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How reshaping our cities and regions can drive our Covid Recovery

Can cities help overcome our productivity challenge?

Covid-19 is already changing the way we work, live, and play – many in the knowledge sector continue work from home, and some are looking to move to the suburbs and regions. Looking beyond the crisis, we need to consider an important question on employment density: when is a city too small and when does it get too big? Or – as an economist would put it – is there such a thing as an ‘optimal’ size for a city?

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As we grow out of the pandemic, we need to start thinking not just about how we build new buildings, houses, and infrastructure, but how we understand how our cities work as dynamic systems. And because cities are dynamic, we should not just respond to how the world looks today, but make city shaping decisions about how cities might look into the future.

As Australia’s population continues to grow strongly, and threats such as climate change and pandemics create unprecedented levels of risks to our wellbeing, it is more important than ever that our cities, which are Australia’s engines of economic growth, are resilient and fine-tuned to maximise our prosperity. This means we need to be smart about how we address housing affordability issues, build more inclusive and resilient infrastructure, make better choices about how we connect people to places with smarter public transport options, and align the multiple layers of government (Local, State, and Federal) to adopt a cohesive system-wide lens to manage our cities.

In this report, we consider how we can make our cities and regions thrive – a crucial factor for the Recovery Phase.

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