Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Brisbane to become Sardine City? The Australian's emotionally-charged headline belies the truth: Brisbane is vastly underdeveloped compared with Sydney and Melbourne. Just drive around to see for yourself.

I did recently: from Southbank out to Manly West, a new suburb built on what used to be the Edgell vegetable farm. It's spacious, uncluttered, low-traffic, and well served by parks. There are no apartments at all.

A similar story ran today in the Brisbane Times, where the Property Council of Queensland was reported saying that there was no chance of getting enough new development built within already-built-up areas.

The Property Council of Queensland represents property developers.

"Under the current regulatory arrangements," a spokesperson was quoted as remarking. The buck passes to the government, with the infrastructure minister saying "the problem rested with the construction and development industry and local councils".

The buck passes to the city council.

Brisbane City Council declined to comment, saying they set the conditions for developers and the government to act.


In NSW, the government - which everybody feels justified in ignoring due to its present malaise - passed laws a few years ago enabling it to override local council restrictions on development applications.

As a result, unpopular apartment blocks have been built in areas considered elite, and where existing train lines well-serve a small, and ageing, population.

The NSW system, while unpopular with many, has set about achieving a good outcome for the city and for those who can afford to buy into such expensive areas. The Australian's story says that many don't want to live in such conditions, depsite the fact that average apartment sizes are increasing.

But with fears Brisbane will turn into Sardine City, the Property Council of Queensland and the Urban Development Institute of Australia warn that high-rise living is more for singles and childless couples, but most families with children still want a house with a backyard.

Brisbane can easily accommodate additional apartment development in built-up areas. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. There are no terrace houses in Brisbane, and very few of the standard, red-brick, 2-storey, 70s-style apartment blocks that cluster around Sydney's suburbs.

The deluge of negativity coming from the peak development body - and the gutless buck-passing from state and city councils - is a cause for shame. Brisbane can handle more density and interested parties can do better than this, in attempting to achieve higher-density living for Brisbane residents.

1 comment:

The Brisbane Acreage Blogger said...

Great post, Matt. I guess we've all grown up thinking we haven't made it until we have a house on some land but the truth is that it's just one more ideal that isn't environmentally sustainable these days. We need to start enjoying the benefits of high density living.