I love Perth. That’s why after 10 years we decided to move here.
Since 2006, the city has changed a lot and it is still growing fast. Today, the debate is all about increasing density and how to do it.
Indeed, last week I have been really involved (and very frustrated) in the review of the Town of Cambridge 10 year Strategic Community Plan (SCP). Here you can see the proposal and give them your feedback. Please do it!
Here there are my “2 cents” about increasing density, given my European background:
– Increasing density is a good way to reduce urban sprawl, with the aim to reduce the use of land and private transportation commuting.
– This important change has to be done wisely, otherwise there is the risk to lose Perth unique characteristics. To my “European eyes”, the wonderful vegetation in Perth houses front and back gardens, the verge on the streets and the sense of community are elements that make Perth a special city!
– Increasing density along urban corridors (i.e. Cambridge Street) and around train stations is a good idea. Imagine to replace all the one storey commercial buildings along Cambridge Street with attractive new construction 5 storey buildings. You can have commercial on ground floor, offices on first floor as a noise buffer, and apartments on the top 3 levels. You will get street activation and young people would love living in an apartment close to cafes and public transport.
– The key is maximum height (5 storey max). 10 storey apartments building are a great investment for developers, but you will squeeze a lot of people in a small area with the result to lose the sense of community. Try to enter in an highrise apartment elevator in Milan: your neighbours already ate you because they had to wait for the elevator. No one will ask you: “How are you mate?!!?”. Density could be nice and cool at the beginning, but in the long term people become really intolerant!
– So, instead of proposing high rise apartment buildings around the train stations and allowing to build up to 4 storeys in residential suburbs, what about to consider how many low rise and low quality commercial buildings are already built in Perth and do a bit of math exercise? I’m pretty sure that “deconstructing*“ those existing buildings could solve most of the density problems, without damaging residential suburbs. At least, we should start from greyfield areas and see how it goes!
– The cherry on top, would be the construction of sustainable “zero-energy buildings“…
…I know, it seems that I am dreaming too much, but this is something that could really happen. But a strong commitment from Government and Local Council is required.
Looking forward to hearing your opinion about it!
*Deconstruction: Did you know that 50% of Perth waste is due to building demolitions? So, instead of just knocking houses down, what about to selective dismantle them with the purpose to re-use, repurpose and recycle construction materials?