Changing attitudes to enable greyfield precinct redevelopment

Research showed that one-quarter of Sydney respondents were open to consolidating property for sale with neighbours. However, consolidated lot sales are not part of the business model of most real estate agencies, local government, or property developers. It’s an area where the property development industry lacks capacity and is still failing to respond to the medium-density urban infill challenge. And state governments are reluctant to extend mid-rise medium-density zones in the big cities beyond designated activity centres and transport corridors.

Supply of well-designed medium-density housing needs to be greatly increased in the well-located, established, low-density, middle-ring suburbs. And it needs to happen at a precinct scale of redevelopment beyond that of knock-down-rebuild. This would enable more innovative, sustainable and aesthetically attractive development.

The Victorian government’s latest metro strategy introduced a new policy direction to “provide support and guidance for greyfield areas to deliver more housing choice and diversity”. That doesn’t alter many residents of these areas remaining resistant to change.

State and local governments need to introduce new statutory planning instruments and guidelines to enable greyfield precinct redevelopment. In an urban planning system that remains strongly top-down, local government serves as the main interface with local communities and property developers due to its role in planning approvals. Often this is reflected in local government’s gaming of the state government’s residential zoning schemes to ensure housing is “locked up” in minimal change zones. This effectively indicates that more intensive infill housing should happen “somewhere else” (the NIMBY syndrome).

This text was originally published on The Conversation. The original article is listed in the Associated Resources.

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