Inner city developments the homes of the future

PERTH will continue to move up and out as it expands to cope with a growing population in the next 50 years.

In the Australian Social Trends report recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the population of WA is predicted to grow to just more than three million, a 63.2 per cent increase on the 1999 population.

By the year 2021, 73.6 per cent of the State’s population will live in Perth.

And, while the Perth metropolitan area will continue to stretch to the north, south and east, a greater proportion of people will look to inner city developments.

Real Estate Institute of WA public affairs director Lino Iacomella said that, traditionally, Perth’s population growth over-whelmingly had been accommo-dated by the development of more suburbs.

But this had not been the case in recent times, he said.

“In the past decade only about half of the population has been accommodated by the growth of the outer suburbs and the rest have looked to areas where there has been a lot of urban infill projects, such as East Perth or Subiaco,” Mr Iacomella said.

Property Council of WA policy and communications officer Geoff Cooper said there was a growing trend toward inner city apartment living.

“The quarter acre blocks are declining in their roles and, as developers expand outward, the environmental and infrastructure costs increase,” he said.

“It is more financially viable to build intensive developments, which we have seen in areas such as Subiaco and East Perth, and I believe will continue in areas like Victoria Park, Leederville and Mount Lawley.”

Urban Development Institute of Australian (WA) executive director Judy Carr said urban infill would continue for several decades.

“At the moment we are seeing urban infill developments in older suburbs, but the cycle will continue and we will eventually see urban infill projects in suburbs established in the 1980s and 1990s,” she said.

“And the apartment develop-ments will not just be inner city Perth, they will be inner city Joondalup and eventually inner city Mandurah.”

But the developments may not necessarily be big apartment towers, such as those seen on St George’s Terrace.

Rather, they would be a mix of townhouses, units and apartments, such as the award-winning St James Estate in Northbridge.

However, land available for development in the inner suburbs eventually would run out, Mr Iacomella said.

“And this could put pressure on State and local governments to change residential zonings to allow older houses to be knocked down to make way for higher density developments.”

But family houses in the suburbs would never become obsolete and Perth would continue to grow, while places such as Mandurah, Jarrahdale and Yanchep, now seen as outer fringe suburbs or entirely different towns, would become part of the mainstream metropolitan area, he said.

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