Fishermans Bend: will apartment towers kill it?

Apologies to Fry, but we just couldn't resist taking a bite at this topic. If you didn't read The Age on Saturday (5/10/13), you should peruse this piece titled 'Apartment towers are killing the world's most livable city.' Call it part sensationalism, part truth, part fluff... but mostly ridiculous!

Upon reading the piece, imagine now the words "apartment towers" in the headline were actually sprawl-belt development or urban fringe development. Sorry, I forgot demonising the suburban establishment is taboo in certain circles and apartment living is the devil incarnate. Quite seriously, apartment living can have its negative aspects, some of which have been touched on within The Age Associate Editor's piece, yet what viable alternative is there? Have the masses live on Melbourne's fringes with its intrinsic lack of urban amenity, public transport, long distance to jobs, inadequate services and mounting social issues? It's all good and well to pot apartment living as part of an ongoing agenda but in doing so provide a viable, efficient and responsible alternative otherwise, well, its just a load of repetitive crap!

Notwithstanding the claim "world's most liveable city" is a load of gumpf bestowed upon us by an offshore economics magazine and perpetuated by local mainstream media and the odd politician looking for a soundbite, it was a curious headline & opinion piece overall given the historic move to have the City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and Spring Street cooperate, and (what we can only imagine) sing kumbaya, then produce and release the Fishermans Bend draft vision (reported by The Age as well). A draft vision with apartment living at its heart.

The two previously mentioned councils are the stakeholders feeling the most pressure regarding Fishermans Bend where the Capital City Zone overlay sees planning applications automatically lodged at 1 Spring Street rather than Council House 2 or the St. Kilda Town Hall. For the best part of a decade the near bipolar stance in terms of ethos and development of these two councils and Spring Street has been a major source of friction and until now their discontent and bickering has been played out through the media.

These three entities, for all intents and purposes, were happy to put their logos on the same Fishermans Bend Draft vision document where the so-called liveable city-killing apartment towers are very much a part of the draft vision within the Urban Renewal Area - surely all three can't be wrong?

Logos from the first page of the Fishermans Bend Draft Vision document
Proposed general height limits throughout Fishermans Bend
Proposed general height limits throughout Fishermans Bend

So the question must be asked, is Fishermans Bend now dead in the water as according to The Age's piece where 8, 18 and "Towers above mid-rise podiums" are the type of development which are killing our so-called liveable city?

As for the assertion of placing a moratorium on all current planning applications, well yes lets put the brakes on a positive, jobs producing aspect of the local economy which by the by is now a driver of foreign investment into Melbourne. Ultimately opinion pieces are just that, but thankfully The Age also ran a piece really worth reading on the same day - the topic of developer resistance to mandating design standards for new development - an issue far more relevant, which strikes at the crux of apartment living and what should be the housing medium's continual positive progression.

For those seeking a far more learned response to The Age piece, we highly recommend reading Alan Davies The Urbanist blog entry from yesterday.


Development & Planning

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 00:00
City of Port Phillip will this week indicate that it has sufficient reason to object to two pending projects in Port Melbourne. 17 Rocklea Drive and 365-391 Plummer Street are both within the Wirraway Precinct of Fishermans Bend, and both projects are under the authority of the Minister for Planning.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 00:00
Spring Street has released details of a large shutdown of the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston lines which will allow workers to complete major upgrades to the rail infrastructure. The work is required to allow for the introduction of the new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) and will involve upgrading power & catenary, signalling and communications equipment in the Dandenong (Pakenham/Cranbourne) corridor.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.