Visions for Thought: Sustainability DC and Melbourne's MPS

So we have already seen a bit of debate on the discussion paper for Melbourne's Metro Planning Strategy (previous post here) which sets vision for Melbourne's future, but with the submission time coming to a close in just over a month, I thought it might be interesting to look at the visions of another city Washington DC.

Washington DC has recently released 'Sustainable DC' which aims for a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable city.

The plan addresses current and future challenges to:
  • create jobs and grow the economy while supporting local businesses;
  • improve citywide health through clean air and water and access to healthy food and lifestyles;celebrate diversity and improve social through equal access to services and assistance for those who need it most; and
  • protect the local environment and global climate for wildlife, ourselves and our future generations.

What I really like about this plan is that alongside each goal is a target (and actions).  In total, there are 31 of these sets of goals and targets relating to visions based on jobs and the economy, health and wellness, equity and diversity and climate and environment.  An example is below (from health and wellness):

Goal: Inspire healthy, active lifestyles for all residents regardless of income, ability, or employment.
Target: By 2032, cut the citywide obesity rate by 50%.
Action: (short term) Expand public park access and programming to promote healthy lifestyles 
through physical exercise. (This is followed by a paragraph on district funding priorities).
Action: (long term) Invest in a public health campaign to promote the benefits of healthy eating and active living.  (This is followed by a paragraph explaining how the district will support this).

As I said, I like to be able to see a tangible target - because it more specifically notes what is sought.  The goals and targets are ambitious, but this is positive, right? After all, they are there to be aspired to.  However, it's important that these targets are well researched and justified, rather than just an arbitrary figure.  I also like that actions are clearly identified, and that they are identified for a range of different time frames.

Back to Melbourne's MPS - our discussion paper is still a draft for discussion - but what will the final version look like? As our plan is in the works, it's worth looking at what other cities have done and are doing, (as well as our own planning history), to make sure we make the most of the opportunity to set the tone for Melbourne's future - if you something you like or dislike in this or other examples - make a submission!

Submissions for the MPS are open til 5pm on the 28th of March.  There's also a major community forum open to the public (though you need to register) on Saturday 2nd of March.  More details can be found here.

Read more on Sustainable DC here.


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