Cracks show in high-rise thinking

This is the headline of an article written by Tim Lloyd in Saturday’s advertiser. Below is the transcript of his article.

 

THE stresses in the 30-
year plan to bring highrise
to the city’s inner
ring are already showing
through, with the approval of
an $80 million development
on Unley Rd.
The plan was to develop city
gateways and better define the
parklands by bringing taller
buildings with higher living
densities into the inner suburbs.
These new buildings with a
graduated set of heights up to
14 storeys were devised for the
inner city councils by the State
Government. In fact, the Planning
Minister John Rau sidestepped
the council planning
process by introducing sweeping
powers to override council
planning according to the scale
of the investments.

If we imagine a city of Adelaide
with a high-density living
core stretching out into the
more extensive leafy green
suburban housing, the Parkland
ring roads would progressively
become lined with
taller apartment buildings
along the line of the Sky Apartments
on Greenhill Rd. The radiating
arterial roads would
gradually attract taller apartment
blocks, leaving their suburban
hinterlands and heritage
streetscapes largely untouched.
These ideas have run up
against the reality of developers

preferences. Why pay top
dollar for land at the Parklands
ringside when land becomes
available a few kilometres down
the road at relatively low prices
in a prestigious suburb next to a
fashion zone and handy to a
major shopping centre?
Mr Rau’s plans appear to be
lacking the finesse to deal with
the developers’ need for the
best available profit.
The likely outcome is that
there will be many more of
these mid-rise, monolithic
apartment blocks popping up
well away from the envisaged
“gateway” developments facing
the Parklands. Instead our
30-year plan for Adelaide will
see the sweet spots in our inner
suburbs filled with mediumrise
apartments where local
councils have previously only
allowed low-rise apartments in
keeping with the suburban
character.

Even a cursory inspection
of the original floor plans for
the Unley Rd development
shows the great majority of
these apartments will be
cramped by Adelaide standards,
suggesting they are less
about high-density living and
more about high-density international
students.
It suggests an enclave rather
than a more vibrant local
community. And a local traffic
and parking nightmare, not to

mention the neighbours who
will now be overlooked and
crowded out.

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