Architectural design has a long history in Australia, and it’s no surprise that the field is on the rise.
But one expert says this trend is threatening to “open the floodgates” for a number of things that are in a dangerous state right now.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show the number of dwellings built in Australia in 2017 fell by nearly a quarter to just 2.4 million.
“The rise of new forms of building and the rise of modern, complex structures, particularly houses, is the major reason for the decline in the number, but it’s also the reason for a lot of the growth,” Dr David Haggerty, a landscape architecture professor at the University of Western Sydney, told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Sunrise programme.
“Landscape architecture is an extension of the landscape, and so if we do not manage the landscape as a whole, then the entire landscape is going to be left behind.”
Dr Haggertson said this was happening in Australia at a time when “we have a number people who are looking to build homes on the backs of their trees”.
“The land is becoming very fragmented,” he said.
“There’s lots of different uses for it, and there’s a whole range of things going on with the land.”
He said many people who wanted to build on a plot of land would often go for a smaller piece of land in the local park or on a farm.
“That piece of the land, it’s a very small piece of a bigger parcel of land, but the potential for profit is huge, and then the market will come to you,” he added.
But there are some people who say this new form of home design, coupled with the ever-growing demand for suburban houses, were leading the country towards disaster.
“We’re seeing a whole spectrum of things happening at the moment, from a big, expensive, complex house to a tiny little house,” he explained.
“A lot of these are all being built by people who don’t know anything about the fundamentals of architecture and building.”
One example is a new wave of commercial design, particularly commercial spaces, with more and more buildings in Australia designed for a different type of market.
The concept of a residential market was created by Sydney architect Robert Vesely, who in 2015 created the ‘Urban Residential’ project for a new market in Melbourne.
The first commercial residential buildings were also built for the city-state of Melbourne. “
It’s not really an urban residential market, it has a much smaller footprint than that.”
The first commercial residential buildings were also built for the city-state of Melbourne.
It was an area with a high population density, and Mr Vesey saw an opportunity to create a community that would be a viable place to live.
Mr Veselys project included a large number of residential buildings, some of which were on private property and some in residential communities.
However, the residential market’s boom ended abruptly in 2015 when a series of massive fires devastated the CBD.
The fires killed almost 900 people, and more than 1,300 buildings were destroyed or damaged.
While Mr Vescly’s design was intended to be a catalyst for the development of a new residential market in the city, the fires left many locals frustrated.
A lot was lost to fire, the area had lost so much of its traditional character, and the buildings were all very different in style and design from what was available in the surrounding areas.
In 2016, the Victorian government announced it was scrapping the idea of a “Urban Residential” market.
Under the new guidelines, developers would be allowed to build buildings for up to 50% of the units they wanted to.
However, a number argued the changes could lead to too many small, detached houses in one area and too many big, high-rise, high rent structures elsewhere.
Even so, there were many small and mid-sized commercial buildings still being built in Melbourne, including the Victorian Government’s first new residential residential market since the fires.
For the first time, the federal government set aside a $200 million fund for small and medium-sized developers to build small and small residential buildings for affordable housing.
Victoria’s Minister for Planning, Infrastructure and Regional Development, Nick Minchin, said in the announcement that the fund was “to help us to develop affordable housing”.
But for the first few years, Mr Minchin said, he believed “small, medium and large” buildings could be built.
As a result, the State Government has spent $4.5 billion in the last five years to develop residential development projects in Victoria.
Despite these new initiatives, there’s still much work to do to make sure these developments are affordable and suitable for families, as well as local communities.
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