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6 ways iso life could be easier

  • April 22 2020
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Invest

6 ways iso life could be easier

By Grace Ormsby
April 22 2020

An urban planner has put forward a number of ideas to improve the liveability and life quality of all Australians during government-ordered shutdowns.

6 ways iso life could be easier

6 ways iso life could be easier

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  • April 22 2020
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An urban planner has put forward a number of ideas to improve the liveability and life quality of all Australians during government-ordered shutdowns.

6 ways iso life could be easier

Mike Day, the co-founder and director of urban planning practice RobertsDay, has expressed concern that little thought has been given to the liveability of Australians, as well as their mental health and quality of life, during this period of uncertainty.

In particular, he’s concerned for the vast numbers of residents in low-density, single-use suburban housing developments that aren’t well connected or walkable.  

With many of these areas compelling residents to use a car to access essential services, products and exercise, Mr Day said this will be even more difficult in a lockdown scenario, especially if areas need to be shut off to contain future outbreaks. 

“If they haven’t already, governments should be assessing ways they can improve the liveability of all Australians in such a scenario, without risking their exposure to COVID-19,” he stated. 

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According to the urban planner, “Adopting measures to prioritise pedestrians over vehicles, to ensure essential products and services are in close proximity to the home, and allowing property owners to create affordable detached workplaces are a good start.”

He’s proposed six ideas that local, state and federal governments could action to improve the lives of both individuals and the prosperity of small businesses both during this time and beyond:

  1.       Temporarily close selected streets to cars to enable residents to exercise at a safe distance

“With gyms, sporting centres, playgrounds, beaches and even some coastal walks closed, councils could consider designating signature streets for access other than by car to enable residents to run or walk daily along generous pathways,” Mr Day flagged.

He highlighted New York’s opening up of thoroughfares for walking and cycling in each of the five boroughs to reduce the number of large gatherings occurring in local parks. 

Australian councils could nominate signature streets with substantial tree canopies, lighting and continuous, uninterrupted routes to promote safe and accessible exercise areas, Mr Day considered, with such action also able to combat the recent heavy cycling and pedestrian movement on existing popular walkways, such as coastal esplanades.

  1.       Allow property owners to build affordable detached workspaces or convert garages in their yards

Mr Day conceded that many employees might be forced to work from home until at least October. 

“As many parents are not in a position to work productively around kids, in shared houses or small apartments, councils could temporarily relax legislation to allow property owners to build affordable granny flats, demountable units or studios above garages, or convert their garages into offices.”

According to the planner, this could enable family members to work from home comfortably during months of lockdown, while the introduction of separate micro workspaces could even assist young entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses.

  1.       Allow tax-free subleasing of residential rooms with external access

For property owners who already have rooms on their properties with separate external access – such as studios atop garages or backyard granny flats – Mr Day said the government could temporarily relax legislation to allow existing owner-occupiers, and even tenants, to sublease those rooms.

  1.       Allow for multiple pop-up essential shops and services close to residents

Social distancing becomes very challenging when residents of a neighbourhood all have to drive to one single remote major supermarket or shopping area for the purchase of essentials

According to Mr Day, governments could relax planning provisions to allow small businesses to set up pop-up retail shops – such as market stalls and food trucks – in multiple areas in any neighbourhood, including within residential streets. 

Not only does the urban planner believe this would provide for localised food purchases, alleviating the need to drive to major retailers, boost more small-business trading and ensure that residents do not travel far from home, it could also enable local businesses to have a greater chance of survival.

  1.       Boost eBike capacity

eBikes are usually offered more readily in urban areas close to the city centre, but Mr Day believes, in the event of a lockdown, that they could also be introduced in lower-density areas.  

“Cycling guarantees social distancing, and eBikes are an excellent low-cost alternative to purchasing a car and can cover similar distances.” 

He cited a recent Deloitte report to further prove his point, which revealed the potential for eBikes to cut journey times by two-thirds, as well as being suited to all age groups and assisting in hill climbing and the carrying of heavy loads. 

  1.       Enable residents to exercise more than once a day

If we do enter a period of even tighter restrictions, Mr Day was adamant that he does not want to see Australia following a similar path to the UK, where residents can only leave their homes for exercise once a day. 

“Children, pets and those who live in small, balcony-free apartments or share houses need to head outdoors more often,” he commented. 

Minimal time spent outside the confines of the home could also lead to an increase in social issues, such as domestic violence and an adverse impact on health and wellness.

6 ways iso life could be easier
6 ways iso life could be easier
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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