Melbourne a Model for NYC Urban Planning?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Any blog post that starts off "With apologies for my carbon footprint" isn't about to describe the virtues of Drive-In movies. The PC mea culpa comes from Ethan Kent, the comely Veep of Project for NYC-based Project for Public Spaces (PPS), a nonprofit organization with a not-so-hidden agenda: "If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places." Kent's just returned from Melbourne, Australia and he likes what he sees. For example, the city is taxing long term parking spaces AU $400 per year (rising to AU $800 next year). Melbourne City Council will receive AU $5 million a year from the AU $19m to AU $38.5m to fund urban and transport improvements. Kent pronounces Melbourne's automotive purge an excellent starting point for his kind of urban planning: "At first glance, one might assume that the successful revitalization of Melbourne's downtown was the result of the city's efforts to drive automobiles out of the central business district. But traffic reduction was only one piece of the puzzle. Melbourne's renaissance was accomplished by focusing on the improvement, democratization and vitality of the city's public spaces."

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Carguy Carguy on Aug 03, 2007

    Having lived in Melbourne for more than 14 years I would advise not to believe a word of it. Melbourne has traffic and transit problems just like every other city of its size.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Aug 03, 2007

    This is absurd. NYC is the most expensive place in the country to keep a car. Garage spaces can cost more than medium sized houses in other cities. Furthermore, the city has more public transit than anywhere else in the US.

  • Nyc Nyc on Aug 03, 2007

    Which is exactly why we don't need cars...only 5% of commuters use cars to get to Manhattan below 60th yet the traffic is horrible and huge amounts of space are used for cars. Don't get me wrong, I love driving but cars just take up too much space for a place like NY.

  • Safe as milk Safe as milk on Aug 03, 2007

    furthermore, manhattan long term parkers already pay between $300 & $800 per year in taxes on their spaces. and i mean u.s. dollars.