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Leading US Land Use Expert Visits Lilydale

Taking Lilydale into the 21st Century requires a return to Walkable Urbanism, according to eminent visiting international land use expert Professor Christopher Leinberger, who was hosted by Intrapac Property, together with Yarra Ranges Council and Roberts Day at the Box Hill Institute Lilydale Lakeside this afternoon.

“We’re thrilled to be part of bringing Christoper Leinberger to Lilydale and welcome his ideas on creating a walkable, connected city for the region as we plan our Lilydale Quarry project, which will reset the bar for suburban redevelopment,” says Maxwell Shifman, Intrapac Property’s Chief Operating Officer.

Intrapac’s 163-hectare Lilydale Quarry redevelopment, one of the largest urban renewal sites in Australia, will house about 9000 people and shares a 1km boundary with the Box Hill Institute, making it the ideal location for discussion of the region’s future.

“Driving around the Lilydale Quarry project this afternoon, I was stunned and over-awed by the challenge Intrapac has taken on with this giant project; it’s really impressive,” says Professor Leinberger. “To fill the quarry in and bring the land back, to be able to repair it and put a walkable development on top of it – it’s very impressive.”

During the presentation, Professor Leinberger talked of how gleefully America, with Australia following, built out large land masses without realising the impact. Hearteningly, he said the pendulum has swung back and now Walkable Urbanism is being revived for the benefits of healthier environments, healthier residents and better GDP as transport costs are reduced.

“One of the things we’ve seen in our research is that around half of the demand for Walkable Urbanism is being played out in the suburbs, such as in Lilydale, alongside the metro areas,” says Professor Leinberger. “Here, you can have the best of both worlds, a walkable environment, as well as access to the wine country, wilderness and Melbourne CBD just an hour away.”

Professor Leinberger, who was voted one of the Top 100 Urban Thinkers in a 2009 poll conducted by international urban planning site Planetizen, is at the forefront of research into the changing dynamic of urban spaces in the United States.

As part of a panel discussion after the presentation, Mike Day, Founder of respected urban design firm Roberts Day, said we’re lucky to live in the world’s most liveable city with great urbanism in and around the city and that what we now need is more ‘mini-Melbourne’s’ around Victoria.

Ali Wastie, Director of Social and Economic Development at Yarra Ranges Council said the Yarra Ranges is the most visited region of Victoria, and that it was once home to 20 railway stations and now has just five.

“We want our urban townships to have good walkability and therefore healthier communities, so we look forward to encouraging walking in the planning of Lilydale to improve the lives of our 9,000 residents,” says Ms Wastie, who supports a new train station to the region.

Intrapac Property also believes a train line through the beautiful township of Lilydale is an opportunity not to miss, but what is needed is a commitment to a new train station to create a successful walkable community.

“We’re privileged to have the opportunity to take a different approach to redeveloping the Lilydale region that embraces the history of the site and it’s character – marrying together the farming and the industrial precincts,” says Mr Shifman. “We look forward to the partnership with Yarra Ranges Council and the Victorian Government.”

About Professor Chris Leinberger
 
Professor Christopher B. Leinberger is a land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, balancing business realities with social and environmental concerns. Mr Leinberger is currently the Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor, George Washington University School of Business; a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington DC; and Founding Partner of Arcadia Land Company, a new urbanism and transit-oriented development firm.