This theme discusses the state of Australia's cities and towns, and considers the impacts of population and economic growth, and climate change on our urban environments, and issues of strategic management across jurisdictions in a time of change.
It considers state and trends of the built environment in two areas, that of liveability and urban environmental efficiency. It considers pressures affecting the built environment, effectiveness of management, resilience, risks and the outlook for the built environment.
In SoE 2011, the theme ‘Built environment’ replaces the chapter previously called ‘Human Settlements’ in the three preceding reports.
The built environment is the human-made surroundings where people gather to live, work and play. It encompasses both the physical structures where people do these activities and the supporting infrastructures, such as transport, water and energy networks. The built environment is a material, spatial and cultural product of human labour and imagination. (SoE 2011, 10 Built environment - 1 Introduction).
- Australia’s built environment faces many pressures and is only in a fair shape.
- The Australian built environment consumes significant natural resources, although this may be improving.
- Recent government initiatives aim to improve the uncoordinated management of the built environment.
- The outlook for the built environment is mixed.
For more details see SoE 2011 - Built environment: Key findings
- Population growth and urban expansion, particularly in coastal areas and capital cities, are placing increasing pressure on the environment.
- In the ten years to the last census (2001), there was a small but significant increase in the amount of high density housing in capital cities and regional cities.
- The quality of human settlements is generally good, with remote Indigenous settlements being the notable exception.
- In the past five years, the per capita consumption of energy has increased, with only a slow take-up of renewable energy.
- The design of urban areas has a significant impact on their efficiency and environmental impact and some progress has been made towards recognising this fact in new developments, but the legacy of past urban and building design will continue to impact on the environment.
- The rate of population growth is expected to slow, so pressures on the environment from this source may also grow at a slower rate, but this will be affected by future producer and consumer behaviour.
For more details see SoE 2006 - Human settlements: Key points
- Australian State of the Environment 2011 Chapter 10: Built Environment
- Australia State of the Environment 2011: In Brief
- Australia State of the Environment 2006: Chapter 3. Human settlements
- Australia State of the Environment 2006 AT A GLANCE
- Human settlements - Theme commentary
- Living in a land of fire - Integrative commentary
- Living in a variable climate - Integrative commentary
- The role of local government in environmental and heritage management - Integrative commentary
- The role of the private sector in environmental stewardship - Integrative commentary
- The suburbanisation of coastal Australia - Integrative commentary
- Chemicals in the environment - Current or emerging issues paper
- Coastal water quality, Adelaide's port waterways - Current or emerging issues paper
- Coastal water quality, Western Australia's Peel-Harvey estuarine system - Current or emerging issues paper
- Desalinisation - Current or emerging issues paper
- The dilemma of conflicting environmental outcomes - Current or emerging issues paper
- The coastal pollution halo - Current or emerging issues paper
- The environment management services industry - Current or emerging issues paper
- The Great Green Debate: urban myths, risks and alternative opinions - Current or emerging issues paper
- The impact of urban form on public health - Current or emerging issues paper
- Urban form and urban efficiency - Current or emerging issues paper
- What do Australians think about protecting the environment? - Current or emerging issues paper
- State of the environment report on human settlements: stocks and flows indicators - Technical report
- Data Reporting System - Theme: Human settlements
- Australia State of the Environment 2001: Thematic findings - Human settlements
- Key Findings Brochure
- Human Settlements Theme Report
- Indigenous Settlements of Australia - Technical report
- Suburbanisation Vs Reurbanisation: Population Distribution Changes in Australian Cities - Technical report
- Environmental indicators for national state of the environment reporting: Human Settlements
- Australia State of the Environment 1996: Chapter 3 - Human Settlements
- Key Findings From the First Independent National Report
- Cities in Transition: Changing Economic and Technological Processes and Australia's Settlement System - Technical paper
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