Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Every month, the THG team get together with the team from Buckley Vann and chat about our shared experiences in the planning world. This month, Greg Vann took us through his recent study tours, with the overarching message that we are doing some great things in Brisbane - but good things take time, of which Europe is a prime example.

Greg spoke about the bike culture that exists in Europe, but what many of us aren't aware of is that this culture has taken decades to establish. While the single biggest thing that can be done to improve bike safety is to increase the number of people riding, sometimes we just have to start somewhere and get the ball rolling on initiatives that will eventually see us get to the number of riders seen throughout Europe (see THG's recent newsletter on CityCycle).

Greg's advice to us as fellow planners what that innovation takes time and picking battles is one way to achieve incremental change that adds up to a whole lot of change. Greg's focus has been on pinpointing specific locations or projects that can become demonstration projects for the future.

Essentially, Brisbane has done some good things when it comes to creating a city. The main issue is that our balance of transport is wrong - however that doesn't mean sweeping reforms are the way to go - if we just keep chipping away and there are demonstrated successes of schemes such as CityCycle and improved public transport use, change will be inevitable.

Interestingly, we all seem to be aware that the future of our industry is not going to be in developing land. What will our industry look like in 5 or 10 years time?