The Urbanist is Dr Alan Davies, a principal of Melbourne-based economic and planning consultancy, Pollard Davies Consultants. You are welcome to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some comments on The Urbanist:
David Walker, Club Troppo, 17/1/2013, The Ozzie winners for 2012: Cautious knowledge trumps dogmatic ignorance
The Ozzie for best think-tank which is actually a blog goes to The Urbanist, the blog of the remarkable Alan Davies. It started out as the Melbourne Urbanist, but Crikey did the nation a favour by giving Davies a higher podium from which to speak and asking him to address issues outside Melbourne. Davies is now doing the nation a favour by bringing sanity to the debate about the shape of our cities, perhaps the most under-rated of our national issues.
Davies’ ability to write prodigiously at high quality on a wide range of topics is pretty much unequalled. His blog posts are better than most think-tanks’ full papers, and there are more of them. Just in December 2012, he dissected high-speed rail claims, argued in favour of the latest Sydney light rail proposal, highlighted the ungreenery of much public transport, skewered a dodgy Age report about traffic forecasts, explained why Sydney’s CBD is growing more slowly than Melbourne’s, and much more. Early in the year, he pointed Australian readers to the latest literature on infrastructure project costs. He has been the most compelling critic of the Victorian government’s barmy plans for an Avalon Airport rail link. His approach is always to stress that the right solution for a city problem relies on a complex mix of factors. Yet he can tease out the factors that matter most, and he writes in a style which allows any educated Australian to absorb his arguments.
More than anyone else, Davies demonstrates why the traditional think-tank model is under threat from Internet-enabled individual experts.
Sam Roggeveen, Lowy Interpreter, 20/12/2010, My blogs of the year:
As with last year, I present this list not as my all-time favourites, but as a short commentary on the best blogs I have discovered this year. I see dozens of new blogs each month, but very few become permanent additions to my reading list. These are the ones that have stuck in 2010:
- The Melbourne Urbanist: Not at all a foreign policy blog, but the themes Alan Davies discusses — infrastructure, planning, population, employment, housing — are universal. Given the pace of urbanisation around the world, The Melbourne Urbanist is really a global blog that just looks local. While never doctrinaire, TMU has a nicely contrarian spirit to it, questioning some accepted wisdom about public transport and urban sprawl.