Australian Cities Growing Up

April 17th, 2015

The Metropolitan Strategy Melbourne 2030 has been set up to manage this growth, with planning principles designed to reduce the proportion of development on Melbourne's fringe and concentrate development on designated activity centres. The City of Sydney's Sustainable Sydney 2030 document has similar goals, aiming to ensure "every resident will be within walking distance to most local services including fresh food, childcare, health services and leisure, social, learning and cultural infrastructure." Many of Sydney's newest residents will be born in the inner-city, with residents aged 0-17 expected to increase by a massive 80.6 percent by 2036. ; As a result of these changing demographics, there will be particular focus on the city's transportation and educational infrastructure.

While we're still a long way from the urban density of New York or many European cities, Australia seems to be getting more comfortable with the ideals and practicalities of inner-city living. We are starting to grow up as well as out, with new high-rise developments bringing a vibrant mix of apartments, retail and eateries to our cities. Melbourne has extended out to the Docklands, with new supermarkets in central Sydney highlighting the changing demographics of the area. Small convenience stores can already be found in and around new apartment buildings, with large supermarket chains competing for the right to serve Australia's new urban communities.

According to Leif Olson from CBRE retail services, new projects in Sydney and Melbourne have struck a successful balance between lifestyle and business: ; "World Square [in Sydney] is the perfect example of cohesion between office (90,000 square metres), residential (770 apartments), a hotel of 420 rooms and retail (16,000 sqm). It is the No. 1 shopping centre in the country, per square metre per annum of turnover, with the No. 1 Coles in the country per square metre of turnover, and Neil Perry's burger project has been an outstanding success."

The new look Sydney will be clustered into distinct areas, with separate residential and retail zones connected through new transportation infrastructure. According to Michael Cook, group executive and head of capital transactions, "Every year the city gets better. The City of Sydney Council is supporting the move and is making sure all aspects of the changes are being done in a sustainable way that will endure for many generations." While the great Aussie dream of house ownership and a big backyard will not go away any time soon, Australia's cities are changing before our very eyes.