Cities in the developed world had a multiplier effect that could threaten the biosphere, according to the winning entry in the Jerrabomberra ideas competition announced yesterday.

“”What happens, or fails to happen, in the urban areas of the technologically developed countries may well be decisive for the future of the biosphere,” it said. “”there is the direct impact that the urban areas themselves make on the environment [and] there is the massive multiplier effect that occurs through the leadership role model they provide for the burgeoning urbanisation processes in the less developed countries.”

The winners of the $50,000 competition were announced by the Minister for Environment Land and Planning, Bill Wood, at Exhibition Park in Canberra.

First was a University of Melbourne team comprising Professor Allan Rodger, Jan Schapper, Dr Darko Radovic and Karen Gall with Buchan Group architects and planners; Ove Arup engineering consultants, Melbourne Water and Silvertons financial consultants.

Its entry envisaged a series of eight villages on the site allowing for staged development and mixed residential choices. Preferences are given to pedestrians, cyclists, transport of goods, public transport and the private car, in that order.

Intense agricultural use is made of the non-urban valley floor.

The judges said it provided an example of how Australia could transform existing suburban forms.

The competition was run by the ACT Government, the National Capital Planning Authority, Queanbeyan City Council and ACT Electricity and Water.

The winning entry said that Jerrabomberra offered a great opportunity to show a different way from present late 20th century cities which depleted non-renewal resources, degrades the natural environment, imposed unsustainable demands on surrounding agricultural areas, polluted water systems and produced toxic gases.

The built environment had to be transformed.

The runner up was an entry by MBA Land and “”creating PLACE”.

It had a figure-of-eight light rail system linking 10 urban villages. It proposed the creation of a lake by damming Jerrabomberra Creek.

Mr Wood said that there had been no commitment to develop the Jerrabomberra valley, and no population targets had been set. The competition was one of ideas only.

It was a case study for the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s Project on the Ecological City. The competition attracted 32 entries which are on display through the weekend at EPIC.

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