Brisbane Eyes Towers on Stilts in Planning Shake-Up


Towers on stilts will punctuate Brisbane’s skyline in the future as the Brisbane City Council prepares to shake-up planning provisions in a new masterplan.

The council has released an interim Brisbane City Centre Masterplan to reinvigorate the city’s “engine room” and kickstart its economy with a more walkable and welcoming CBD.

Speaking at a Property Council launch event, Brisbane’s deputy mayor Krista Adams outlined 15 key priorities for the next 18 months that she described as “low-hanging fruit”.

Adams also foreshadowed changes to building provisions in the 2032 masterplan, shifting away from podiums and setbacks to towers on stilts to provide more ground-level activation, public realm, and to emulate Melbourne’s laneways.

“The revised city centre masterplan is a short-term strategy … it will help bring the CBD back to where it used to be pre-Covid,” Adams said.

“We have gone about 32 per cent down in the Queen Street Mall on pedestrians at the moment, and that has been pretty consistent for almost a year.

“The health of the city is really contingent on having people in it.”

▲ CBD streets could be temporarily closed for events as part of the Brisbane City Centre Interim Masterplan.
▲ CBD streets could be temporarily closed for events as part of the Brisbane City Centre Interim Masterplan.

Adams said the plan would focus on “beefing up” the events calendar and investigating a “streets for people” concept where CBD streets could be temporarily closed for an event. She also expressed her support for a more vibrant night-time economy where you could “buy shoes at midnight”.

Adams said the 2032 City Centre Master Plan would build on the 2014 Buildings That Breathe planning provisions to incorporate further green initiatives including green steel, green concrete and more outdoor spaces.

“There have been 18 new towers in the CBD since 2014 … and there continues to be strong approvals for construction in the CBD,” she said.

“We’re not prepared to sit back and wait for our city to recover and that’s why we are stepping in with this roadmap to reignite the CBD as a vibrant destination where everybody wants to be.”

The City Centre Master Plan Stage 1 details 15 priority actions across five themes—welcoming, connected, animated, beautiful and unlocking potential—to be delivered over the next 18 months.

These concepts include a year-round program of activities and events, activating planned Olympic and Paralympic “live sites” to show major sport matches and cultural events, enhanced public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and facilitating sub-tropical design of buildings, streets and public spaces to make the city centre greener and cooler.

Property Council Queensland executive director Jen Williams said interim measures such as pop-up events and empty shopfront activations would help to revitalise Brisbane’s CBD.

“As it is not yet clear which of the social trends emerging over the past 18 months will be structural and which are temporary, an interim action plan is needed to help build momentum while life returns to normal,” she said.

“The property council looks forward to working in partnership with Brisbane City Council on the delivery of stage 1 of the masterplan, and contributing to the development of a new masterplan over the coming years.”

Next year the Brisbane City Council will call for ideas to feed into the Brisbane City Centre Masterplan 2032, which will be released in 2023.

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