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Activity centres

Will a McDonald's store be the end of Glebe?

Will a McDonald's store be the end of Glebe?

Some residents of inner city Sydney oppose a new McDonald's store they say will destroy their suburb's "village feel". But is it much the same impulse as opposing a mosque?

How big can a hospital get?

How big can a hospital get?

The Texas Medical Centre concentrates more than 15 hospitals and a range of medicine-related institutions in 1,000 acres. It's a powerful example of the benefits of agglomeration and specialisation

Do technology parks work?

Do technology parks work?

There’s barely a city in the western world that hasn’t at some time sought to re-create the success of high profile technology innovation districts like Silicon Valley within its own boundaries. Mostly these attempts have involved establishing small publicly funded research/technology parks within or close to universities. As well as Silicon Valley, the usual suspects […]

Has the Grattan Institute got the answer to our housing woes?

Has the Grattan Institute got the answer to our housing woes?

I have to say right up-front that I’m disappointed by The Grattan Institute’s new report, Getting the housing we want. It nominally proposes ways of increasing housing supply in established suburbs, but it really just puts up the politician’s standard solution – more bureaucracy, more money, and little explanation (press report here). In the Institute’s […]

Can activity centres supply enough housing?

Can activity centres supply enough housing?

Melbourne 2030 envisaged growth of high density housing and office employment within established suburbs would be located in activity centres, especially those with a rail station. In fact it specified that 41% of all dwellings should be constructed in activity centres over the period 2001-30 (with 31% in Growth Areas and the rest dispersed in […]

Why is Acland St becoming "Chadstone by the Bay"?

Why is Acland St becoming "Chadstone by the Bay"?

Carol Nader wrote an article in The Age on the weekend bemoaning the decline of St Kilda’s famous Acland Street. She reports there are eight shops with “for lease” signs: The strip that used to have everything is now bereft of a newsagent and a florist. Kinki Gerlinki has shut down and the Quick Brown […]

Are these planners planning ahead?

Are these planners planning ahead?

The familiar story of residents pushing back against higher density development hit the press again this week, this time in Ivanhoe, where Banyule Council is seeking feedback on its draft Structure Plan for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre. Council is proposing that some areas be zoned to permit development – largely residential – up to five […]

Malls & strips: what's the difference?

Malls & strips: what's the difference?

Whether you like them or not, malls have been pretty successful in capturing a sizeable share of the retail dollar in Australia since the first ones opened in 1957 at Chermside in Brisbane and Top Ryde in Sydney (Chadstone opened in Melbourne in 1960). Much of that success historically came at the expense of strip […]

What’s so bad about regional malls?

What’s so bad about regional malls?

I’m always a little surprised by the ill-feeling many planners, architects and educated elites show toward regional managed shopping centres (a.k.a malls). The alternative isn’t always articulated but in most cases seems to be some notion of the traditional strip shopping centre, or ‘High Street’**. The vast majority of Australians – the 90% plus who […]

Are planning regulations making retailing uncompetitive?

Are planning regulations making retailing uncompetitive?

I agree with Australia’s retailers and the Productivity Commission that imported internet purchases valued at less than $1,000 should be subject to GST. But I only agree in-principle. The trouble is, as the Productivity Commission’s report on retailing released last week shows, the administrative effort required to levy the GST would cost more than the […]