Talking about higher density is a bit of a no-no in Fremantle, where many in the community believe that high-density automatically means highrise, but we know from European countries that that does not have to be the case and 5-8 storey buildings will do the job and look a whole lot better than massive 20+ storey residential towers that create social issues as well as visual pollution.
Strangely when we talk higher density in Perth we talk about young people and families moving into inner city apartments, but rarely do we hear there is a need for seniors to move there as well and that needs to be addressed by developers and local and state governments.
Research in the USA has found that once seniors who live in the suburbs loose their license and right to drive a car, the public transport systems fail them and older people often become hermits without a social life, because they have to depend on friends and family to drive them around, so there is a need for them to relocate closer to the inner city.
The problem though is that inner city rents are quite a bit higher than those in the burbs, so how can seniors afford to live there? Whilst I absolutely understand the need for privacy I believe we need to find a new and cheaper way of accommodating seniors and other on low incomes, be that with one bedroom flats or bedsitters and shared use of kitchen(s), laundry and communal dining rooms, and maybe even gophers.
With a fast ageing population in Australia we need to find creative ways in dealing with what could become a serious issue in the near future. That might well mean that we need to accept that we don’t all need to have our own washing machine and stuff we only use once every ten days or so, and that sharing is cheaper and reduces the need for individual laundries, dining areas and kitchens in each and every apartment. I know I would be a huge compromise and change in lifestyle and thinking, and I am not even sure I would like it for myself, but it could be a way of finding solutions to deal better with an ageing population.