PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE
For cities in many parts of the world, the dominant issues for the 21st century arise from continued urbanisation and the difficulties of providing basic infrastructure services and mass housing. However, for cities in the developed world - whilst still concerned with sustainable provision of basic services - a new dynamic is emerging. It is a dynamic derived from long term demographic trends, greater divisions between rich and poor and sometimes ill-defined 'lifestyle' aspirations.
Using Melbourne as an example, this paper explores various aspects of this emerging dynamic and possible implications for planning and development of the urban habitat. It draws on a number of publications from the Research Branch of the Department of Infrastructure.
In common with many parts of the developed world the fertility rate in Victoria has declined over recent decades. In fact it has been below replacement level since the mid-1970s although the impact of this has been masked by high levels of immigration. From a rate of 2.95 in 1971 it had declined to 1.94 by 1981. It has continued to decline and by 1997 had dropped to 1.69, well below the nominal replacement rate.
The long term effect of this decrease in fertility rates is that the rate of growth of the population of Melbourne and Victoria will decline over the next twenty years.
There are some interesting geographical patterns in fertility rates. Areas with the lowest rates are heavily concentrated in the inner suburbs of Melbourne while suburbs with the highest fertility rates are generally on or close to the fringe growth areas. For example, the fertility rates for Cranbourne and Wyndham - two outer fringe growth areas - were 1.8 and 1.7 respectively in 1996. By contrast the fertility rates for Prahran and St. Kilda - two inner metropolitan suburbs - were 1.0 and 0.8 respectively.
Significant drops in fertiltity rates have also been observed in those inner suburbs which have undergone 'gentrification' associated with an influx of white collar professionals into previously working class neighbourhoods. One such area - Brunswick - has seen its fertility rate drop from 1.7 to 1.2 in the period from 1981 to 1996.