, Greg Vann.

The debate will be staged on Wednesday, July 30, at the Hall of Fame, Somerset Centre, Ormiston College.

Tickets are $25 ($20 for members) and may be booked through the Institute website or by emailing admin@redi.

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