Monday, February 9, 2015

Melbourne's "Hyper-Dense" Skyscrapers

The co-ordinator of Melbourne's City Plans and Policy, Leanne Hodyl, has pointed out in a Churchill Fellowship paper that Melbourne's high rise apartment towers are being built with far fewer controls than apply in other cities around the world.

Her report found that –

  1. High-rise apartment towers in Central Melbourne are being built at four times the maximum densities allowed in some of the world's most crowded cities, including Hong Kong, New York, and Tokyo.
  2. The skyscrapers are being built with little regard to the effect on residents within, the impact on the streets below or the value of neighbouring properties because of weak, ineffective or non-existent state government policies.
  3. In Melbourne, planning controls offer "cheap density" to developers, because they are able to ratchet up the number of apartments in a tower with only a very limited need to make any significant community contribution, but other cities studied are not choosing to develop in this way.
In Vancouver, for example, developers are allowed to cram high numbers of apartments into a project only if they agree to help fund construction of parks, plazas, childcare centres, cinemas, performing arts spaces and the like.

Ms Hodyl warns that continuing planning policies supporting high-density CBD growth and continued overseas investment could have dire and long-lasting impacts. "It will create a legacy of apartments that are of poor quality – homes that lack access to light, air and an outlook and that diminish the quality of the streets and parks below".

The report is backed by international planner Gary Lawrence, former planning director for the City of Seattle, now with engineers AECOM. Shown the density and height of buildings on the block, he said "This cluster of towers would never be built in New York", and “The idea of creating a liveable city at this density is crazy".

1 comment:

  1. Melbourne's high density growth is not about "planning" but allowing property developers almost a carte blanche to do what they like, in the light of deregulation and heavy property investments! The public are meant to foot the bill for all the costs! All the de-regulation and ad hoc approvals are actually facilitating population growth! Melbourne's living standards and costs of living are imploding under this free market economy model, and warped "planning"! We need a diverse economy, not one almost dependent on revenues from housing growth.