Talk tackles impacts of urban growth

Published on 19 March 2021


Economic and social impacts of urban density and suburban sprawl will be discussed in next week’s CityTalks online event.

In a forum titled Sprawl and crawl? Or a comfortably compact Hobart? leading Australian planner Greg Vann and a panel of experts will explore global and local trends in cities resulting from the pandemic and leading to a rise in “localism”, the concept of a 15-minute city, and an effort to create quality city environments.

“Hobart has been well and truly discovered and that means planning for the future of the city will involve dealing with population growth and the pressure it will cause on things  like transport systems, roads and housing affordability,” Mr Vann said.

“The opportunity that Hobart has is to learn from the mistakes of other cities. Part of that is recognising that it’s not necessarily a case of detached houses versus high-rise – there’s the ‘missing middle’ that often gets overlooked.”

Greg Vann is a Queensland-based planning and economics expert with over 40 years’ experience. He is a former State President of the Planning Institute of Australia, was the project director of the latest South East Queensland Regional Plan and Chair of the state’s Transit Oriented Development Taskforce.

He will be joined in the forum by UTAS Professor of Human Geography and Planning Jason Byrne, SGS Economics’ Ellen Witte, and Hobart-based placemaking expert Steven Burgess.

The forum will be moderated by UTAS Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds, who will provide the closing remarks at the forum, said the topic was timely.

“There is a lot of interest in how our city will handle population growth in the years to come - particularly around traffic and housing demand,” Cr Reynolds said.

“In this forum, we’ll have the chance to hear from some of Australia’s leading experts on city and population planning as they share their ideas, and I hope it will promote thoughtful discussion within our community.”

CityTalks is a partnership between the City of Hobart and UTAS. The public discussion events focus on topics relevant to Hobart and feature community leaders, international and national keynote speakers followed by a panel discussion.

These events aim to provide a platform for conversations to take place, allowing for an exchange of ideas and inspire a vision for our future.

CityTalks - Sprawl and crawl? Or a comfortably compact Hobart? will be held on Wednesday 24 March at 5pm. All are welcome to watch the free online event. More information at


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