We’re squeezing the life out of our cities

We’re squeezing the life out of our cities, by Judith Sloan.

Melbourne is in the process of moving from being one of the most livable cities in the world to one of the most unlivable. …

There is no doubt the primary reason for Melbourne’s loss of livability is the excess growth of its population, which has been apparent for at least a decade, but has accelerated in recent times.

When it comes to explaining why Melbourne, in particular, is growing so strongly, there are two principal reasons: overseas migration and interstate migration. Note that close to 90 per cent of recently arrived migrants opt for ­either Melbourne or Sydney.

Net interstate migration has also been strongly positive for Victoria in recent years. … The 2016 census confirmed the continuation of this trend, with a remarkable number of people from Western Australia relocating to Victoria in the past two years. …

There are many more people living in the area, but none of the supporting facilities has been altered. Evidently, we locals are being unreasonable trying to block this sort of development; we are guilty of selfish nimbyism and we just need to get with the program.

And that program is medium and high-density living, whether the longstanding incumbents like it or not. I used to think that it was our democratic right to express opinions about how our local suburb should develop, but apparently I was mistaken.

Perhaps I am also missing the point about the vibrancy, excitement and entrepreneurship associated with having such strong population growth, most of which is made up of overseas migrants. But it’s not entirely clear that these benefits are showing up in the economic statistics. …

Blind Freddy could have predicted that excessively low interest rates, credit availability and rapid population growth would lead to skyrocketing house prices.

hat-tip Stephen Neil