July 21st, 2009
A HUGE cultural shift will be required before Aussie families embrace high rises in outer suburban areas, according to leading demographer Bernard Salt.
Mr Salt said yesterday he was unaware of any cities in Australia with high-rise residential buildings away from the coastline in otherwise traditional suburbia.
Gold Coast City Council plans to allow multi-storey dwellings, potentially up to 15 storeys, in the east Coomera area in order to cram in more people as the population grows.
The council expects the city's population to hit 900,000 by 2030, with the northern suburbs bearing the load.
The plan for east Coomera would centre around a town centre with high rises and multi-storeys around the railway station, before moving out to townhouses and small houses.
Mr Salt said using suburban high rises was a 'brave new world' and families would have to be offered serious value before they agreed to move in.
However, he agreed that increasing the density of communities with building up to six storeys along the railway line was one of the best ways to accommodate more people and reduce road congestion.
Mr Salt said in most major cities there were medium-density apartment complexes built close to railway stations and he applauded the council's vision for a similar design at Coomera.
He questioned the possibility of high rises of up to 15 storeys, which Cr Donna Gates said would be allowed.
Coomera MP Michael Crandon said he expected that high rises would eventually reach the suburbs but he thought they would be used as commercial buildings.
Robert O'Doherty runs the local Coomera River Bakery and said high rises would bring in more customers.
Apart from his bakery, a pharmacy, medical centre, real estates and various hotels and eateries there was not much commercial infrastructure on the east side of the M1, he said.