Community engagement the key to better cities, says GBCA

Friday, 19 April, 2013

A new strategic and streamlined approach to planning in NSW can deliver better communities and cities, but it requires a genuine commitment to community engagement, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The GBCA believes that the NSW Government’s new approach to planning, as outlined in its NSW Planning White Paper, could deliver better communities and cities for NSW - but it also warns that community engagement must be rigorous and inclusive.

“Better strategic planning which outlines a roadmap for growth, infrastructure and funding can help us to meet the challenges of population growth, demographic shifts and the effects of a changing climate,” said the GBCA’s Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.

“This approach provides the necessary power to prioritise growth and deliver infrastructure and jobs where they are most needed,” she added.

“Working with communities from the earliest stages is a departure from previous planning systems, which provided little opportunity for genuine engagement.

“To successfully implement these reforms, the NSW Government must ensure that communities can make informed contributions. Benchmarks must also be established to ensure that the plans will contribute to better outcomes for liveability, economic prosperity, good design, resilience and sustainability.”

Madew also said that the NSW Government must also be clear about how it will measure progress, and demonstrate transparency and accountability, to ensure communities have confidence that the agreed plans will be delivered.

The GBCA’s Green Star - Communities rating tool provides best practice benchmarks across a range of categories that can assist communities to determine what they want from their neighbourhood or city, as well as providing metrics to help set targets and measure progress.

“We look forward to engaging further with the NSW Government and working together to empower people to create more liveable, productive, resilient and sustainable communities,” Madew concluded.

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