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The state of our cities: "Monstrous Melbourne"
The following article written by Paul James appeared yesterday in The Age. Paul gives a very bleak account of the state of our cities. He discusses how the sprawl of these cities—growing non-stop, eating all that surrounds them on their way—is determined by market forces which are single minded and autocratic in their style.
|Cities are taking over the world. Vibrant and exciting they may be, but they are also places of tension, increasing inequity, and social fragmentation.|
|Some people will be aghast. One of the myths that abounds is that we have to keep releasing land on the urban fringe to keep land prices affordable. Who benefits from such existing policies? In one word — investors. And in particular, it is canny institutional investors and developers that benefit, making vast profits.|
|Roads and cars, once fetishised as a source of freedom, now increasingly imprison us all in tracks of bitumen and layers of carbon fumes. |
Melbourne, for all that it avoids the horrors of the mega-cities and their slums, is still part of the problem. For the past decade, we have largely basked in the false comfort of a slogan: "the world's most … ." Commuters on our rail systems know different.