Close to 600,000 people will live in Canberra by 2041 (compared to today’s population of 400,000+). Although this is just moderate population growth, it’s still significant and may result to congestion. There’s always room to accommodate more people but this should be done in a responsible and sustainable manner.
As a result, there’s a need for careful planning not just of the whole city but also of the individual structures to be built. Infrastructure planning in urban areas is getting more complex in each passing year because of competing demands. We have to consider different sectors and environmental protection is also getting into the centre stage. It’s a huge challenge but it can be overcome through proper planning and resource allocation. It won’t be perfect and surely it can’t please everyone. But Canberra is surely to open several opportunities to many seasoned investors and young professionals.
One such opportunity is about the rising trend on apartment living. It’s becoming the norm in many modern societies especially in Canberra and Sydney. Apartments in Australian cities are attractive to both individuals and families because of easy access to transport and commercial amenities. In addition, great career and business opportunities flock in to the cities because of the infrastructure and facilities already available.
Many first-home buyers have already acquired apartments in Canberra (median prices below $500,000). It’s the age of the apartment boom because various structures are being built here and there. There will be slowdowns once in a while due to increasing taxes, lending capabilities and some policies. But on the long run, expect more apartment buildings to appear.
Massive increases in land tax put pressures to investors and this can result to the slowdowns. Also, there are always pressures about decongestion and spreading the growth to nearby areas. But as long as Canberra is positioned for further growth, the place will remain to be very attractive to investors and for those who are looking for promising opportunities.
Around 70 per cent of Canberra is national park or natural reserves. It’s what makes the city a liveable place with a natural look and feel despite heavy economic activity in the area.
This is a good thing because areas with a natural feel tend to command higher prices (given that there are commercial amenities). Also, more and more people (especially families and retirees) are now getting gravitated towards places that provide fresh air. It’s true that places covered with concrete and asphalt are opportunity centres. But liveability and sustainability should still be prioritised because after all, humans are the end users and not the businesses themselves.
So far we’ve done a good job in ensuring that. The journey and outcome are not perfect but we’ve made significant progress. In addition, the things that brought us progress will continue to be protected and bring future economic growth. That’s the case with the Canberra International Airport. Although the upcoming Western Sydney Airport will be Australia’s star, the Canberra Airport will continue to bring progress and facilitate commercial activity in the ACT region.
It’s true that economic growth slows down in developed and matured cities (just like what happens in startups and companies where growth flattens after some time). But it’s also true that “the rich gets richer” because Canberra already has the infrastructure and facilities to allow for further growth. Newcomers and fresh starters experience the fastest growth (and there’s a lot of room for growth) but the start-up costs are really high to set things in motion and initiate the engines of growth. On the other hand, established cities have the advantage of reaping the economic benefits continuously because the engines are already efficient and running.
For example, the Canberra Airport precinct includes the Majura Park (with the Majura Park Shopping Centre and Australia’s largest Woolworths), Fairbairn and Pialligo Precinct, Fairbairn RAAF base and the Brindabella Business Park (one of Australia’s most environmentally sustainable business centres). They will continue to attract commercial opportunities because the facilities for doing business and the network of potential suppliers and customers are already there. It’s not about setting things in motion anymore because this is more about accelerating economic movements and facilitating further progress in Canberra and ACT.
But progress often demands a price. Often, economic progress is at odds with environmental protection. After all, economic development puts a strain on the environment and natural resources. Aside from threatening the existing ecosystems and natural reserves, strong economic activity also often translates to higher emission levels. For instance, an economic downturn (e.g. global recession) can cut off total carbon emissions to 80%. The higher the income levels in a country, the higher the carbon emissions. After all, production, transport, energy consumption, agriculture and other commercial activities often result to more carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
It’s often the case that the most developed countries also contribute the most to pollution. Australia is no exemption even if we’re down in the list when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions by country. The emissions are still significant and accumulate through the years. It’s especially the case in urban centres where there’s heavy traffic and high energy consumption.
Economic downturns can help the environment. But what about the people? Recessions result to job losses and business shutdowns. And if we just maintain economic activity without regards to growth, how can we accommodate the young workforce and allow people to buy more stuff and improve their living? For capitalism to work, there should always be growth. Without that growth, there’s no incentive to invest at all. Capitalists invest because there’s a promise or potential of higher value.
Canberra has a promise of higher value because of the infrastructure projects in line. Also, the place has natural assets because Canberra is Australia’s bush capital. More and more people will flock to the area and commercial opportunities are still promising. Developers and contractors can still find golden opportunities here as long as they carefully plan each structure they build.