Most broadly, this research is directed towards long-term issues around developing the four future major metropolitan regions of Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, SEQ and Perth. First, the research looks at likely scenarios of population distribution in Australia towards 2050 and the reasons for and implications of growth in these four regions; the second theme is that future distribution of population growth will be strongly related to economic trends that are likely to endure into the future, namely the ongoing concentration of economic activity that will be knowledge-based and tend to locate in the hearts of these city regions. Thirdly, the paper will be generally directed towards exploring the desirable shape and structure of these four Australian metropolitan regions into the future, to optimise liveability and other relevant qualities.

The propositions that are explored as a backdrop to the main question to be examined include:

  • Population growth will continue to concentrate in these four regions;
  • Economic activity will be concentrated in the hearts of these regions;

That people will therefore live at higher densities near the middle, or seek to commute – providing for commuting to the inner city quarters by public transport is a critical challenge [this is the subject of the original research that will be undertaken by the author, around the future propensity to commute to the middle].

While the research is intended to be based on and relevant to each of these four city regions, the main focus of the paper is South-East Queensland which has some particular characteristics and potential, including because of its relatively rapid population growth; the ultimate question is, in view of these and other relevant factors, whether it would be advantageous in SEQ to develop a Glasshouse Urban Corridor as the major element of promoting primarily a linear metropolitan urban form, extending from Sunshine Coast to Brisbane to Gold Coast.

Advisors: Dr Thomas SiglerAssoc Prof Glen Searle

Project members

Jeff Humphreys


PhD candidate