Canberra's inner north is set to become a very busy place, if the ACT government's population predictions are to be believed.
Under the City Renewal Authority's vision to "reshape the heart of the nation's capital" in coming decades, the population of Canberra's city centre and inner north would swell to beyond 52,000 - more than double pre-light rail levels.
In other words, Canberra is well on its way to being the bustling metropolis we've always hoped and dreamed it could be.
But is this really what we have been hoping for?
While the authority's 30-year plan to guide future growth from West Basin and Constitution Avenue up through the Northbourne Avenue corridor focus mainly on inner north Canberra, the entire city will also, inevitably, undergo significant changes as a result of this growth.
And while this journey to true density - many people living in small spaces, in apartments, close to town and city centres - is in many ways inevitable, and already well underway, it's worth remembering that open space is still worth factoring into any plans for the future.
The Chief Minister himself has maintained that planning is key for Canberra's growth, in his written forward to the authority's plan.
"Cities don't succeed by accident or by leaving things to chance - they require outstanding design, good governance and great collaboration," Andrew Barr says. "These elements have helped make Canberra a thriving city, loved by its citizens and increasingly admired by visitors."
Barr is correct, of course; Canberra is a city planned from the ground up, and while this is a fact that shows almost everywhere you look, the planning has not always been a success.
Canberra is a city planned from the ground up, and while this is a fact that shows almost everywhere you look, the planning has not always been a success.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: now is the time to get it right.
This is especially the case when it comes to the redevelopment of City Hill and West Basin, both largely underused, and tapped to become densely populated urban magnets for people drawn to inner-city living.
The ACT government's four-year land release schedule earmarks the sale of blocks around City Hill to accommodate 1050 apartments, but the new strategy takes this even further, with predictions it will house 2800 dwellings - and a population of 6160 - by 2046.
This would boost the lakeside precinct's population from 1034 in 2016 to 5324 in 2046, a figure that certain parts of Canberra's population may find disturbing. We've become so used to larger dwellings, gardens and open parkland that it can be hard to imagine life any other way. But people are driven to apartment-dwelling by choice or circumstance all over the world. But Canberra - with its famous open spaces between centres - still has the chance to maintain many of these spaces for those who could well be craving them the most in upcoming decades. Inner-city dwellers, for all their proximity to all that urban life has to offer, will still need parks and community facilities. They also need a good degree of choice when it comes to living space; despite what many might think, it's not just the young and child-free who gravitate towards apartment living.
These hundreds of new apartments must cater to a wide variety of people, from families to the elderly, and through that, reflect the kind of city actual Canberrans - not the bright, faceless figures of developers' artist impressions - actually want to live in.
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