Freo's View

BETTER URBAN INFILL VERY IMPORTANT

 

WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has released stage one of DESIGN WA, the guidelines to improve the quality of urban infill.

One of the most heard complaints in Fremantle and all over the suburbs is the mediocre design of most of the new residential apartment and other buildings in our character cities, but planning rules and even design advisory panels have had little impact on improving the architecture and streetscapes, this will hopefully now improve, depending on how strict and strong the new policy can be enforced by local councils, JDAP, SAT and the WAPC.

Rita Saffioti’s statements says:

Design WA includes clearly defined objectives about what future developments should consider, and includes it in the revised Residential Design Codes. Objectives include:

  • Appropriate scale to respect the local character and context;
  • Minimum apartment sizes based on floor space and number of rooms;
  • Safe, healthy environments with good natural light and ventilation;
  • Development that creates walkable neighbourhoods with high amenity;
  • Green space such as shady trees for outdoor spaces and mature tree retention; and
  • Development that enhances local neighbourhoods. 

The policy will come into affect soon, on May 24, 2019, so that is a good thing.

One thing I have been wondering about is why urban infill and medium/high density buildings are demanded in older suburbs by the State Government but not in brand-new suburbs which are developed near public transport corridors. That makes no sense to me.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S SMALL HOUSING ALTERNATIVE GETS STATE APPROVAL

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, city planning, housing, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 12, 2019

 

 

The City of Fremantle’s ground-breaking new approach to infill housing in suburban areas, called the ‘Freo Alternative – Big Thinking about Small Housing’, is now official following approval by the Minister for Planning.

In March last year the Fremantle Council voted to change the City’s Local Planning Scheme and adopt a new planning policy to stimulate development of a wider choice of housing in Fremantle’s suburban areas while maintaining what people value about their neighbourhoods.

The Freo Alternative project began in 2014 when the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and local architects were engaged to model different small housing types and test if they could work in a Fremantle environment.

That was followed in 2016 with a widespread community engagement campaign to establish what attributes the community most valued about their suburb and the benefits and challenges of small housing types.

The City’s community engagement efforts were recognised with the Planning Minister’s Award at the 2017 Planning Institute Australia WA Awards for Excellence.

Key provisions include:

Only applies to lots larger than 600 square metres
Dwellings to have a maximum floor area of 120 square metres
Maximum of three dwellings on lots of 750 square metres or less
Minimum of 30 square metres of outdoor living area per dwelling
Developments to have higher than standard energy efficiency ratings, and include solar panels, rainwater tanks, grey water systems or meet best practice accessibility standards
A minimum of 70 per cent of the entire development to be open space
At least one large tree to be retained or planted for each dwelling
A maximum of one parking bay per dwelling
Developments to be referred to the City’s Design Advisory Committee to consider design quality

The Freo Alternative will initially be applied to specific locations within the City of Fremantle – in sections of White Gum Valley, Hilton, O’Connor, Beaconsfield and Fremantle – that meet certain criteria regarding proximity to public transport, existing lot size and housing stock and heritage streetscapes.

The new provisions are subject to a five-year sunset clause.

Roel Loopers

CAN FREMANTLE INDUSTRIAL ARTS PRECINCT BECOME A REALITY?

 

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A community working group came together at Stackwood on Monday afternoon to discuss if the dream of a Knutsford Industrial Arts Precinct can become a reality or if  the challenges are too daunting.

Architects, artists, planners and three Fremantle Councillors attended the meeting, as did Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt and CUSP Professor Peter Newman, and chair of the City’s Design Advisory Panel Geoffrey London.

The Mayor said the Knutsford Street area was an amazing precinct with amazing opportunities, but the question was what we want to create here and how do you compliment ‘making things’ work with the rest of the community?

Participants said a Fremantle Industrial Arts Quarter was all about place, people, creativity, resilience, community, heritage and innovation. It would be funky, green, amazing, economic, vibrant and sustainable.

Geoffrey London said it would need water-sensitive outcomes for infill developments and asked how can we make it into a sustainable precinct. He suggested to narrow the very wide roads which would create lots of recreational opportunities on the verges.

Participants suggested that housing that related to the industrial area with distinctive architecture should be considered, as is storm/grey and black water management solutions. There should be housing typologies for sustainability and density.

Peter Newman said the examples shown from European developments looked all the same, and I agree that many of these sustainable developments look monotonous. It is probably a challenge to create innovative and attractive buildings when one needs density to make it sustainable and affordable, so that would be a major challenge.

One huge challenge is the soil contamination of the area and how to remedy that, and also how to combine noisy industrial art studios next to residential housing. It is also important to combine living and working environment, so that artists can live where they work.

But how do we do it? A planning framework would be required, and community input, and State Government changing some of the suffocating planning rules.

People want bigger visions, and we need new governance and investment structures for these innovative ideas. Who has got the power to change the dynamics and create a culture of innovation?

Many of the warehouses are probably not worth saving but we should retain a warehouse typology in the precinct, and we need to be clear about the minimum standards we want to achieve and develop visual guidelines. What is the Knutsford style?

And the last speaker of the workshop said it would take five people who are willing to make less money to want to make a difference, to get it started.

It is a very challenging project and it will need a Heart of Beaconsfield style of approach to start finding practical, innovative and creative solutions. There is no doubt in my mind that the area has huge potential to become something special!

Roel Loopers

 

 

 

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CITY PLANNING-MAKE YIMBYs OUT OF NIMBYs

 

Interesting to read that the City of Bayswater won the Planning Institute of Australia Planning Excellence Award 2018 for public engagement.

Bayswater invited 200 community groups and all residents to participate in a five-month community consultation process with focus groups, on-line participation, working groups, etc.

Well before planners and councillors put pen to paper about city planning projects the community was consulted in-depth about what type of buildings, what height and what set-backs they preferred in their suburbs.

There was also a conference in Melbourne a few weeks ago where planning experts expressed that councils should make YIMBYs out of NIMBYs by engaging much earlier with the public, so that community reaction would not be negative because people felt they are not being consulted.

It is one of the issues I have talked and written about, even in the days long back when I was the president of the Fremantle Society.

If council and developers engaged the community in the very early stages of development a lot of time and money could be saved, because it would be clear from the start what the community will accept and what development proposals they find unacceptable and will fight, all the way to SAT and the WAPC if that is required.

Fremantle Council and our developers should learn from Bayswater, as the development process can be sped up while creating better outcomes at the same time.

Well done City of Bayswater!

Roel Loopers

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LIV ART OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Posted in art, city of fremantle, property, real estate, residential, Uncategorized by freoview on November 5, 2018

 

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I had a whinge yesterday about the Piazza gates being closed at the LIV apartments in Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Quarry streets, but it appears that is only happening on weekends, as the gates were open today.

It finally gave me the opportunity of photographing the fantastic Rick Vermey artwork from different angles.

Roel Loopers

SHARING ART IS GENEROUS AND BEAUTIFUL

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, city planning, culture, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on October 8, 2018

 

 

I was surprised to get a few negative comments about the mural artwork on the corner of Stevens and Brennan streets in Fremantle. I am yet to hear strong community protest against visual pollution such as signs all over the place, so what irks people about art along our streets?

Some people believe that individual home owners have no right to impose their art and taste on the community, and they argue that if people want these murals they should do it on the inside of the wall, or inside their house, but not where it is visible to the general public. I disagree with that.

Since humans started building structures others have had that imposed on them, be that bad architecture, ridiculous colour schemes, or garden gnomes, lions, etc.

And where would we stop if we legislated against murals and other art on private properties?  Should we ban businesses as well from beautifying their walls, and is it acceptable to have public art inflicted on us? What about bus shelters and railway stations?

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but I believe that most people understand what crappy amateur art is, compared to good professional art, and the artwork in Brennan Street is the latter.

Roel Loopers

FREO SUSTAINABLE HOME EXPO

Posted in city of fremantle, home, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on September 16, 2018

 

 

The Sustainable Home Expo is still on this Sunday from 10am to 4pm in the Fremantle High Street Mall. Look for the former Mountain Design shop next to the travel agent, opposite Culley’s.

Roel Loopers

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FREO SUSTAINABLE HOUSE EXPO

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, home, housing, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on September 12, 2018

 

Fremantle will be showcasing the best of innovation and excellence in sustainable housing in a series of events being held in conjunction with Sustainable House Day this weekend.

“I’m very excited that sustainable apartments will be open for the first time in WA with the Liv, Evermore and SHAC developments open for viewing for Sustainable House Day on 16 September,” said event organiser Rachel Pemberton. 

Mayor Brad Pettitt will open his home which has recently undergone a sustainable makeover.

The Expo includes a series of talks, an exhibition and a drop-in session where people can talk to trades people and professional experts about progressing your own sustainable home project. Details of each event are below.

Be inspired and informed about the many ways you can incorporate sustainability into your home by getting along to the Freo Sustainable Home Expo in the High Street Mall. It is on Thursday and Friday from 12-4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

All events are free events are free, but registrations are essential. 

For more information visit sustainablehouseday.com/freo-expo/

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FREO LIV APARTMENTS NEARING COMPLETION

 

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All the scaffolding around the LIV apartment building in Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Quarry streets have now come down, so I had another good look at the massive development.

I still do not like the monotonous long facade along Queen Victoria Street and also don’t like the design along Quarry Street very much.

Strangely, for this self-proclaimed architecture expert, the very modern south side of Queen Victoria Street, which overlooks Fremantle Park, works the best. The big and  high windows create a lightness that I would have liked to see duplicated at Quarry Street.

The Rick Vermey public artwork in the piazza is a stunning feature that will attract many art lovers.

The Defence Housing LIV is due to open this month, so check the media, or better even Freo’s View, for when it will be open to the public to have a look at.

Roel Loopers

 

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FREMANTLE OVAL PRECINCT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY

 

Integrated into the heart of Fremantle, the vision for the Fremantle Oval Precinct is to re-establish and offer an active venue for sport, community, cultural and health pursuits.

Work on creating a concept for Fremantle Oval and the surrounding areas is underway with the City of Fremantle having established a Steering Group and a Reference Group.

The Steering Group consists of three directors of the City, the CEO of the South Metro Health Service and the Manager City Design and Projects of CoF.

The Reference Group is very large with three Elected Members,  the Area Manager Infrastructure of South Metro Health, a representative from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Culture, The CEOs of the South and East Fremantle football clubs, the President of the Fremantle District Cricket Club, the CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, a representative of the University of Notre Dame, and three managers of the City of Fremantle. WOW, they must have veeeery looooong meetings so that everyone can have their say!

And what is it all about?

1. CONNECT WITH THE SURROUNDS

The precinct is re-established in a way that integrates its internal uses with one another as well as reconnecting the precinct into the fabric of the city centre.

2. CONSOLIDATES A CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

Develop and enhance the precinct in a manner that consolidates and increases sporting activities on the Oval as the primary use and as a Centre of Excellence for football, while respecting the heritage of the precinct.

3. BRINGS ADDED PUBLIC LIFE

Augment sporting uses at the venue with entertainment, cultural events and community activities that bring added public access and life to the precinct.

4. ENABLES REGENERATION AND INTEGRATION

Consolidate health activities on the hospital site; enabling regeneration and improved integration with the surrounding city.

5. IMPROVES PUBLIC ACCESS

Develop key perimeter sites that improve public accessibility and increase pedestrian activity at ground level, throughout the year.

6. BALANCES TRANSPORT ACCESS

Enable a balanced portfolio of transport access arrangements to the precinct.

and there is more:

PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

Provide Open, Green Space for a Healthy City

Ensure the precinct provides open and green spaces for access by city workers, residents and visitors.

Reveal and Visually Connect the Precinct

Key views, vistas and links are established, protected and celebrated.

BUILT FORM

Optimise Activity through Appropriately Scaled Development

Ensure development opportunities optimise activities / density through appropriate height, mass and setbacks.

Respond to the Environment

Seek excellence in design and aesthetics; develop in a fashion that is responsive to local environmental conditions and sustainability principles.

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

Integrate into Fremantle’s Historic Urban Fabric

Where practical, extend the urban grid of the city into the precinct to improve legibility and urban integration, whilst acknowledging the historical informal and open nature of the precinct.

Celebrate Heritage and History

Understand, reveal, enhance and interpret the unique heritage attributes of the precinct and its context.

MOVEMENT AND TRANSPORT

Invite People In

Improve pedestrian access, permeability and sense of safety across the precinct and along adjoining streets.

Create Good Journeys

Enhance physical connections between the precinct, prison and town.

What appears to be missing are some creative people; architects, artists, placemakers, and also yet again no attempt to involve community groups from the beginning, so yet again they will have to be reactive and that often results in the groups being criticised for being negative.

When will they ever learn at local government that it is advantageous to involve members of the community from the very start because it means a lot less hassles when it comes to planning issues, etc.

The Fremantle Oval Precinct is a huge opportunity for the City of Fremantle and while they mention a time frame of 20-30 years for the development this one is more realistic and achievable than the South Quay development ideas.

Roel Loopers

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