PaperforSpecial session‐Cities,regions andthedigitaleconomy: newchallengesand opportunities RSADelft2012

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  PaperforSpecial session‐Cities,regions andthedigitaleconomy: newchallengesand opportunities RSADelft2012
    -  1 -   Paper   for   Special   session ‐ Cities,   regions   and   the   digital   economy:   new   challenges   and   opportunities   RSA   Delft   2012 Michael   Kane   Curtin   University   Western   Australia   Paper   for   Special   session ‐ Cities,   regions   and   the   digital   economy:   new   challenges   and   opportunities   RSA   Delft   2012   The knowledge economy in a car dependent Perth, Western Australia: The story of knowledge intensification and urban sprawl     -  2 -   The knowledge economy in a car dependent Perth, Western Australia: The story of knowledge intensification and urban sprawl Michael Kane Curtin University Part 1- Introduction Worldwide the knowledge economy and information communication technology are underpinning economic activity in post industrial economies. ICT and the knowledge economy are characterised by urban proximity and agglomeration, with strong links between ICT, spatial distribution of knowledge workers, urban density and productivity. The knowledge economy requires an increase in the knowledge intensity of capital, labour, products and services. Cities in post industrial economies, it is argued, are characterised and driven by this intensification of knowledge. This paper argues that there are three interrelated factors of knowledge intensification in the modern economy:    intensification or agglomeration of knowledge economic activity;    intensification of knowledge within human capital knowledge ie within individual workers and where those workers work and reside;    intensification of knowledge and data within ICT systems and infrastructure. However, Australia’s post industrial cities are characterised by agglomerative central CBDs and sprawling suburbia raising a number of questions. Is urban sprawl limiting further growth in Australia’s knowledge economy? Are metropolitan planning policies addressing the right policy settings for economic sustainability of Australia’s metropolitan areas? This paper will examine where the knowledge economy is developing in the metropolitan area of Perth, Western Australia and consider the impact of sprawl on further development of the knowledge economy in Perth.    -  3 -   Part 2 - Nature of problem - Perth, Western Australia: The sprawling city Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world. It is the capital of the state of Western Australia. Western Australia has a total land area of 2.5 million km 2 (Geoscience Australia 2005). Perth's metropolitan area (including the Peel region) had an estimated population of 1.67 million in 2010 (over 75% of the state’s population) (ABS 2010). The next largest city in regional Western Australia is Bunbury with only 32,499 people. The Perth metropolitan area is 120 kms long and 40 kms wide (Weller 2009). The population density of Perth was 314.9 people per sq km at June 2010 (ABS 2010). This was lower than the density of Australia's capital cities combined (370 people per sq km) (ABS 2011).   Not surprisingly Perth is one of the most car dependent sprawling cities on the planet with low urban density (Weller 2009). Perth has been described by Weller (2009) as “a flatland of freestanding suburban homes and their related infrastructure. In a word sprawl… Perth is now one of the most sprawled (or should we say spacious) cities on earth .” The low density nature of Perth is reflected in its transport systems. The impact of transport infrastructure, particularly road, on the form of urban development and structure of Perth is well established (Edmonds 1998). The structure of modern metropolitan Perth, following the Plan for the Metropolitan Region, Perth and Fremantle, 1955 (Stephenson and Hepburn 1955) was that of a road-based city. Motor car dominates transport mode share in Perth and hence is a major influence on employment spatial distribution within the metropolitan area. Since 1976, when census data was first collected on travel to work, public transport’s share declined in Perth from 13.5% to 9% in 1996 with a recovery to 10.4% starting in 2006. In 1976 Perth was the second most car dominated capital city in Australia (after Canberra) and by 2006 remained the second most car dominated capital city after Adelaide (Mees, Sorupia and Stone 2007). Car use has gone from 79.4% of work trips in 1976 to 82.1 in 2006. Looking beyond work travel the picture is even more car oriented. In a study of 100 cities around the world Perth was ranked in the top ten for both motorised private mode split (at 87%) and passenger car km per capita (at 8,260km) (Kenworthy and Laube, 2001). Perth’s characteristic as a car dominated city is a result of the success of the Hepburn Stephenson Plan which in srcinated in the 1950s (Leigh 1989). Figures 1 and 2 demonstrate the impact of planning for the car on land use within the Perth CBD. Figure 1 is pre planning – a fine grain mixed use 19 th  century walking and rail focused grid. Figure 2 indicates the plan for the Kwinana Highway across Narrows Bridge with a ring road around the southern, eastern and northern boundaries of the CBD. The impact was not just on the CBD. The motor car provided the mechanism for Perth to grow to a large city area wise for its population. By 2001 Perth had the third highest number (77.9%) of separate houses after Brisbane and Hobart, with the third lowest amount of highest density housing also after Brisbane and Hobart (ABS as quoted in the State of Environment Report, Beeton et al 2006).    -  4 -   Map 1 - Perth 1955 Pre-planning Map 2 The vision for Perth CBD Hepburn Stephenson Plan    -  5 -   By 2003 the WAPC, while recognising the population shift to cities, raised the question that in the 21st century, with the rise of the internet and the increasing ability of service sector businesses to conduct their networking and attain their supporting service infrastructure in cyberspace, it will be problematic to see continuing agglomeration of the service sector in a CBD (WAPC 2003). The WAPC foresaw future job distribution within metropolitan Perth was likely to be more evenly distributed than it has been in the past, with work trip distances and times reduced as jobs move towards the outer regions. It was even foreseen that much of the future long term employment and population growth of metropolitan Perth did not necessarily have to concentrate within metropolitan Perth. Developing new urban alternatives to the city were thought to be a possible better option. The WAPC was foreseeing the end of distance at the metropolitan scale. By the early 2000’s Perth’s industrial composition reflected these changes in favour of the service industries, with finance and business services, public administration, community services and trade and entertainment growing at the expense of manufacturing, transport and construction and other non-service industries (WAPC 2003).   With an increasing sprawling population Perth’s employment was shifting away from the inner city to the suburbs. Most notably, the Perth CBD’s share of  jobs had almost halved over the previous thirty years. Jobs or industries were according to the State Government’s Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC 2003) no longer tied to specific locations, reflecting decentralising population patterns (WAPC 2003). However this was really two intersecting trends happening. As Perth suburbs grew so did retail and other population driven service employment within these suburbs. The other trend was the employment growth in professionals, associate professionals, and managers and administrators all which grew from the mid 1990s (DTWD 2010,  ABS 2012). From 1997 through to 2008-09, professionals (46,600 persons), technicians and trades workers (46,000), and managers (42,800), experienced the largest increases in employment growth (DTWD 2010). In the period 2009-10 to 2016-17, these three occupation groupings were expected to continue to experience the strongest increases in employment growth. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI WA 2007) has noted that the increase in the size of the professional occupational group has been the notable change and by 2006 was the largest occupational grouping with 17.9% of the workforce. The spatial location of professional employees within Perth rather than dispersing like retail and other service occupations have concentrated in and around the CBD. This trend will be examined later within this paper. However this trend and its implications do not seem to have been understood within the planning framework for Perth in that the metropolitan regional plans do not examine the spatial distribution of knowledge economy jobs or associated ICT infrastructure. The importance of the resource sector to Perth cannot be underestimated 1 . The resources sector dominates Western Australia’s economic landscape into the 21st century with investments in the mining sector, particularly gas and iron ore production during 2000 to 2006, led to unprecedented growth levels in the city (WAPC 2010 - Directions 2031). Even the State’s relatively small (compared with the rest of Australia) manufacturing industry is largely related to the mining industry. Business investment, a major proponent of the State’s economy, has been predominantly driven by capital expenditure in the State’s resource industry. In contrast to its large share of production, the mining industry employed only 38,500 people in 2003-04, or 4.0% of the workforce. This reflects the highly capital-intensive nature of the resources industry in Western  Australia. The income generated by primary industries also supports substantial
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