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Build in good services from day one for healthier communities: lessons from Selandra Rise

Cecily Maller and Larissa Nicholls write in The Conversation (9.5.16) about their research into new planned urban communities, pointing out the benefits from governments ensuring the incorporation of reliable health and social services into urban development proposals.

‘Building new residential communities is no mean feat. Building healthy new communities is an even greater challenge. Released today by VicHealth, our five-year study into the creation of one such community, Selandra Rise in Melbourne’s south-east growth corridor, points to the need for providing good services and integrated planning early on.

‘In most Australian cities new communities are usually set on greenfield sites. These have limited pre-existing infrastructure and services. Aside from housing and connections to water and electricity networks, at the bare minimum communities need parks, schools, shops, health services, public transport and roads.

‘Although the models and timing of the delivery of services and infrastructure vary, housing is usually delivered long before such essential services. For this reason early residents in new communities are often called “pioneers”.

‘Debates continue about the timing and delivery of public infrastructure in new communities. At the heart of the issue are two conflicting viewpoints.’

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