Growth Series

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Overview

The Town of Victoria Park has been allocated a target of providing for an additional 19,400 dwellings by 2050 on top of the 15,921 dwellings in existence in 2011. This will see the Town’s population more than double in the next 30-35 years.
 
A series of articles will explore the projected population growth and what it means for the Town. Keep your eyes open for more information here on our website, on Facebook and in our quarterly newsletter, Life in the Park, throughout the year.

 

Part 1 - The Town's Density Targets

The dwelling growth is expected to be gradual and will continue the transformation of the Town into a bustling inner urban neighbourhood. Capitalising on the increased residential population and office employees, the main Albany Highway strip and smaller centres such as Archer Street and Lathlain Place will become even more vibrant, bustling hubs of activity with a variety of shops, cafes and offices.
 
Growth will be focused on key areas such as along Albany Highway, the Burswood Peninsula and the Causeway Precinct, in Technology Park and on the Curtin University campus as well as some higher densities around the train stations. Existing residential neighbourhoods are expected to be retained at lower densities to allow for a diversity of housing options including family homes.
 
We are now starting to plan for this growth. This planning includes making sure the Town’s social infrastructure keeps pace with the growing population, that parks and open spaces are still meeting the needs and expectations of this growing community and our existing transport system and servicing infrastructure can cope with the additional demand.
 
There will be an opportunity for you to be involved in the planning for this growth as part of the preparation of the Town’s Local Planning Strategy.
 

Part 2 - Not all density is created equal

For so long the word ‘density’ has been considered a bad word. For some, the word ‘density’ brings back bad memories of poorly constructed public housing in the 1960s and 1970s, of new business districts lacking in infrastructure and amenities, and of grey suburban shopping centres. Throw in fears of over-crowding, high crime rates and a loss of privacy and it’s no wonder density has so many negative connotations for some. But lately, the world has been rethinking the delivery of density and its back in vogue.

We are a Town that is set to grow, and the key question in our future urban planning discussions will not be whether or not our Town ought to become denser; it will be what we want to do with that inevitable density. We think, that when used properly, density is an important part of what makes cities unique, immersive and culturally rich.

Density: Drivers, Dividends and Debates, by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), examines the concept of density, its impacts, and how it can best be achieved in cities around the world. They outline characteristics of what they think is ‘good’ density and ‘bad density’. Do you think they are right?

Characteristics of ‘Good’ Density   Characteristics of ‘Bad’ Density  
Mixed use of land combining residential, commercial, retail, transport and green space creates a vibrant urban landscape which is used at all times of day and by different groups. Monotonous. Dense single land use appears to prevent the advantages of density from being leveraged and fosters negative impacts on others instead.
Connected. Includes high volume reliable public transport and leverages existing infrastructure. Good infrastructure is an essential component. Isolated. Without transport infrastructure density is not able to fulfil its key role of facilitating access, and leads to unmanageable traffic challenges.
Planned in advance and incremental in pace. Good density is the product of an overarching strategic vision about place making and specific/explicit project choices. Occurs at a rapid and unmanaged pace. Places and people become overwhelmed by rapid density which prevents assimilation and the investment needed to make density work.
Cohesive. Meets social needs as well as economic needs. The aim of good density is not just to create capital assets but to serve people who live and work in the area. The concentration of single income populations (whether high income or low income) or single ethnic groups. If density is combined with income or ethnic segregation, it can have the unintended effect of increasing “ghettoization” or inequality.
Liveable. Enhances quality of life and liveability for residents. Good density mitigates the liveability stresses caused by concentration and takes advantage of the opportunities it creates to enhance public services and quality of life. Unliveable. Without good public and private services density can become monolithic, scary, and imprisoning. Bad density can breed crime and insecurity, making dense spaces fearsome and unattractive.  
Spacious. Good density provides public and open spaces to decompress regardless of their income.   Absence of public and open space/connectivity. Without the space to decompress density can become oppressive and feel crowded.  
Has flexibility. Good densities can be increased of added to incrementally.   Lack of adaptability to changing economic and social circumstances. Dense buildings that are inflexible can prevent a whole district or neighbourhood from adapting.  
Has design built into it. High density does not always have to mean high rise, but should always mean high quality urban design.   The absence of good urban design. Density can be created in ways which are perceived to be ugly.  
Green. Has an environmental benefit and uses energy, waste, water and transport systems more efficiently. Encourages shared facilities and services.   Polluting. Traffic congestion and heat island effects stemming from poorly planned density can be detrimental to the environment. 
Appropriate. Minimises impact on existing settled neighbourhoods and places. Good density reflects and accentuates the local character of existing neighbourhoods. Planners take measures to accommodate and provide for existing residents.   Conspicuous and inappropriate to existing scale of buildings and character of city scape. The blend of buildings in the same neighbourhoods is key, each city or district has its own vernacular or narrative that dense buildings need to be in tune with.