Between 2011 and 2016, Australia gained 1,037 new citizens per day.
State governments are working to overcome challenges in planning to accommodate population growth in a way that limits urban sprawl and maintains the liveability of our major cities. Higher density development is key in providing housing close to urban amenities and employment opportunities.
Approximately 26.9% of Australian dwellings are medium or high density, compared to 33% in Greater Capital Cities.
Many of us grew up with a spare room or two, a large backyard and enough space for a swing, trampoline and swimming pool to boot. With the steep population growth we’re already experiencing and will continue to experience over the coming decades, the question is raised around how urban density can be increased in a way that is sustainable, palatable and healthy.
Malcolm Middleton, Queensland Government Architect, believes good design is essential to quality of life in high density living.
“It’s about shaping our urban legacy. We need to make decisions now about creating smarter, greener, cooler urban places,” he told the Urban Developer.
“There needs to be an emphasis on quality public realm and better connectivity, particularly active transport connections. Also, the urban heat island impact in a period of clearly rising temperatures is a very important issue to address.”
The population in South East Queensland alone is forecast to grow by 2 million people over the next two decades with many making the move to Brisbane.
Mr Middleton says embedding a design-thinking approach takes patience and persuasion, as many decision-makers don’t consider design until later in the project cycle. He takes it upon himself to coordinate with other state and local government agencies and share his messages around good design policy.
“The Office of the Queensland Government Architect sits within the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, which provides us with strong connections to state and local government agencies across the state. I actively engage with my personal network and I make the most of other industry and community channels to share messages about good design policy and aspirations.”
Mr Middleton is the Queensland Government Architect and Chair of the Queensland Urban Design and Places Panel where he advocates for excellent outcomes in the built environment.
He has worked on a wide range of projects including the Roma Street Parklands, which he calls a “great example of integrating landscape design with major urban renewal”.
Hear from Malcolm Middleton directly at the 4th Delivering Housing Density & Diversity conference, being held from the 26 – 27 May 2020 in Sydney. Mr Middleton will shed light on state guidelines and approaches to housing density & diversity, as well as exploring how agencies can promote design excellence to boost quality in developments.
The conference will bring together local councils, state planning authorities, architects and key players in the property world to address housing development for a rapidly growing population. Attendees will gain strategies to future-proof high density living with sustainable design, ideas to create more affordable housing and initiatives to align growth unique local strategic visions.