There is an overall increase in higher-density living in Australia but, according to a report on Crickey, building regulations don’t keep up with the modern trend and hence there are more complaints about neighbours smoking on balconies, noise from amplified sound, traffic, pets, etc.
Neighbourly behaviour in apartment buildings is often less than satisfactory and many show little consideration for their neighbours. This is partly due to the fact that apartments are often not occupied by the owners and tenants are less inclined to bother about good neighbourly relationships.
An interesting environmental aspect is that people who live in apartments often install airconditioners instead of taking advantage of natural ventilation to keep street noise and smells out.
Previous reports have warned that high-density living can have a negative impact on mental health, especially in older people who feel more isolated and threatened by the behaviour of inconsiderate neighbours.
We in Fremantle need to be aware of all good and bad aspects of higher-density living and provide a lot of urban green public spaces for people to relax and get away from neighbours. I lived in a townhouse in Swanbourne street for ten years and had a continuous battle with neighbours about noise. That was not because they were inconsiderate but because the units had been badly built with little noise protection. Listening to people doing the dishes, watching TV, using the toilets and even just having conversations is not my cup of tea. Listening to someone else’s music through the walls and floors makes one feel invaded and not in control of one’s privacy. All that should be addressed in building codes where noise reduction should play a much bigger part.
Perth, at 22.8 percent of multi-unit dwellings in the total dwelling stock, is below the Australian average of 24.8 percent and Sydney is leading with 40.7 percent.