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Old November 25th, 2017, 03:15 PM   #21
Jack Daniel
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It's amazing seeing our smaller cities like Darwin and Canberra embracing apartments. Nimby's always go on about how horrible living in a tiny dog box would be.

I think they believe that Melbourne and Sydney are building apartments because they are overpopulated. As a result people are forced to live in flats. Future ghettos.

Smaller cities embracing apartments proves that people are choosing to live in apartments.
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Old November 27th, 2017, 07:03 AM   #22
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Gungahlin

On to Gungahlin, the second youngest of Canberra's districts.

Sitting about 10km directly north of Civic, Gungahlin has been the focus of most of Canberra's suburban growth since the mid 1990s.

While Gungahlin was part of the original 'Y' plan, it was first of Canberra's districts to be developed after self-government, and its development followed reforms to the management of the public service. As such, no major federal Government employer was moved to the district to provide an employment core. It is therefore is much more of a dormitory suburb than the intended 'stand-alone' nature of the older districts.

So what makes Gungahlin interesting?

Well, three things. Firstly, there are some interesting buildings going up (pics below)

Secondly, Gungahlin is the first of Canberra's districts to have greenfield suburbs on the fringe of the city developed with predominantly medium and high-density dwellings. I'll talk more about this approach in the Molonglo post (the newest of Canberras districts).

Finally, the most interesting thing about Gungahlin is that it is the northern terminus of Canberra's U/C light rail line. And, as far as I'm aware, its the only place in Australia where a LR line is being built past large areas of greenfield residential development.

The incorporation of higher density around the light rail route is interesting to observe, as is the graduation of densities from high density mixed use .

Exhibit 1:
Zoning map for the Gungahlin end of the LR route, with the rail line being built down the central road (Flemington Road) into the centre of Gungahlin (dark blue).


You can see that most of the blocks facing the line are mixed use (blue) or high density resi (dark red). The zoning then graduates down through lower densities until reaching low density resi (tan) well away from transport. Car traffic is also taken away from the route along the distributor road (Horse Park)

So what does this look like when built?



Ignoring the fact that greenfield high density is extremely ugly until the vegetation grows, its interesting to see how high density developments can be clustered around upcoming transport projects.

Anyway, development renders:

Infinity: resi, 426 ap, U/C (topped out). You can see infinity U/C in the background of the above pic, wrapped in red scaffolding.



Uptown: resi, 128 apartments, U/C (level 4)



Ruby: resi, 170 apartments, on sale



Lumi: resi, 145 apartments, on sale



There is a lot on the horizon for Gungahlin as well. There are around another 500-600 odd apartments approved or proposed in taller towers for the small section where Infinity is being built. The rest of Gungahlin has an roughly 8 level height limit, but there are large areas of undeveloped land surrounding the town centre and light rail terminus where high density residential and mixed use will be built.
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Old November 27th, 2017, 12:40 PM   #23
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Awesome work, Canberra is developing very differently to other Aussie cities, makes it very interesting! Looks like it could end up very dense in the future, similar to European cities as others have mentioned.
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Old November 28th, 2017, 08:51 AM   #24
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Yes, Canberra is more like European cities, density, so use of cars is not required...you can walk or ride a bike short distances to everywhere...
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Old November 29th, 2017, 12:33 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbaron_012 View Post
Yes, Canberra is more like European cities, density, so use of cars is not required...you can walk or ride a bike short distances to everywhere...
In the future, yes.

Now? Not so much...
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Old November 29th, 2017, 01:40 AM   #26
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Molonglo and Canberra's dirty secret

Final district!

Molonglo isn't interesting from a talls perspective as there's an 8 level height limit across the whole area. However, it is interesting from an urban development perspective as it is a perfect demonstration of the sort of greenfield density Canberra is adding.

As I've already set out in previous posts, Canberra's first greenfield suburbs followed the traditional Australian style of detached housing and low population densities. And, like in other cities, over time average block sizes became smaller and the houses bigger.

However, in the mid to late 2000s the Government decided to shift the emphasis of new greenfield suburbs to a mixed density model, with a portion of each suburb dedicated to townhouses and apartments. At first this started small, with a few townhouse and apartment blocks in each suburb, but eventually the mix shifted to predominantly higher densities. So much so, that the first three suburbs of the Molonglo district (Wright, Coombs and Denman) are about 75 per cent (by dwelling numbers) medium-high density.

Below is an example of some of the apartments that have been built in the last few years.

The above sites were (literally) empty when I moved to Canberra. Before the 2003 bushfires they were pine plantation.

And these pictures (sorry they're a bit small) show the overall look. Houses away from the main spine (mostly now built), townhouses closer in, then apartments (not yet built) against the main transport route.


The main route through the centre of the suburb (John Gorton Drive) is due to have a light rail route in the future.

The below map shows the planning framework for Molonglo. At this stage only the suburbs of Wright and Coombs have been built (with about 80 per cent of blocks now constructed), and Denman Prospect is U/C.

The intended density of the district is clear (dark red and blue sections mean high density, light red means townhouses, tan means low density). It's not well shown on this map, but the north east parts of the district (with the provisional pink/blue circles showing location of density hubs) are likely to be just as high density as the rest of the district.


The idea is for a light rail route to run a wide loop through the whole area along John Gorton Drive (white dots), providing a link to the city and Belconnen at the top, and to Woden (via Weston) at the bottom.

As a result of the planned density, Molonglo will probably have more residents than Weston and Woden combined, despite covering only about a third of the area. The original masterplan flagged 55,000 residents, but given the proposed densities, a final tally of 80,000-100,000 is more likely.

So what does this have to do with a 'dirty secret'?

Unfortunately, all of this density isn't really a reflection of the desire to make Canberra some sort of urban showcase. Mainly its just about money.

The ACT Government is actually one of the country's largest land developers, and the only developer that gets to set its own rules and regulations.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the ACT Government owns almost all of the land in the ACT (the Federal Government retains the rest). When the ACT was established, the Government bought up all the land in the area and legislated that the land could never be privately owned, with the intention that revenue from land leasing would fund the development of Canberra.

When you 'buy' land here, you actually lease it for 99 years. While this makes little difference for the average homeowner (the ACT will probably just roll over the lease when it runs out), it does mean that:

1) the owner of all of the undeveloped land in the Territory is the Government,

2) the Government runs the land development agency (LDA), and

3) the same Government earns a hell of a lot of its revenue from LDA land sales. Roughly 10-15 per cent of its annual budget, depending on which measure you use. Or around $400-500 million per year.

What it really means in practice is that the Government has a pretty strong incentive to limit land sales to maximise the prices, and they get accused of doing so regularly. What actual impact this has had on prices is hard to measure, as theres little evidence its driven up prices a lot. The high prices over the border in NSW (where blocks are only slightly cheaper) indicates that prices are not that out of alignment with private outcomes.

Three 'positive' aspects of the Government running land development are that:

1) It gets to decide what gets built on each block. Therefore, it can easily determine density outcomes because it can lock in the buyer (the building developer) to a certain type and scale of development.

2) Because the use of ACT land is set in the lease (separate from the zoning), if a private leaseholder wants to change the use of their block to increase density (e.g. a homeowner in Dickson in an R3 zone wants to replace their house with a small townhouse block) then the ACT can charge them to vary the lease. Through this route the Government can value capture in a way other States can't. There is some controversy about the chilling effect lease variation charges might have on development, but personally I think these could be addressed by making the charge only payable when the developer sells (its currently up-front)

3) As the Government owns land bordering transport routes, they directly benefit financially from the uplift in values from PT projects. Some estimates put the eventual additional land sale revenue to the Government from the Civic-Gungahlin light rail route at $200-$300 million, covering almost half the capital cost of the project.

Molonglo projects:

These are mostly small and dull, but I've included just as an illustration of whats happening in the area. These developments (except Denman shops) are all being built on the vacant blocks against the main road in the aerial picture above.

Curzon: Resi, 78 apartments (plus townhouse component), U/C


Odin: resi, 96 apartments (plus townhouse component), U/C


Luna: resi, 48 apartments (plus townhouses) U/C


Denman Prospect shops: mixed use (retail centre plus apartments)
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Old November 29th, 2017, 02:17 AM   #27
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Top marks, Andy.
A splendid effort and much appreciated by me as it pulls together so much information. I've never seen such a cohesive compilation of all the parts that are Canberra.
Thank you.

???

Last edited by Brizer; November 29th, 2017 at 02:28 AM. Reason: Mangled grammar!! And me an English major...tsk tsk tsk
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Old November 29th, 2017, 02:19 AM   #28
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Anyone got population projections for Canberra?
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Old November 29th, 2017, 03:14 AM   #29
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The future of Canberra

This will be my final post in the series! After this, I'll just provide updates and links whenever something big or interesting happens. Also happy to answer any questions about Canberra.

Finn asked where Canberra's urban development is going next, so I'll do a quick rundown on where things are at, and what the medium term plans are.

Where things are at: The 'Y' plan.

As mentioned earlier, the current layout of Canberra was set using the 'Y' plan. So what was the 'Y' Plan?


As you can see, the 60's era plan set out a (car dominated) future for Canberra where the city would be split into a number of smaller, self contained cities. The idea being that most residents would live, work, shop etc in their own area.

This plan didn't play out in practice. The main problem with the 'cities within cities' idea is that people change jobs more often than they change house, and modern families have multiple people working. This is particularly true in Canberra, where participation rates for Women are far higher than the national average, and where transfers between Departments is relatively easy.

As a result, rather than staying within their district, most households have at least one, and often two people working somewhere else in the city. There's also a strong preference for businesses and government agencies to locate centrally so that staff aren't jumping in taxis all the time to go to cross-town meetings.

Further, the 'Y' plan suburbs are now almost complete (most of the 'purple areas above are now environmentally protected), and the ACT Government is not going to want to lose all of that land sale revenue by encouraging development across the border in NSW so need to find alternatives. And even if the ACT was minded to push development across the border, the NSW councils (except Qbyn) are mostly pushing back against Canberra suburban development, aiming to keep their character. Hence the 'y' plan suburbs at Sutton and Gooromon (both in NSW) are not going to happen.

So what are the alternatives?

Well, future urban development in greater Canberra (technically Canberra-Queanbeyan) will come from four sources. The first three will contribute roughly equal proportions, while the fourth (in NSW) a bit less.

1) Further greenfield suburban developments on the fringe of the city, including the finalisation of the 'Y' plan suburbs of Belconnen and Gungahlin, and new areas like Molonglo.

2) Traditional infill through demolition and redevelopment of existing private properties, like the renewal occurring in the Inner North.

3) 'Greenfield infill' - Construction on Government-owned and previously undeveloped land within the existing urban area. For example the development of existing carparks in the town centres, the city to the lake project, Yarralumla brickworks etc.

4) Development of further suburbs in NSW. The main area of growth will be around Queanbeyan in NSW (which is actually closer to central Canberra than many ACT suburbs, and is a defacto district), but a substantial amount of growth will also occur in Murrumbateman and Yass to the north west (Yass council is expecting an additional 20,000-30,000 residents by 2050), Bungendore to the east, and rural residential around towns like Sutton, Gundaroo, Bywong etc.

I'll list some of the major projects below. All up, I expect that there will be at least 150,000 dwellings (possibly more) covered. That should cover Canberra's growth for another 30-40 years.

Future greenfield suburbs:

Gungahlin: There are still 4-5 suburbs in Gungahlin for completion. Between the new suburbs and completion of existing suburbs, there should be something like an additional 15,000-20,000 dwellings. Only 'Kenny' is yet to start development.


Molonglo: The plans for stages 2 and 3 are still not concrete, but I'd expect a total of 30,000-40,000 dwellings all up, of which maybe 5,000-6,000 (guess) are complete or U/C. Coombs, Wright (stage 1) are nearly complete, Denmand (part of stage 2) is U/C. Whitlam (first part of stage 3 north of the river) was only recently named.


Ginninderry: The final part of Belconnen (not including the Ginninderra Field Station or Lawson). This will be 11,500 dwellings, 5000 will be across the border in NSW. The first blocks have sold.


Ginninderra Field Station: 700 hectare area owned by the CSIRO and controlled by the federal government through the NCA. Given the size you'd expect 10,000+ dwellings. The ACT Government doesn't want this area developed, but has no control over the land. The feds and the territory are playing hardball on infrastructure and taxes so no final plans reached.


Future 'greenfield infill':

As previously mentioned, Canberra has a lot of government owned areas within the existing city that were either deliberately held for future development, or have been under-utilised to date (open carparks). I've listed some of the major ones below:

City to the Lake: plan to build over existing carparks and on-ramps between Civic and the Lake. 10,000 plus dwellings all up. They're still working on options to make the Parkes Ave cover/bridge viable.


Kingston Foreshore/Eastlake/Dairy Road: Eventually the Kingston Foreshore precinct is expected to extend all the way through to Fyshwick. There's about 1,000 more dwellings in Kingston Foreshore to go, while there's a lot more than that in future stages. The Eastlake section is on hold because of contamination issues, but eventually the value of the land will make it too hard to resist.


Lawson: new suburb close to the Belconnen centre. Eventually will have about 3,000 apartments and townhouses.



Urban renewal projects:

By far the main game in urban renewal is the Light Rail project. Eventually the whole distance between Civic and Dickson will be renewed. Map and image below shows what's up for redevelopment.


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Old December 7th, 2017, 01:24 PM   #30
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Does Canberra function as a single unified city? Or are the parts in NSW independent?

In 100 years time the majority of Canberra's population might actually live in NSW. LOL.

As a result NSW will end up with Australia's capital city. One more thing to boast about.
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Old December 8th, 2017, 12:46 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Daniel View Post
Does Canberra function as a single unified city? Or are the parts in NSW independent?

In 100 years time the majority of Canberra's population might actually live in NSW. LOL.

As a result NSW will end up with Australia's capital city. One more thing to boast about.
Only the urban areas inside the ACT are officially Canberra, in the same way that only the parts of the Washington metro area that are in the District of Columbia are officially Washington (though DC accounts for only a little over 10% of the metro area population).

Currently, the urban area in NSW that could be considered part of the Canberra metro area is administered by the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (pop around 60k) and is independent in the same way as any other part of NSW could be considered independent. For the proposed Ginninderry cross-border urban development to the north-west, the NSW part is in the Yass Valley Council (although there are suggestions the border could be extended outwards as the only access will be through the ACT which poses problems for servicing including law enforcement).

Even if the NSW part of the Canberra metro area grows to be far bigger than the population of the ACT, NSW won't 'end up with Australia's capital city', any more than you could say that Virginia has ended up with the US's capital city.
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Old December 8th, 2017, 09:04 PM   #32
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Another potential area to be developed centres around Beard, a new industrial suburb to the east of Fyshwick and along Canberra Ave, which serves as the primary road link between Canberra and Queanbeyan. The land around Beard has scope for (I believe) an additional 5,000 residents, abutting Oaks Estate (pop. approx. 250), one of Canberra’s oldest suburbs, and Queanbeyan.

The net effect will be to create a contiguous urban environment between Canberra and her cross-border neighbour.

Further south and to the east of the Monaro Highway, similar things are in store where urban development in NSW will abut the border at the industrial suburb of Hume, just inside the ACT.
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Old December 10th, 2017, 06:41 AM   #33
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Are there any serious proposals to change the ACT/NSW border so the the new Canberra suburbs stay in the ACT?

I find it ridiculous that the Yass Shire Council will be responsible for town planning and a whole lot of other development issues in Canberra suburbia.

I know this comes into the "hard basket", changing state boundaries, but some local and federal politicians have just got to bite the bullet and do the hard yards to convince public opinion about the benefits.

(And while I am on this rant......Tweed Heads should become part of Queensland and the border moved to rural areas south, never to be developped into suburbia.
And Broken Hill and Silverton and Tibooburra should all be in South Australia, they are closer to Adelaide than Sydney, rely heavily on South Australian services etc)
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Old December 12th, 2017, 04:18 AM   #34
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will be interesting if the proposal for the fully enclosed stadium in the heart of Civic goes ahead.
Would be good for Raiders and Brumbies fans I guess. Having been to Bruce Stadium in winter it is absolutely freezing with little protection from the elements!
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Old December 12th, 2017, 09:58 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbaron_012 View Post
Yes, Canberra is more like European cities, density, so use of cars is not required...you can walk or ride a bike short distances to everywhere...


No it doesn’t, clearly you’ve never lived in Canberra. My car was far more critical to me when I lived in Canberra compared to Sydney these days.

Busses for decades were the only PT Canberra had, and it was a shit service when I lived there. Catching a bus just wasn’t an option. Light Rail will make a world of difference, and fortunately the layout of Canberra is conducive to a high capacity PT network, but as a city it’s playing catch up in this area.
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Old December 13th, 2017, 01:57 AM   #36
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Canberra has a long way to catch up, but the framework is there.

Walking and cycling are actually more common in Canberra than in most places according to the Census, and that's not even correcting for the fact that the Census date is in the middle of August, and in 2016 it was cold and there was rain.
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Old December 13th, 2017, 01:07 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TOCC View Post
No it doesnÂ’t, clearly youÂ’ve never lived in Canberra. My car was far more critical to me when I lived in Canberra compared to Sydney these days.

Busses for decades were the only PT Canberra had, and it was a shit service when I lived there. Catching a bus just wasnÂ’t an option. Light Rail will make a world of difference, and fortunately the layout of Canberra is conducive to a high capacity PT network, but as a city itÂ’s playing catch up in this area.
Depends on where you live. Where I base myself in the inner south we have 11 buses an hour on weekdays off peak (more during peak hours) into the city from a stop less than 5 minutes walk away. Weekend services are still poor with different routes and timetables. However, that's supposed to change in the middle of next year, ahead of the start of light rail services, with the introduction of five new rapid services (on top of the existing four) that will operate 7 days a week. The downside is that some users will have to walk further to use these as the strategy is for faster, more direct and more frequent rapid services supplemented with low-frequency local services.

Overall, the weekday services in this locality in Canberra are better than those available where I spend a lot of time in Sydney's inner west.
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