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DLA's Mark Sheppard conducted a walking tour of Melbourne's Docklands to analyse and discuss density and building types as part of PIA's 2018 Planning Symposium.
Planners and urban designers have mostly sought to increase densities in Australia’s cities. Society’s low-density love affair has brought us unending sprawl, with all its social, environmental and economic ills. Attempts to rein in our metropolises’ spreading girth and create more sustainable, liveable and economically-efficient cities have focused on strategic increases in density to support public transport use and reach viability thresholds for local amenities within walking distance.
DLA staff attended a seminar facilitated by the Grattan Institute focusing on their most recent report ‘Tomorrow's Suburbs: Building Flexible Neighbourhoods'. The seminar provided an opportunity to hear from one of the authors, Jane-Frances Kelly as well as Andrew Whitson, General Manager – Residential Development Victoria of Stockland.
David Lock Associates (DLA) has submitted a response to the proposed reformed zones for Victoria. As part of an ongoing review of the Victoria Planning system the Government is considering:
- New and improved residential, commercial, industrial and rural zones
- Rationalising and removing unnecessary zones
- Associated processes that can support the new and improved zones
In general, the principle of the zone reform is welcomed. We do believe that the rationalising of zone structure will achieve greater clarity in the planning system. However, DLA believe the proposed reform process should be undertaken in conjunction with the emerging Metropolitan Strategy. It is considered the directions outlined in the Metropolitan Strategy will assist in strategically justifying the application of the reformed zones.
The Heart Foundation presented an interactive seminar ‘Exploring Urban Density: Maximising the Health Benefit and Minimising the Harm’ on the 17th of August. The keynote speaker, Professor Billie Giles-Corti (University of Melbourne and University of Western Australia) discussed the link between the built environment and health. The evidence in support of density in terms of health benefits conveyed through walkability and access to amenities is increasing, however, Professor Giles-Corti asks what is ‘good’ density from a health perspective? What are the intended and unintended consequences of increased density? What types of amenities are associated with positive health in denser areas?