ECONOMIST and property researcher Brian Haratsis is pleased to hear his new book dubbed “confrontational”.
The book Destructive Cities is a warning to Australia, he says. Not only are Melbourne and Sydney growing bigger and stronger but the bigger global cities are moving ever upwards even more.
“We have to be proactive or regional Australia is going to get it in the neck,” he said. “There needs to be a monumental change in thinking with how we build a city.”
It’s a theme the executive chairman of national property research consultancy MacroPlan will be continuing with at today’s Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) SA state conference, Urban futures.
Australia needs to change the way we think about our cities, is the essence. Or we’re stuffed.
It is a point endorsed by UDIA SA chief executive Pat Gerace.
“As the thought leaders on unlocking infrastructure investment, we’re really excited to hear more of his bold assessments in both an Australian and international context about what we need to change in the approach to urban development,” he said. We’re on the verge of an international tradeable services boom, Mr Haratsis said, and to realise this, employment and economic opportunity will require Australian capital cities to deregulate, innovate and globally compete with aggressive new spatial plans for key sectors to build critical mass in Australia’s internationally traded services sectors.
International tourism is a prime example, he said.
“If you look at international tourism, get off the plane here, where do you go, what would you find on the way in?
“Compare it to Heathrow where everything is planned right into central London,” he said.
“International tourism is our third biggest export. We don’t help ourselves to help ourselves. It’s a really good example of how we need to do things really well.”
It’s nothing new he said, Australia needs to grow its awareness.
“One of the big reasons for writing the book is that so many people are asking what happens after the mining boom. We are in the middle of a global services boom.”
The regulated make-up of Adelaide has been a boon he said, its universities and hospitals lying within the CBD bounds.
“Adelaide is quite good at this, compared to Perth where university is outside, and Adelaide has SME hubs. Adelaide as a city performs better because of its services.”
Melbourne and Sydney retain huge advantages however, with people and facilities the key. “Adelaide and Brisbane are really suffering at the expense of size. They can attract big numbers, but global tourism is not going past Melbourne and Sydney.” Australia must attract global talent he said, referencing his student days at the London School of Economics, three decades ago.
“I was exposed to the difference in class, a quantum shift. There is not enough money being spent on universities to attract the talent to make an impact,” he said, citing a Nobel prize winner and future chairman of British telecom among his tutors.
“Their doors were always open,” he said.
A mindset that economist and planners need to adopt in Australia, today.
Brian Haratsis is speaking at an Urban Development Institute of Australia SA conference in the Barossa Valley today.
About MacroPlan: MacroPlan’s experienced and qualified economists align their understanding of macro-economic forces with micro-economic variables such as geographic and industrial characteristics, demographics, labour market shifts, resource demand and commercial realities. Contact Brian Haratsis, Executive Chairman today to discuss your property research requirements.