Modern life to create new look for Perth
New migrants and Generation Y's are changing the face of Perth by forcing authorities to provide different forms of housing closer to the city centre and key suburban centres, according to WA Planning Commission head Eric Lumsden.
In an exclusive interview with The Weekend West, Mr Lumsden said large sections of the community, including younger generations and new Australians, were no longer looking for the “four by two house on a big block”.
“The young want to be time rich — they don’t want to waste their time travelling, ” Mr Lumsden said.
“They want to be close to their work, close to their friends and close to their parents.
“At the same time, they are not that interested in maintaining a garden or maintaining a big house.
“So, in essence, they are looking for smaller homes closer to employment hubs like the CBD.
“And like migrants who were used to living in medium-density housing, young people are generally happy to live in apartments and multiunit developments.”
Perth’s sprawl is considered among the biggest in the world.
As reported by The Weekend West in June, the latest population audit by US website Demographia ranked Perth as the world’s 59th biggest city in geographic size.
Of all the non-US cities in the top 60, Perth had the lowest population of 1.67 million people.
Mr Lumsden, who has been involved in Perth city planning since 1972, said the sprawl could not continue and was unsustainable.
He said all the “easy land” had been developed in Perth.
Housing the extra million people expected to live in Perth within 10 years would be done by “consolidation”, particularly by increasing density on key transport corridors.
“This is not something that has taken us by surprise — it is consistent with the type of detailed planning we have been doing for many years but especially the last five years, ” Mr Lumsden said.
“Our planning will form the framework for an across-government approach to our growing diversified population to 2031 and beyond.
“And a central part of this planning will be the need for an improved integrated public transport system — one that is more accessible to more people.
“A large part of our planning since the 1950s has been centred on the car, but that can’t go on for ever — we don’t have the space and the community cannot avoid the economic and social costs.
“By increasing our housing density along transport corridors, it makes public transport a viable option for many people and improves the efficiency of this expensive infrastructure.”
Mr Lumsden stressed that increasing housing density did not necessarily mean high-rise.
PHOTO: Eric Lumsden
© The West Australian
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