Home' Commercial : Commercial 2014 Contents SCOOP Commercial Building & Design 79
There is no reason that the laidback lifestyle of
suburban Perth can’t be wedded to a new and
more dynamic city. Our generation has spawned
offspring who have very different ideas and
expectations to our parents and us. They are more
urbane, more mobile, earn more money and
are perhaps more demanding. I like Melbourne
planner Rob Adams’ view that you can double
the city’s population by redeveloping just 7.5 per
cent of the developable land, leaving the bulk of
suburbia to change at a much slower pace.
From an architectural and urban design viewpoint,
more exploratory design work should be done.
More engagement with the public about what can
be done to improve the physical environment. Perth
has changed dramatically with each generation, but
has remained a great place. We need to have a little
faith in the future. Somehow the negativity that
is circulated about change needs to be replaced by
enthusiasm for continuing to make things better.
I think one of the things the city needs is the
unanimity of thought about where we’re going.
We need to indulge in planning exercises that
bring people together. We need a realisation that
transport planning is a subset of town planning
CRAIG SMITH – PERTH CITY ARCHITECT
The aerial map of Perth will look very similar to today, but it will be a different
place. Modified by more than a generation of change, the city will have reached
the threshold at which we will have an underground rail system – the great
advantage of which is that it will be subservient to the quality of the development
at ground level and will see the removal of critical parts of existing infrastructure
that has separated and eroded the physical quality of our city. Buildings will be
better designed, more environmentally efficient and planned to better handle
our climate and changing lifestyles. Available choices in housing and changes
in employment options will drive the type of development that takes place.
Denser, more urban development will have occurred along the lines of transport,
particularly at existing centres, and limits will have been placed on urban sprawl.
Parts of the river and ocean front will be more active and engaging. We will show
more pride in our city and admire the achievements that have made it a better
place. Perth will remain a great place to live and grow in, as long as we concentrate
on the quality of life that can be achieved.
and not vice versa. Perth is still perceived as
a great place to live and bring up kids, but we need
to do the sorts of things Lisa was talking about in
terms of melding strategy with livability.
In terms of current projects, Elizabeth Quay and
Perth City Link are game changers. However ,
from our point of view, populating the city centre
remains a bigger project than either of them. In
the areas surrounding the city centre we will
see increasing density at existing centres of
development that will maximise access to transport
and, further out, the provision of transport links
will build on long-term development.
Transport planning needs to be a long-term
view – planning for transport connectivity
across the whole metropolitan area as a means of
encouraging the consolidation of existing centres
and the development of the new. A population of
more than three million people is likely to trigger
the undergrounding of parts of the rail system.
If this were to happen, how good would it make
our light rail decisions look? Underground is the
answer. The only thing stopping us is long-term
commitment and funding that is linked to the
four-year terms of governments.
We need to be talking about and exploring these
kinds of opportunities. And they need to be
common knowledge in the public domain. The
level of debate is not brilliant, and it should be.
The City of Perth continues to encourage housing
diversity. The issue of affordability has created
a lot of innovation including very small but
highly appointed units, though the banks have
been dragging their feet in funding this change
in demand. The city encourages diversity and
a choice of housing and these tiny, beautifully
designed units have a role to play.
There have been almost 20 hotel applications
over the last two years, of which only two or
three are under construction. The trifecta of high
cost of land, construction and operating hotels
has been ameliorated by the city offering plot ratio
bonuses for hotels and short-stay accommodation,
as well as increasing the base plot ratio in many
parts of the city. The city planning scheme now
allows for 14 million sqm of development, but
as yet we have only used four million sqm so
there is plenty of room for growth. Sometimes
physical change takes a little longer to achieve
than people think.
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