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Before the pandemic, the country was making great strides towards creating more compact, sustainable and liveable cities.
Only the inner suburbs of Melbourne and other capital cities meet the 20-minute neighbourhood test. But we could transform the other suburbs for much less than the cost of current transport projects.
While a majority of householders over 55 have thought about downsizing, only one in four have done it. What’s stopping them? Most simply can’t find a home in the right place that meets their needs.
The lure of suburbia clearly remains strong. To deal with sprawl, planners need to increase urban density in a way that resonates with the leafy green qualities of suburbia that residents value.
Residents of the ‘leafy suburbs’ will continue to fear what they might lose to increasing urban density without an explicit planning approach that enhances green space in affected neighbourhoods.
Australians want greater housing choice, including affordable compact homes that are neither large detached houses nor multistorey apartments.
Australians’ need for smaller and more diverse dwellings is growing. The planning system is not providing enough of this housing, and self-serving opposition to it should be resisted.
The 392 apartments in Opal Tower (centre) were evacuated on Christmas Eve when residents heard loud cracks and defects were found.
While Opal Tower residents are more badly affected than most, up to 80% of multi-unit buildings have serious defects. Here’s what government can do right now to fix the industry.
We can make conscious decisions about how we live together in closer proximity that allow for both cultural diversity and a shared sense of community.
Ján Jakub Naništa/Unsplash
Dallas Rogers speaks with Chris Ho and Edgar Liu about what's going on in apartment buildings as we move up, rather than out, and how we can look after ourselves and each other in culturally diverse, high-density living.
Australian cities need to sustain higher levels of construction and to provide higher-density developments to ensure growing populations have access to affordable housing.
Governments should stop offering false hopes and pandering to NIMBY pressures. As well as increased public and private housing supply, growing cities need well-designed higher-density development.
Cars are submerged on a flooded road in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville in 2012.
A massive residential development in a flood-prone inner-city suburb sounds like a recipe for disaster. But good urban design can deliver higher density and reduce the flood risk.
Without medium-density housing being built in the established suburbs – the ‘missing middle’ – the goals of more compact, sustainable and equitable cities won’t be achieved.
Residents of established middle suburbs are slowly coming round to the idea, but governments and the property sector lack the capacity to deliver compact cities that are acceptable to the community.
Green space, easily accessible to everyone no matter what their income, should be a priority in designing high-density residential areas.
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Being crowded into poor-quality high-density units harms residents’ health, but design features that are known to promote wellbeing can make a big difference to the lives of low-income households.
Higher-density developments change neighbourhoods, often in ways that further disadvantage low-income households.
For the first time in Australia, more higher-density housing than detached housing was being built last year. Compact cities have pros and cons, but the downsides fall more heavily on the poor.
When disputes and other problems of apartment living arise, low-income households’ options are often limited.
In the push for more compact cities, don’t forget the ways apartment living is different. And often the downsides of these differences weigh heavily on low-income and disadvantaged households.
The traditional backyard provides a retreat from the pressures of city life.
Australians are losing the backyards that once served as retreats from the stresses of city living. Our health is likely to suffer as cities become less green and much hotter.
Whether it’s pressures of space or a warmer climate, which is affecting Melbourne’s elms, urban greening must respond to the challenges of 21st-century urban living.
Greening cities that are becoming denser is a major challenge. City-dwellers’ health benefits from both well-designed green spaces and urban density, so we must manage the tensions between them.
How is apartment living changing the way we get to know our increasingly diverse neighbourhoods?
As increasing diversity and density come to characterise our cities, how can we build harmonious communities within apartment complexes?
The continued preference for detached housing in new suburbs is driving Perth’s urban sprawl and means two-thirds of dwellings built over the next 15 years need to be on infill sites to meet the state’s target.
Government and industry need to demonstrate the benefits of well-designed higher-density housing. Rich residential display projects may be the ideal catalyst for creating smarter cities.