Liveability and sustainability will continue to be high priorities in new and future neighbourhoods.
Within the next decade, Australia’s population will reach just under 30 million, according to Euromonitor International. That’s an increase of about five million people between now and 2030.
Creating new communities for this diverse and rising population is a multi-layered challenge that is already being considered in the masterplans of major residential developers.
Neighbourhoods like Cloverton in Melbourne’s outer north are being designed as standalone regional centres.
Nerida Conisbee, realestate.com.au chief economist, says neighbourhoods are changing due to evolving family dynamics and increasing demand for communities that are walkable, have plenty of green space, good public transport links and infrastructure. Creating points of activity where residents can meet and mingle is also increasingly important.
“Developers are creating communities according to how families are changing,” says Conisbee.
“There’s a misconception that new neighbourhoods are aimed at first home buyers but they also attract families who might have older children who are staying at home or elderly parents planning on moving in. An increasing number of people are living on their own too, so communities will need to cater for people who don’t need as much space.”
As well as changing family dynamics, neighbourhoods will increasingly focus on liveability and sustainability.
“You can’t just build stacks of houses,” says Conisbee.
“People want a good retail precinct, they want good public transport because it’s increasingly hard to get around by car and people want access to good schools, community events and plenty of open spaces. The communities that will do best are those that are simply nice places to live in.”
Stockland is one of the country’s largest developers and, for some time, the business has been looking well into the future when master planning neighbourhoods. Robert Graham, Co-Head of Design at Stockland Residential, says the ‘Stockland Standard’ is all about defining what makes a great community, and it draws on extensive research and feedback from residents, including the Stockland Liveability Index.
He says a number of key principles or factors help to create a neighbourhood and these contribute to creating a sense of belonging, promoting walkability, encouraging people to connect and promote sustainability.
People want to feel part of something bigger than themselves and Stockland is focused on creating a sense of place.
“We create a distinct arrival, like an entry feature or a boulevard of trees or a community facility close to the entry of our communities, so there is a sense of arriving ‘home’,” says Robert. Belonging will also depend on neighbourhoods having community events and spaces like parks, cafes, community centres and retail areas where people can meet and mingle.
The emphasis on walkability is evident in this artist’s impression of the Cloverton community.
Walkable neighbourhoods are on the rise and this will be increasingly obvious in the future, says Robert.
“Communities will be designed to encourage people to walk more and to leave their car at home which has health and environmental benefits,” he says. “People will be able to walk to parks and shopping centres and streets will be landscaped and well signed to encourage people to walk more.”
With many new neighbourhoods being built on the fringes of metropolitan centres, seamless infrastructure will keep areas connected.
“We follow the 30-minute city principle which means people should have no more than a 30-minute commute to get to shops, schools, entertainment and work,” explains Robert. But neighbourhoods like Cloverton in Melbourne’s outer north are being designed as standalone regional centres with employment, health care, education and housing opportunities on the doorstep.
A sustainable home in a new masterplanned neighbourhood is often able to be more self-sufficient than an established home in an older suburb. Robert adds that new communities are embracing quality landscaping and houses that are connected to outdoor spaces, include durable interiors and that make the most of available space.
“Rising temperatures highlight the importance of a well-designed building with good insulation, shading to the sun and the right services to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter,” says Robert. “We also look at the orientation of our lots for the most effective sunlight exposure.”
This article was originally published as What will our neighbourhoods look like in the next decade?