Infill Developments Strive To Curb Melbourne Urban Sprawl

In an effort to combat urban sprawl across Melbourne, Cedar Woods Properties claims to have honed its acquisition process in recent years to focus on urban infill sites, rejecting the traditional developer instinct to develop vacant land in an outer suburb or build a high-rise tower in the CBD.

It is Cedar Woods’ intention to not only capitalise on the existing amenities of established suburbs, but to create a heightened sense of community through a mixture of low and medium density housing.

“By integrating a range of housing typologies and open spaces, urban infill projects work to create a sense of place and foster community relationships,” Cedar Woods State Manager Patrick Archer said.

The housing and amenities provided in each project are tailored to suit the needs of residents and the suburb’s existing culture, with factors such as demographics, transport connections, proximity to public open space and nearby employment opportunities all major considerations.

“We’re actually achieving about five times the density of the average suburb, but the difference is it’s not in a static high rise apartment,” Mr Archer said.

“Usually it’s big houses or tiny apartments, but we’ve really focused on a model that includes a range of typologies, achieving densities of between 40 and 50 dwellings a hectare.”

At Jackson Green in Clayton South for example, a mix of detached, semi-attached, attached and townhouses are complemented by 170 apartments ranging from 50 square metre one-bedrooms to four-bedroom family town homes of up to 225 square metres.

At Banbury Village in West Footscray, the suburb’s unique cultural context, and high proportion of young professional have influenced the project design, leading to the creation of 18 different housing typologies.

“We’ve got larger houses, smaller houses, townhouses, big corner homes, and everything in between that actually starts to cater to different people in the market and makes it much richer,” DKO Architecture Principal Koos De Keijzer said.

“That’s the nice thing about having these communities. Where you do get 18 different types of dwellings, grandma and grandpa can live in on one street, and the grand kids can live on the other.”

The potential of quality small-scale infill housing in the middle suburbs is outlined in the 2013 report Infill Design Opportunities by Lee-Anne Khor et al.

“By improving the design and performance of infill dwellings, a range of individual and collective benefits can be achieved at the scale of the dwelling, site and neighbourhood.

“If small infill housing could be improved, the market’s propensity for this scale and type of project offers a potential vehicle for increasing the diversity and sustainability of future dwelling provision.”

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