Freo's View

MORE DENSITY DOES NOT MEAN HIGH RISE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on September 13, 2012

An article in the property section of the West Australian yesterday caught my attention and is worth analysing for Fremantle. Professor Rob Adams, who is the director of city design in Melbourne and responsible for the ‘livability changes’ in the city said that Melbourne was not a happy city in the past and that it took the team work of councillors, and governments to make the necessary changes. Melbourne is now rated the most livable city for the second year in a row. Perth came in ninth after Sydney and Adelaide.

The one thing that stood out for me is that Professor Adams said Melbourne could double its population and that that would only take 7.5 percent of the metropolitan area with building no higher than eight stories. He said that you don’t need high rise to get more density, but that we need to build in areas close to infrastructure. I hope Fremantle council takes note of this!

Adams also told the audience at the Committee for Perth event that Melbourne planted lots of trees, wherever there was a space for them, because it is the cheapest way to change the feel of the street. What they also did was making shopping more fun by opening up laneways and arcades and let people have them at very low rent for commercial use.

Although it was controversial at the time Melbourne closed off a section of Swanston Street for cars and now 65,000 people walk through there daily. A lesson Fremantle should learn for the Cappuccino Strip! While the traders there don’t want the closure of South Terrace most residents I talk to would be delighted to make it into a pedestrian and bicycle mall only, even when we compromised and only applied that on weekends. A one way, one lane future for the Cappuccino Strip would also be preferable to the status quo, where weekends become hoon paradise as young men show off their shiny thumping loud cars.

Another lesson Fremantle should learn from Melbourne is that it adopted a uniform paving of pleasant blue stone, which is easy to repair and a good walking surface. They also designed their own outdoor furniture.

Roel Loopers

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