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Oh ma Lordee, lookee here
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This is one of two articles getting big treatment in The Age today:

The other is the city's bid to join Edinburgh with UNESCO status as a City of Literature (which it is, but - without having seen the criteria - it is a recognition I find a little hard to understand in a wider sense, with so many of the world's great capitals missing). Anyway ... on the first piece:

It's accompanied by some sector graphs, and a sidebar saying that today's State Census is expected to show Melbourne as "nominally" Australia's fastest growing city, (which I assume means in raw numbers rather than percentage terms). Royce Miller's article says Melbourne grew at 50,000 or 1000 people a week in 2005-06, a 1.3% growth compared to Sydney's 0.9. Miller says Brisbane and Perth grew by 30,000 in the same year.

Article:
Melbourne comes alive — at a price



Having lunch among the graffiti in Melbourne's Degrave Street - photo by Craig Abraham:

By Royce Miller and Clay Lucas

June 27, 2007

MELBOURNE'S heart is pumping, with new figures painting a picture of a booming city. But not all is rosy, with planners and housing experts warning that the thriving city is driving out all but the most cashed-up.

Despite dire warnings in the early 1980s that Melbourne would become a "doughnut city" — a gutted metropolis with a lifeless core — Melbourne City Council's latest land-use census shows the CBD is flourishing.

Since 2004, the number of jobs in the Melbourne municipality, including Carlton, Parkville, Docklands and Southbank, has risen by 35,000, or 10 per cent.

Results of a biennial study to be released today show that since 2004 the number of businesses has risen by 1400.

Bars, pubs and cafes continue to surge, with almost 350 new places to drink or eat opening in the past two years. The number of venues, including restaurants, has exploded from 400 in 1982 to 2500 this year.

Twenty years ago real estate agents scoffed when Melbourne city councillors outlined their vision of residents living in city apartments. At the time, there were fewer than 800 households in the CBD. That figure is now around 16,000.

The number of dwellings grew by 6000 in the past two years, with most of the growth at Docklands.

New residents have driven a surge in city shopping, with supermarkets taking up 10 times the city space they did in 1997 and retailers occupying more of the city centre than ever before — 503,000 square metres.

But department stores continue to lose space, along with white goods retailers and new car dealerships. Taking their place are clothing, fashion and electronics stores.

Lord Mayor John So said the city was in great shape. "Melbourne is positioning itself as a knowledge centre, with steady growth in the finance and business sector, education, public administration, the arts and recreation," he said.

He pointed to the transformation of Docklands — which becomes part of Melbourne City Council's administrative area this Sunday after being under Government control for almost two decades — as a key factor in Melbourne's development.

The number of businesses based there has tripled since 2002 and the number of jobs has quadrupled.

But the city's growth comes at the cost of diversity, according to commentators.

Urban planner Marcus Spiller said rising property values had driven out low-rent businesses and facilities, including homeless hostels and cheap hotels that added to the city's diversity.

"The city's all groovy and cool but some of its traditional role is being squeezed out," said Mr Spiller, a director of SGS Planning and Economics.

He called for more federal and state government action to boost housing affordability.

The last Office of Housing rental report said the median rent for a two-bedroom flat in the city centre, in Southbank and Docklands was $410 a week.

Tenants Union spokeswoman Rebecca Harrison said: "Unless you're on the highest of incomes, you won't reap the benefits of the City of Melbourne's largesse."
 

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The only way to boost affordability is to build upwards in the ring of 2-storey affluent inner suburbs such as Carlton, Fitzroy, etc.
 
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