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Policy

Australians love tiny houses, so why aren't more of us living in them?

Housing affordability is a perennial problem in Australia and has worsened significantly over the past three decades. Multiple reasons exist for the the lack of affordable housing. On the demand side these include population growth and increased migration to urban areas, easily accessible housing finance, tax incentives and a “strong cultural preference for owner-occupied detached houses”. On the supply side, affordability problems are exacerbated by inflexible and slow responses to the need for new housing stock, lack of infrastructure and generally inefficient planning processes and development assessment by local governments.

Does Melbourne's CBD need density controls?

Planners and urban designers have mostly sought to increase densities in Australia’s cities. Society’s low-density love affair has brought us unending sprawl, with all its social, environmental and economic ills. Attempts to rein in our metropolises’ spreading girth and create more sustainable, liveable and economically-efficient cities have focused on strategic increases in density to support public transport use and reach viability thresholds...

All being equal podcast: affordable housing in Melbourne

Housing in Australian cities – is it affordable? Treasury secretary John Fraser believes that Sydney and some parts of Melbourne are unequivocally in a housing bubble. Both cities are among the most expensive in the world. The Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey disagrees, saying that with the access to credit that is afforded by a good job housing is still easily affordable. For low income earners though that might not be reassuring. The following...

The Napthine Government's planning tax legacy

From 1 July 2015 a new levy under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) (the Act) must be paid to the State Revenue Office in respect of all planning permit applications for developments in metropolitan Melbourne with an estimated development cost of over $1,000,000. The levy is $1.30 for every $1,000 of the estimated cost of the development. This payment is in addition to statutory planning application fees and due to the formula used to...

The Planning Minister Richard Wynne on Better Apartments

Walking around some of Melbourne’s best-designed apartments recently, I was struck by how much design could make a small space feel like a home. I was on the Robin Boyd Foundation’s exemplary apartment tour, showing off the best in Melbourne apartments. In Victoria, there are some exceptional examples of how clever spaces, light and ventilation can add to liveability, and how apartments built some decades ago still hold their own today. Victoria...

Better Apartments? Says who?

The recent release of the State Government's discussion paper has provoked a strong response from the industry and here on Urban Melbourne. Rather than focusing on a general overview of the Better Apartments discussion paper and the questions it raises, I have instead decided to focus on one particular aspect of the debate: apartment sizes. There would appear to be a number of negative connotations generally associated with smaller apartments...

Making the City of Melbourne a better place for people

City of Melbourne have initiated a third installment of the Places for People study. The study seeks resident, worker, student and visitor feedback on a variety of issues and experiences that relate to everyday life in the heart of Melbourne. According to the study website, the key aim of Places for People is to gain a greater understanding of how people are using the city. The feedback collected will in turn allow City of Melbourne to work...
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Melbourne Urban Design Meetup #1: City of Melbourne's Urban Forest Strategy

Last week saw the first in hopefully many more Melbourne Urban Design Meetups (MUDM). The focus of the night was a presentation by City of Melbourne's Yvonne Lynch who leads the Urban Ecology and Urban Forest Team at the City of Melbourne. The team focus is ecosystem led adaptation for climate resilience and citizen engagement through transparency and participation. She has developed and led some of the most progressive climate change policies...

We subsidise road and rail commuters - why not bikes too?

Australian governments heavily subsidise car, bus and train commuting, but not cycling. Yet a new survey shows many workers would consider riding to work if they got paid for it, and most would even support it if they didn’t participate, because of the wider benefits for cutting road congestion. The list of existing transport subsidies is long. Fuel tax receipts have fallen so low that they now fail to pay for road-building programs as they once did. Company car concessions remain one of the largest distortions in the Australian tax code and a severe hit to the federal budget.

State Government reneges on new Residential Zone in Bayside

In June the Minister for Planning approved approximately 82 per cent of Bayside’s residential land for inclusion within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (the most restrictive zone). In doing so the Minister requested that Council apply the Residential Growth Zone, which allows development up to 4 storeys to 3 per cent of its residential land. Reluctantly Council proposed draft Amendment C125 allocating 3 per cent of residential land around...

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Development & Planning

Monday, April 24, 2017 - 06:00
City of Monash planners have recommended that Singapore-backed Frasers Property Australia along with project partner Commercial & Industrial Property (CIP) be allowed to proceed with a multi-staged commercial development that would become one of suburban Melbourne's largest.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 00:00
Richard Tomlinson , University of Melbourne In the first article reviewing The Conversation’s many articles on housing issues, the commentary about fiscal and supply-side issues was consistent. The same is not true for affordable housing due to the diversity of affordability issues.

Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 07:00
Once again Melbourne has turned it on for the spectacular cultural juggernaut that is White Night. A crowd of around 600,000 took part in the all night festival of projections, performances, artworks and installations. Stealing the show again this year was the extraordinary projections upon the Royal Exhibition Building.

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Transport & Design

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 07:00
35 Spring Street has been anointed as one of Melbourne's elite high density residential projects. Developer Cbus Property is rightfully making note of the project's completion, with Planning Minister Richard Wynne recently officially opening the $350 million development. The project has drawn inspiration from equivalent park-front projects in New York, and holds views over Treasury Gardens that can never be built out.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 13:00
Victoria Walks, a walking promotion charity supported by VicHeath, is leading a crowdsourcing initiative that is supported by the State Government and 14 councils. The campaign aims to collect and analyse opinions on walking right across the Melbourne metropolitan area. The authorities are asking people to indicate their walking safety concerns through an interactive online map on CrowdSpot's platform.