How can Urban Planning help prevent bushfires?

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Simon Elchlepp

simon.elchlepp@unimelb.edu.au

Bushfires pose unprecedented challenges for Australian cities and towns. Climate change and continuing urban sprawl see more and more Australians impacted by increasingly catastrophic fires. The frequency of bushfires is higher in the urban fringe areas, with about 40% of maliciously lit fires linked to youth.

These suburbs often suffer from a lack of infrastructure – services, transport and jobs. The outcome are social problems such as high youth unemployment, early school leaving and an inability for youth to travel to and from work and recreation. What role does urban planning have to play in breaking up this combination of climate, geographical and social factors?

Associate Professor Janet Stanley is a Principal Research Fellow - Urban Social Resilience at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI). She focuses on the interface between social, environmental and economic issues in climate change and sustainability, across policy, system design, and at community levels. In conversation with Professor Brendan Gleeson, Director of MSSI and a specialist in urban, social and environmental planning and policy, Janet will discuss her research and findings into how urban planning can help prevent further bushfires.