For those interested in alternative living projects the Exploring Tiny Houses in Fremantle – and Different ways of Living Tiny is a good way to connect with like-minded people, network and share ideas.
Join Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton – back from her recent trip to Europe – plus other expert panelists for a discussion and presentation of examples by local people who are pioneering a new phase of modest housing in Fremantle.
Its on Thursday March 2nd at the Fremantle Library from 6pm-7:30pm.
In times of a lack of really affordable housing, homeless people, a fast ageing population, and many mature singles and students looking for small living options, local councils should do more to explore options and find ways of alternative living.
Fremantle resident Leanne McKenzie is passionate about Freo and alternative living and sees a need for innovative new ideas to deal with the fact that Fremantle is becoming more expensive and becoming less accessible to those on lower incomes.
Leanne believes that people who want to live in and be part of Fremantle should have diverse housing options available. She says “Fremantle is what it is because of passionate community minded people, so if this type of person wants to live here they should have access.“
She has years of experience with construction and renovations, and personal experience as owner builder renovating her Fremantle workers cottage on a very tight budget, and exactly how she needed it, but paying tribute to its humble origins.
Leanne says she took the decision to help the many others who struggle to get started extending and renovating their homes, and she has assembled an excellent team of designers, real estate professionals and trades to help guide others in taking the step.
“It is better reducing our ecological footprint, solar, thermal efficiencies etc. and upcycling our homes if practicable, rather than bowling over and starting from scratch.”
When Leanne McKenzie was told that her 90 sqm 3 bedroom home was too small for energy efficient hydronics systems, she decided to design one herself.
“I want to equip people with the information and processes so they can make informed designs about their renovations, incorporating new technology and not spend big dollars if they are not precisely sure what they want. We don’t need BIG to live happy, we need quality spaces that enhance our lives and connect us to our neighbourhoods.”
She is working to design a very special tiny house. “Mobility, ecological footprint, advanced technology is all part of our future for how we will live, but (re)connecting to our natural world, our neighbourhoods and communities is more important. This is what Fremantle does so well, and this should be accessible to all of us. “
For more detail contact Leanne.mckenzie@UrbanAesthetics.net.au
LiveLittle.com.au for more information on tiny house initiatives
Living Together Better is on tonight at 6.30 at the Fremantle Townhall, so everyone interested in alternative living/sharing projects should attend and share their opinion and ideas.
It is organised by Meriam Salama who is an architect and founder of a social enterprise that seeks to provide affordable housing through co-ownership. Her venture, The Henry Project, seeks to provide opportunities for multiple small households to share ownership of a single dwelling, living independently, but with some shared facilities. The basic premise is that living together equates to living better; living together provides better affordability, and better social connectedness.
Living Together Better will give people the space to meet others similarly interested in the idea, to start developing connections that may lead to this type of co-living.
The model Salama is offering can make affordable housing, with genuine social benefit, a viable alternative in the Fremantle area.
Meriam Salama is an architect and founder of a social enterprise that seeks to provide affordable housing through co-ownership. Her venture, The Henry Project, seeks to provide opportunities for multiple small households to share ownership of a single dwelling, living independently, but with some shared facilities. The basic premise is that living together equates to living better; living together provides better affordability, and better social connectedness.
The Henry Project event is held on 22nd November 2016, and co-hosted by the City of Fremantle, and Shelter WA. It will provide details of how co-ownership works and what these properties might look like.
More importantly, it will give people the space to meet others similarly interested in the idea, to start developing connections that may lead to this type of co-living.
There are more event details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/living-together-living-better-tickets-28594873035
Through The Henry Project, Meriam hopes to create opportunities to free people from the overwhelming burden of household debt, in order to live more fulfilling lives.
The model she is offering can make affordable housing, with genuine social benefit, a viable alternative in the Fremantle area.
W.A. Planning Minister Donna Faragher’s statement that higher density is needed near train stations is not up to the high standards we expect of a Minister. Making broad sweeping statements is plain wrong and surely the state government in collaboration with local councils needs to find the best suitable areas near public transport to increase density and infill, instead of demanding higher density near all train stations.
Older unique character suburbs like Fremantle, Claremont and Subiaco, etc. would be destroyed if we just planted highrise buildings close to the train stations, while in other newer suburbs high density might actually improve the amenity.
Governments have this strange attitude that change needs to happen everywhere instead of targeting suitable suburbs for higher density living. It would also help if the state actually supported local councils which want to increase infill by improving public transport corridors and not just along the railway line where most older suburbs are.
It was very interesting to read two articles in two newspapers on the weekend about high-density living. In the West Australian Kate Emery wrote that Western Australians don’t have the mentality for high-density housing and that the W.A. Planning Commission(WAPC) is proposing to State Government to change the R30 and R35 buildings codes because there has been a huge community backlash against inappropriate and out of character high buildings being detrimental to the overall community amenity. The WAPC also wants to increase the minimum parking requirements for new dwellings.
In the Subiaco Post renowned urban planner and architect Dr Linley Lutton writes under the headline “Frantic Density Push Is Alarming” that …”experts warnings from those outside the industry are rarely heeded.” And that the warning for a huge population growth in Perth is an unrealistic and alarmist over-estimation of future growth.
We have already witnessed that planning schemes by Local Governments are completely overridden by State Government agencies and are a real worry to especially older suburbs like Fremantle Subiaco, Cottesloe, etc.
Lutton writes “High-density European and Middle Eastern cities work because they provide a diversity in stimulation, convenience and interaction opportunities. The piazzas, squares, courtyards, parks, shops and streets of these cities are where people live and grow. Most high-density development in Perth offers none of these things.”
The article continues that Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that only 5-7% of people living near suburban train stations actually use the train to go to work. A 2010 study in Australia, Canada and the USA showed that the main users of public transport were those living in the low-density outer suburbs, not those who live in high-density areas with railway access.
Dr.Linley Lutton also warns for health impact of high-density living along main streets near traffic noise, especially on the older population, because poor air-quality and noise trigger mental and physical health problems.
Lutton suggests that self-sufficient suburbs with a variety of housing densities and with ample employment opportunities, and less need to commute far and wide to work, would be a better way to plan for the future, and I could not agree more. In an ideal world no one living in Rockingham should have to commute to Joondalup for work.
Fremantle Council also needs to heed these warning and realise one cannot change a decades-old entrenched culture and lifestyle overnight. Change happens slowly and only when the community embraces it and takes ownership of it. Collaboration and integration is what is needed, not a narrow focus anti-car mentality.
New developments like Kim Beazley and Stevens Reserve offer very little in lifestyle enhancement, with no green lingering nodes between buildings and only a strip of green on the periphery. As Lutton points out, the piazzas, parks, town squares, etc. are needed to create a lifestyle people embrace. Much better and more creative and innovative city planning is required in Fremantle and the ambiance of the CBD needs to be improved with modern seats, shade structures, green areas, more trees, play nodes for children and better and creative lighting.
Higher density living will only be embraced by the community if it supports and enhances the Freo lifestyle and when it allows for diversity.
Two articles in the West Australian today caught my interest. The first one is about a study by Edith Cowan University on green public space, something we in Fremantle often talk about but where we don’t seem to be making any inroads.
The ECU study found that people who live in suburbs with good green spaces feel healthier than those who don’t have a park in the vicinity, but also that the quality of the space is more important than the proximity to where people live. Pioneer Park in Freo is a good example of a boring unattractive open green space that the City has not invested much money in, hence not many people use it. It’s the chicken and the egg thing.
The second article is about supplying spaces for “active-ageing” with an estimation that 5,7 million Australians will be over the age of 65 by 2030.
One of the requirements according to the article is less emphasis on rush-hour public transport but a steady supply of busses, trains, lightrail, so seniors can use them during the day and seven days a week.
There is also the need for new model ag-integrated buildings, and of course public open space to relax and meet people is essential to that as well.
The first sitting of the all new City of Fremantle Special Projects Committee was a rather strange one that made me wonder why it was public. This was more a brain-storming session between councillors, officers and CODA consultant Kieran Wong, with the Director of Planning and Development Services Phil St John sometimes rallying the subdued group like an AFL footy coach, to stay focused and come up with big picture thinking, concepts and vision. “We want to put together a vision of your ideas”
I understand council wants to be seen to be transparent and inclusive but this committee could well be held in-camera rather than public and only three people plus me were in the gallery with not even the local newspapers bothering to turn up.
The other strange thing is that the committee was there to talk about the Activity Centre Vision Plan,but although it is mentioned in the agenda that the consultant for Visioning 2029 had documented the workshops, no report was tabled or attached and the lengthy and costly community process was not mentioned. That to me is putting the cart before the horse. Why start another visioning project when we have not even evaluated the one we did last year?
Should two-way traffic everywhere, or in the West End, be considered and what would that mean? First of all it would mean a substantial loss of parking bays to the detriment of the businesses in the area, as Councillor Simon Naber rightly pointed out.
There was also the suggestion to make future new parking only available on the periphery and discourage private vehicle traffic through the CBD because we only want people driving in the CBD who have that as their destination. That however would not work by forcing people to park on the periphery who have the CBD as their shopping/business/entertainment destination. That needs a lot of rethinking.
The reactivation of the Passenger Terminal came up, but with Fremantle Ports having recently spend millions on refurbishing it, I doubt it will become a public space any time soon.
There is hope for Arthur Head with Chair Rachel Pemberton mentioning the “anticipated boardwalk” there. Bring it on asap!
The strangely low-energy meeting talked about connectivity, sightlines, connection through the convict establishment, and having more events at Fremantle Oval to take the stress off the heavily-used Esplanade. The latter is a good idea and the oval might even be suitable as an occasional outdoor live music area for Sunset Events when they take over the Artillery Drill Hall from the Fly by Night.
Share, or naked, streets were obviously also on the agenda as that is one of the buzzwords around the western world and placemaking fraternity, and I am all for it as long as it is done sensibly and not to the detriment of local businesses.
Of course more and better bicycle links were discussed, and preferred transit corridors, as was a lightrail loop, a fast transit bus to the airport, and CAT bus connection from North to East Freo.
What did not come up and should be part of any strategic plan for Fremante is to find alternative off-street parking for Notre Dame University students, because the West End is a no go zone to try to find parking for shoppers and visitors when the students are attending campus. Dare I suggest the corner of Cliff and High for a low-rise creative UNDA carpark, without upsetting all my heritage friends.
Councillor Bill Massie asked why the City spend so much money on bike lanes when only a very small, less than five percent, of the population uses bikes. I think that went straight one ear in one ear out with some of the green pipe dreamers on council, who refuse to be realistic that cars will remain the preferred form of transport for the majority of the population for a very long time.
Lowering vehicle speed is obviously essential if the shared streets idea takes off.
While Bill Massie said we need as many vehicles in the city as possible because businesses are bleeding, Robert Fittock said that business who relied on vehicles should change strategy. I don’t believe the debate should be about vehicles or not vehicles, but how Fremantle can make it fast and easy for people to come to the inner city by all forms of transport and accommodate parking in a walking distance from the shops.
Did I get inspired last eve and did I have the wow feeling of having listened to great ideas, outstanding concepts and something new and fresh? Not at all. There was a lack of creative, out of the box thinking, trodding over old ground and rehashing old placemaking sessions. I had a real sense of deja vu, of having been there before, a council ground hog day. I think the Director would have been pretty disappointed with the lack of substance he will now have to work with.