The Federal government’s State of the Australian Cities 2010 was released and it states that there are unavoidable costs that will be related to traffic congestion in the capital cities which would total to $9.4 billion as per the year 2005 and this figure was expected to rise to higher levels of $20 billion by the year 2020. There are basic ways in which the issue of congestion could be solved especially in Melbourne are increasing the road space, suppressing the demands for the road space, managing the levels of demand and shifting the travelers to the less-congested mode. The initial step should be the involvement of building of more road capacity by maybe widened or new freeways. The people who live in these places have inexhaustible demand for travelling. The added capacity makes the route fast and it then fills up again leading to more congestion in the city. The other approach would be to attempt to shift the personal drivers from their cars to the public transport. The traffic congestion is somehow a positive factor for the public transport because it reduces the car speed advantage (Crittall and Atkinson 2009 p, 24).
The other approach involves suppressing the demand. The high rate of traffic congestion slows all people down equally and the available roads are clogged and they cannot carry any more cars. The high value trips that are very important are slowed down and also the comparatively low value trips are also reduced highly. The other fourth way of reducing the traffic intensity involves road pricing where every driver pays a toll or a charge for use of the road space. These tolls are made higher especially during the peak periods. The drivers who make high value trips will be ready to pay the high tolls but the drivers who make the low value trips are not ready to pay such high tolls and will seek alternatives. Others opt to walk, others use public transport means, others opt not to make the trip and wait till it is off peak and others shop less frequently and reduce the number of times that they shop. The road pricing is the most recommended and sensible approach but the main disadvantage is that the charge could be inequitable and it would be quite hard to implement the idea especially politically (State of the World 2010 p, 12).
The vision for the cities in Australia are globally competitive and productive with the integrated use of land, infrastructure and transport planning which will eventually drive more efficient outcomes and investment. The cities also should be sustainable in terms of economy, social and the environment. The cities should also be livable in terms of improving the quality of health, life and the wellbeing of the people who work, live in, or visit the cities (Timothy and Peter 2008 p, 34).
Post-colonialism, transnational migrations and rise of the civil society converged at the point where the concept of difference on the main agenda of design and planning professions. The difference is in terms of age, sexual preference, ability, ethnicity, class and religion. The cultural diversity is another major challenge that faces the planners of urbanism. The Australian cities are managing to determine the cultural conflicts around design and planning issues. The acceleration of urbanization progressions and globalization of the economy increase the rate of cultural and ethnic diversity in the cities of Australia through the global and national migration processes which have led to the interpenetration of the populations. It has also led to different ways of life within the spheres of the globe’s main metropolitan areas. Managing all these differences is becoming a main challenge to the smooth running of the cities and the city-building professions have immense implications (Crittall and Atkinson 2009 p, 35).
The people who live in the cities continue living as strangers but they should always be seen as the sites where great aversions to the strangers play themselves out in the level of the urban policy, local politics, and everyday life where hostility to all differences should be expressed in the ultimate desires to live better lives with the strangers. There should be peaceful co-existence that is based on the respect for the differences but it is a real problem trying to acquire and maintain the desired peace. The socio- cultural reshaping of the regions and the cities is another challenge that is faced by the planners of the cities (State of the World 2010 p, 27).
The migrations have changed the demographic, economic, political and the social structures that are involved. The residential and religious sites are negatively affected. The conflicts of Protestantism, Catholicism, Muslim, Hinduism and Buddhist are very much seen in the cities and it is a challenge that is faced. The different people of the different religions ask for permission to build mosques, churches and temples in their residential areas especially in the Australian suburbs. They had to contact the planning staff so that they would find suitable lands to build all the churches in the places where they required them. This is a main challenge to the planning authorities because it is not quite possible to get such an amount of land especially in the cities where the whole place is full of houses for residential use. There is also the challenge of good housing because people are overcrowded in the cities due to the many employment opportunities that are present mostly in the urban areas. The available good housing is relatively expensive and most of the people who are average or low income earners are not able to afford the good expensive housing. They have to opt for the housing that is comparatively poor in terms of sanitation and the overall condition of the area. Once the Buddhists are given the land, the other residents complain that they hear the chanting of the Buddhists as they worship causing noise pollution (Timothy and Peter 2008 p, 38).
There is also the conflict of retailing or commercial sites and conflicts. The different people who meet in the cities are from different backgrounds and they behave differently even in terms of their business ideas and behaviors. Some of them find no hazard in displaying their wares on footpaths of the streets mostly at the entrance of other stores, most people view this as dual hazard meaning both physical and health hazard. It is a physical hazard because it poses danger to the people who pass through there who may get injured by falling on the displays and it is referred to as a health hazard because food displays could be termed as unhygienic. Therefore this is a major challenge to the urban planners because they have to sort out the conflicts in the best way so that the people will continue living in harmonious ways and in a conducive environment (Crittall and Atkinson 2009 p, 42).
There is the problem of urban design or heritage or public space issue that arises in the urban centers due to the differentiation that is so prevalent in the existing cities. The Australian cities and the residents have waged huge battles in an attempt to protect the livability, amenity and the historical character of the neighbors against the threats from the public agencies and private developers. These have caused huge challenges for the urban developers because they have to gain the access to these areas so that they could realize the development that was so much required in the region. Australia needs to be industrialized and agricultural activities had to continue which could be the raw materials that were required by the industries (State of the World 2010 p, 31).
There is high rate of unemployed individuals in the societies that live in the urban areas. This growth that keeps increasing at very high rates has led to high rate of crimes in the cities. These crimes cause a lot of challenge to the urban planners and also to the people who dwell in the urban areas. Security concerns continue increasing at high rates and everyone wants to live in an area that is assured of proper security. The investors especially those who invest in businesses ensure that the area where the business is located is well assured of the security measures that are put in place. The urban and city planners hence face this challenge because they have to ensure that all areas in the urban areas are well secured and that the security measures that are put in place are efficient and reliable. This makes the life in the urban area to be quite expensive and those who do not afford the high living conditions that are secure opt to live in the slums where there is no difference between the robbers and the residents (Crittall and Atkinson 2009 p, 52).
There is the challenge of pollution in the urban centers and in the cities. The pollution is in terms of noise pollution, air pollution, water pollution and various other types of the pollution. The urban planners have faced the challenge of minimizing the rates of pollution to very low levels. The pollution may be caused by emissions from industries, emissions from the congested cars, noise from both the cars and the industries, effluents from factories, sewage mismanagement and others that are caused by the factor of overcrowding in the urban areas. The urban planner should ensure that measures are put in place to curb pollution to manageable levels. The urban planners though are well able to manage all the challenges (State of the World 2010 p, 46).