Let’s get our mojo working

EVERY year more of our young people leave Canberra. Why?

As the seat of national government, unemployment in Canberra is low and the average income higher than the national average. Canberra is home to excellent schools, world-class universities and tertiary education levels are high.

But our city is an expensive place to live and it’s hard to get around without a car.

And for many young people, the peace and quiet, and the largely suburban lifestyle don’t meet their desire for a more dynamic, exciting and vibrant place to live.

Canberra is a hard-working city, placed within a relaxed, urban setting, but there’s no bustle, no sense of “busyness” and, some might say, no easily discernible energy or personality.

So, what’s the solution?

City planners often say that creating the personality of a place is among their highest priorities. So, how do we design a city plan that lets personality shine through? Where’s the mojo and what do we do to capture and keep it?

Politicians, bureaucrats and planners don’t define the personality of a city; the people of Canberra need to speak up.

And this should be much more than a debate about urban density and infill versus retention of our bush suburbs. Why can’t we have both? Why can’t we have dynamic, bustling places, and quiet places, too?

Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

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