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Urban Design & Development

The challenges posed by urban development are complex. Bad decisions are costly, far-reaching, and locked in for generations. However, we can learn from the mistakes of urban sprawl in the past and do things differently.

Our cities and regions are in a period of rapid change. Population growth and urbanisation are placing significant pressure on key infrastructure and services and on the health of our waterways, environment and people – both in infill development and greenfield development on the urban fringe.

Historically, the planning and delivery of key ‘grey’, ‘human’ and ‘blue-green’ infrastructure in our cities necessary to deliver a wide range of community services and outcomes has not operated in a complementary way. The result? Fragmented decision making and poor assessment of the benefits of place-based infrastructure and land-use planning.

Development of resilient and liveable cities can provide future generations of people living and working there with substantial benefits that flow from integrated planning and delivery of infrastructure.

There is significant community value from designing our communities to be more appealing places to live, work and play. This happens through easy access to key services, promoting healthy behaviours, and protecting environmental values in a way that provides resilience to drought, urban heat and climate change.

This kind of urban development is fundamental to realising the economic potential of the area and accommodating significant population growth.

As governments and the private sector cooperate to undertake city-shaping infrastructure projects or developments, ensuring that good decisions are made is vital to build more liveable, resilient, productive and sustainable places for our communities.

These include critical decisions about how we:

  • use land and other resources, including decisions around housing, infrastructure corridors, environment and our waterways
  • move people, goods and services around
  • evaluate and value potential investments in infrastructure
  • price and fund our scarce resources and community services
  • manage and build community resilience to pressures such as population change, climate and drought.

Choosing the best course of action means weighing up different options and quantifying various elements or components. Economics has tools to enable this: evaluating funding, pricing and governance risks and putting in place measures to align interests and incentives of key players – landowners, developers, utilities and governments – with those of the community.

Our expertise in the following areas helps clients address these complex decisions with a robust economic framework.

Urban economics

We advise developers, utilities and governments on the commercial and community value from investment in urban projects and policies. For example, analysing and quantifying the costs and benefits from investment in grey, human and blue-green infrastructure to improve liveability & health outcomes.

Behavioural economics

We help clients identify what drives consumer and community behaviours. From there, we can use incentives to target interventions. For example, understanding the behavioural impacts and performance of interventions aimed at improving environmental outcomes.

Financial economics

We advise firms and governments how to value both risks and opportunities created by uncertainty and options for incorporating these into decision-making.

Regulatory advice

We advise on the design and application of economic regulatory frameworks using cost and pricing models and benchmarking, and the design of price controls and incentives for economic efficiency.

Our expertise in Urban Design & Development

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