The National Sustainability Council presented its long awaited report called the Sustainable Australia 2013: Conversations with the Future. This is the first of a series of biennial papers to advise the government about the state of the economy vis-a-vis the environment.
Full of optimism, the newly founded council said the future looked bright if we changed to building sustainable communities. However, the type of community needed is far more radical than envisaged by the council. Despite Australia having many of the most livable cities in the world we need to start planning immediately for the kind of balanced society of the future.
Oil will not be around forever and coal is too polluting to be used at such high rates. This means individuals driving around in five seater cars will not be possible. Electricity use is skyrocketing with Internet cloud servers and hungry mobiles gobbling up tonnes of coal and oil in power stations. Future cities will have to be designed with houses laid out in a manner that allows public transport to easily be used to get to work. Little is said about this now, but it will be in the future.
Somehow workers will have to be able to get from side roads to main roads where buses or vehicles on rails can travel. This will involve many more stops than at present and it will take longer to get to places of employment. We could see the return of bicycles or low-powered slow speed electric vehicles.
A place without car ownership will be an odd place to people of the current era. Nonetheless, it will have to happen eventually. Modern cities are car dependent. If an economic crisis stops the flow of oil these cities will die.