I had a fantastic opportunity to visit what I would have to call a hidden gem of Kings Park two nights ago – the Biodiversity and Conservation Centre…
Little did I know that there was such an amazing team of scientists working to develop a greater understanding of the highly complex systems that operate within the ecosystems within WA (and elsewhere). This centre is well known for the identification of the ‘smoke molecule’ (butenolide) that is the signal for many plant species to commence germination after a fire has passed.
So what does this have to do with the future of the state?… well in a nutshell growth.
The image above may be from a news article some 12 months ago (to the day) and you can’t always believe what you read in the newspaper; however forecasts are pretty close to indicating that by 2050 Perth’s population will be in the vicinity of 3.4 – 3.8 million people which is twice what we currently have. So in the next 40 years we need to either :
- Build another Perth by expanding the suburbs as they have been for the past decades (with expected negative impacts); or
- Try and develop some better strategies to stop the continual expansion of the Perth Metro area…
Some of the second approach was highlighted in the Department of Planning’s Directions 2031 plan – and there is a need for this approach. It is not just about the impact that we will have on one of the major Biodiversity Hotspots of the world, however from an economic perspective the costs to expanding (and then supporting and maintaining) the infrastructure that will be required to support to 1.7 – 2 million additional people in Perth will be considerable.
I’m not one to turn into a NIMBY or a BANANA on the subject of alternative urban design and development – it really is one of the big challenges that we face. However we need to be aware of the difficulties (and effects) of wholesale removal of ecosystems in replacement of more dormitory suburbs.
Approaches like those proposed by Richard Weller in Boomtown 2050 are ones that need to be on the table and talked about now while we have the opportunity.
…and hopefully the plan that we make (and more importantly the outcome) will assist in having a lower impact to the surrounding bushland to Perth than could be the case…
I can just hear from of you saying “Tom’s gone all green on us”… well yes and no. I’d like to leave something behind for my children and their children to experience that for th most part resembles the diversity that we currently have in the South West… What do you want to leave behind?