Debating Perth’s Density Challenge
October 30, 2015 3 Comments
These ideas were widely covered by the media.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt wants to stop Perth’s urban sprawl by defining its boundary and refusing development beyond it.
Dr Pettitt said Perth should “bite the bullet” and decide how big the metropolitan area could become.
“What are going to be the levers to stop us continuing to sprawl unless we just bite the bullet and say let’s define where is it going to stop,” he told a Perth business function yesterday.
“Until we know and are clear that land on the fringes is finite, we will just keep using it because we have a very big State and we can just keep smearing ourselves across it.
“We have a lot of land already set aside, we’ve got land already to take us to 2050 — my view is that’s it, no more.”
Dr Pettitt argued an urban boundary would support higher land prices, prevent the creation of unsustainable communities and promote infill development, which is about three times as expensive as building on the fringes.
“Knowing there’s a finite level to which we can sprawl gets us to take seriously planning around density,” he said.
“If we don’t do anything differently, we’ll go all the way from Myalup up to Lancelin…because there’s nothing stopping us.”
Planning Department director-general Gail McGowan said Perth had some natural boundaries, including the Darling Scarp and the ocean, but there were problems with imposing a “hard and fast boundary”.
“The work the WA Planning Commission has done is very much predicated on a compact, connected city and not having this continued sprawl because we simply can’t sustain that in terms of servicing,” she said.
There were enough lots to sustain the population into the future without extensive sprawl and she supported initiatives to encourage higher density in the right places.
A compact city made better use of infrastructure but a strict boundary might not be easy to impose because there could be sensible reasons to develop certain places. At present, the metropolitan area went about 150km.
“We think there are better ways to build a city and encourage the sort of urban places that people will want to live in,” Ms McGowan said.