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Everything Perth

Focussing mainly on issues relevant to Western Australia, Everything Perth is a blog by Jason Smith. His posts explore modern society, culture, law, politics and family through the lens of a life lived in Perth. 

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The madness of Perth's urban sprawl has to end

There comes a point in every man’s life where he looks around at the amazing wealth he’s accumulated for himself and realises it’s nothing more than a game, the crap he has is worthless, and he begins to appreciate beauty and relationships with newfound eyes.

For some it comes easier. For some it comes only when close to the grave.

But save for a sudden and unexpected demise, it always comes.

And the funny thing is, that while in the midst of our whirlwind lives of debt creation, job chasing, and anxiety, deep down we always knew the truth, and we knew that day was approaching us fast. We just hadn’t grown bored enough with the rat race yet, and we hadn’t realised the depths of truth in the knowledge that our legacy of what we left on this earth was more vital than what we accumulated.

There isn’t a soul in Perth who thinks the decision to preserve a large tract of land in the middle of the city was a poor decision all those years ago. Instead, King’s Park is our crown jewel enjoyed by all.

But the existence of King’s Park was not always a forgone conclusion. It took a conscious decision, many actually, to act on the realisation that the long term value to future generations who the decision makers would never meet was of greater importance than any monetary or political gain they personally might have enjoyed by developing Perth’s most prime real estate.

And yet, by failing to appreciate what those who went before us have done, we’ve gone and ignored their lesson while we engage in a never ending march of urban sprawl along the coast.

Having lived in suburbia and apartments, I assure you, apartment life is wonderful. The reduction of reliance on the motor car, the community gardens, the cafes, bars, restaurants, family activities… they’re all EASIER to access if you design a city where people are closer together.

The WA state government knows this. And they know the urban sprawl is permanently destroying precious natural beauty we were once surrounded with. But the current incentives are perversely aligned, such that local governments and the State are financially incentivised to keep releasing blocks.

The free market is not to blame here either. The artificial restrictions on height in so many places has created a nonsensical shortage of mid priced apartments. The decision by central suburb to ban tall buildings ends up resulting in demand for the destruction of nature in the outer suburbs. And yet the virtue signalling inner-suburb councillors think they’re God’s gift to nature by preventing development.

The absurdity needs to end. The WA state government needs to exercise its authority and put a complete ban on new lots in all outer suburbs, remove height restrictions EVERYWHERE, and allow infill in Perth to take care of future population growth needs.

Those who aren’t born yet will thank you.

Can the right political party really save us?