WGV takes out Australian Award for Urban Design

WGV at White Gum Valley by CODA Studio, Urbis, Landcorp and Josh Byrne and Associates.

SHAC at WGV,  White Gum Valley by CODA Studio, Urbis, Landcorp and Josh Byrne and Associates. Image: Landcorp

Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts – Small Scale

Jury citation:
White Gum Valley aims to realise a diverse, highly sustainable infill development that reflects and enhances its suburban surrounds. The highly collaborative process embraced multiple entities and disciplines and has initiated a new nationally significant model for higher density infill development. The project incorporates and celebrates sustainability across ten ‘one planet living’ principles, and ties this to the creation of a thriving, resilient and diverse community. WGV at White Gum Valley is a project of genuine innovation and leadership.

About the entry:
As an “Innovation through Demonstration” project, WGV demonstrates the economic and social benefits of sustainable development and creates a blueprint for the planning and development of small infill sites within an established suburb. The success of WGV is testament to the collaborative and forward-thinking approach of its multi-disciplinary design team.

In 2008, a two-hectare site approximately three kilometres from the centre of Fremantle became available to be developed into housing. Landcorp identified the unique qualities of the location and the opportunity for an innovative approach to urban and built form.

The project has ambitiously applied a multi-faceted approach to sustainability, with affordable housing typologies and various environmental initiatives woven into the design. A relationship was entered into with Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy (CUSP) that has seen the entire development set up as a ‘living laboratory’ to monitor energy use, resident behaviour, take up of energy initiatives and the implementation of the Design Guidelines.

Location: Perth, WA

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

4 Responses to WGV takes out Australian Award for Urban Design

  1. dianaryan1 says:

    Brad, could you specify the level of income needed to service a mortgagee in this development pls? All parts of it. I’m sure you must have an idea of the minimum income needed to be able to do so, and therefore enjoy its owner/occupier benefits, so that you keep aware of whether what is being built in Fremantle is designed to offer equitably priced purchase points. If you don’t have an idea of the minimum amount of income required to buy in to this particular development, could you explain why? Please note, I am only interested in the level of income needed to purchase any property within the development, not rent. Thanks.

    • Diana
      SHAC is the only explicitly affordable housing product that I am aware of at WGV. This is rental however but with the renters having a say in design of development etc which is quite unique.

      The rest of the development is market rate starting around low to mid $300 thousands.

      On this basis to avoid mortgage stress (30% of income on mortgage) a single person would need to earn around $70k by my rough estimate.

      Does that sound about right to you?


  2. c8 says:

    Might be mid $300 thousands for a one bedroom apartment, but two-bed townhouses are advertised at 650,000. Costs are likely to be substantially more for a family looking to move there: $400,000 for land plus at least a conservative $300,000 for building costs. This prices being part of this development as more than buying other established houses in this area, on bigger blocks of land. It also greatly increases the sort of income a family would need to be on to avoid mortgage stress.

    Unfortunately this development might be branded green but does not leave much room for green spaces. House blocks are small, narrow and effectively only offer green views to one orientation. The central spaces are filled with paved laneways or other developments, so for most single blocks the only attractive orientation will be to the streetfront. Block sizes leave little room for gardens even with a modest building footprint and the requirement for two storey buildings increases overshadowing. Small blocks are ok if there are other communal spaces but these are planned on the other side of the apartment blocks/taller buildings and a drainage basin. I would dearly love to support the principles of the development, but the number of lots, lot size and the way it has been be spatially planned make it unattractive.

    I look forward to the greater interaction between developers and potential residents offered by the baugruppen model.

    • Cate
      Thanks for your thoughts. I think your critique is a bit harsh and in reality this is going to be an impressive development.
      On the green space question it has created new green spaces in the old sump and in the cnetre of the development area which are really well done. Hence the award. I’d also add that the large Boo Park is across the road.
      cheers, Brad

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