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Design Perth vision saves billions

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 3 Jun 2016

The Western Australian government would save $94.5million for every 1000 infill lots developed compared to stand alone greenfield sites according to landmark report.


In conjunction with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, Property Council of Australia, CODA Architecture and Urban Design, and Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP), the #designperth study builds on the findings from Transforming Perth, released in 2013.


In what is believed to be a Perth first, the study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the true cost to government and individual households of residential development in infill areas compared with greenfield sites.  


         The cost to government to provide Infrastructure like roads, water, communications, power, health, education and emergency services in greenfield sites[i] is  $150,390 per lot, compared with $55,830 in infill sites.


         This translates to an extra cost to the community of $94.5 million for every 1,000 lots developed in in greenfield sites


         Increasing Perth’s current infill target from 47% to 60% (the original target under the previous Network City plan) would save $23 billion to 2050


         This would pay for the entire Perth Light Rail network as originally proposed 12 times over or 9 new hospitals the size of Fiona Stanley. 


         As well each new greenfields infrastructure costs Perth households an average of $6,600 per year in extra travel costs and costs the broader economy $1400 per lot per year in environmental, health and productivity costs. 


The report also shows a vision of what is possible, by bringing together some of Perth’s best architects and urban designers in a ‘design charette’ to problem solve some of Perth’s most challenging potential infill sites.


One of the report’s authors, Professor Peter Newman AOfrom CUSP at Curtin University said the report underlined why Perth needed to increase its proportion of infill if it is to remain a competitive, liveable and sustainable city. 


’Every state government in Australia wants more urban regeneration including WA but we are lacking ways to make it happen better. This report sets out some great examples and some obvious policy support that is needed,” he said.


Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale said it made economic and environmental sense for Perth to be planned in a new way that embraced a connected and sustainable vision.


“This report imagines a city where we leave our cars behind, travel on public transport to the doctor or the shops and results in reduced air pollution, which is better for our health and the environment,” he said.


“It’s a holistic approach that saves millions of tax payer’s dollars and mitigates 4.4 tonnes of carbon pollution per house per year. What a wonderful vision every Australian city could embrace.”


WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said the plan showed the State Government could save as much as $23 billion by 2050 by lifting our density targets from 47 per cent to 60 per cent.


“Our cities are getting bigger and denser and we need to ensure we have a plan that provides health care, transport and more affordable housing for our most vulnerable people that is close by and cheap to get to,” she said.


“This report also showcases some inspiring work from Perth’s best urban designers and architects. They showed that designing new developments as “precincts” creates 352 per cent more local jobs and commercial floor space, 187 per cent more public open space, 739 per cent increase in public transport use, and significantly more housing diversity. 


“Households also benefit from 60 per cent less energy and 70 per cent less water in well-designed medium density housing, saving them up to $1200 in power and water bills a year, which significantly improves the quality of life for low income earners.


“We also need to make sure communities are consulted from the beginning about the urban planning processes, and get to have a genuine say about their aspirations and visions for their own suburb, rather than at the end, which is what we’re seeing now. 


“Closing the inequality gap starts with providing connected, liveable, sustainable communities, with through world class infrastructure and design that improves our environment, cost of living, and our health.”


CODA Architecture and Urban Design Director, Kieran Wong said clever design was important not only for the occupants or users, but for the wider community. 


“This report outlines a vision for Perth that utilises design thinking and expertise to leverage greater outcomes for communities on key infill sites across the metropolitan region,” he said.


“#designperth imagines a more vibrant people oriented delivery of density, not simply measured in number of people per hectare, but in quality and access to social and public amenity and infrastructure.

The Property Council’s Lino Iacomella  said the property industry was committed to growing strong and prosperous communities in Perth.

“This requires creative and diverse design principles for buildings and places. #designperth is a powerful demonstration that in a rapidly expanding city like Perth we can achieve more growth through greater housing diversity, including infill development,” he said.


Media contacts:

Senator for WA Rachel Siewert: Nadine Walker 0449189195

Senator Richard Di Natale: Jennifer Faerber 0438376 082

The Property Council: Sadie Davidson 0467977427

CODA Architecture: Kieran Wong 0412 978 971

Professor Peter Newman: 0407 935 133  



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