Industry operating within our urban areas places an array of pressures on the environment. Of note is resource consumption (see Resource consumption), air and land pollutant generation, and waste generation (see Waste and pollution). Assessment Pressures affecting the urban environment 2021 Medium confidence Australia’s population will continue to grow, putting more pressure on major urban cities to densify and expand, leading to greater travel and overall resource consumption, waste and pollution. The impact of these pressures is currently stable, but climate change is expected to compound the pressures on infrastructure, systems and resources, with the potential to increase impacts and lead to worsening conditions. Related to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal targets 6.3, 11.b, 11.3, 11.6 Legend How was this assessment made Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Linkedin Share this link Assessment Climate change 2021 High confidence 2016 2011 Australian urban areas have very high exposure to the climate change impacts. These impacts are expected to increase, placing growing pressure on the urban environment and the livability of its citizens. Climate change is also expected to affect biodiversity in urban areas through greater urban heat; more extreme events including bushfires, drought, extreme rainfall and flooding; and sea level rise. Assessment Population growth: urban densification and expansion, travel demand, resource consumption, waste and pollution 2021 Medium confidence 2016 2011 Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that Australia’s population will continue to grow over the medium to long term, putting greater pressure on major urban cities to densify as well as expand. This will imply greater travel and overall resource consumption, producing more traffic congestion, waste and pollution, leading to greater pressures on important environmental and agricultural areas. At the same time, from an environmental perspective, the migration to regional areas has led to improvements in major cities, particularly in terms of consumption. This trend might be good for cities, but is unclear or deteriorating for regional areas where they may experience more pressure on consumption, infrastructure issues, sprawls due to new development, and increases in house prices. More data on long-term effects are needed. Assessment Industry: urban expansion, resource consumption, waste and pollution 2021 Medium confidence Industry has a high impact on the environment, although this varies depending on types of industry and resource use. The trend is stable because this phenomenon is highly regulated (particularly for energy), though it has not improved because the circular economy has not yet embedded itself. However, many industries are becoming more energy and resource efficient for economic and environmental reasons.