Contested spaces: conflict behind the sand dunes takes a new turn

When we think of coasts, we are likely to think about the great sandy beaches that have been the destination for many day trips and long weekends. At times these spaces have been sources of contestation, especially in areas of public access and codes of conduct. However, behind the sand dunes are other landscapes with deep histories of social conflict.

Moments from coastal pasts have had a major impact on how we see different coasts today. They feed into distinct ideals and ethics on place, especially in terms of how it is developed.

Noosa Heads versus Surfers Paradise

Noosa Heads is a prime example of this. Noosa’s history during colonisation includes a number of difficult stories to tell. Examples include the contentious tale of the rescue of Eliza Fraser, or the fate of the traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people, at the hands of the colonial settlers and the native police.

Yet it was in the 1960s when modern conflict over land use really took shape in Noosa. A proposal by the developer T.M. Burke to build a resort at Alexandria Bay created a stir among locals. The local shire was set to build an access road around the headland, destroying well-trodden walking tracks.

A group led by local Arthur Harrold fought this proposal and formed the still-operating Noosa Parks Association. Thus began a long-standing fight against over-development, mining and other impediments to what residents saw as the natural beauty of the coast. This included the Cooloola Conflict and the now-famed resistance to high-rise development.

While there are elements of conservationism here to consider, these conflicts arose in a bid to keep Noosa low-key, with a slower mentality and authentic natural surrounds. Today, these ethics of authenticity are firmly embedded in planning regulation, illustrating the strength of local resistance past.

Noosa residents’ key fear in the 1960s and ’70s was losing their sense of place to the different ideals embodied in another coastal mecca, Surfers Paradise. Like Noosa, Surfers has a long history of conflict. Yet this place developed much differently due to several key factors

Originally Published by The Conversation, continue reading here.

New Design Detail Revealed For Gold Coast Integrated Resort

The newly released details include the following attractions:

  • 9,200m2 waterfront square
  • Sub-tropical canopy, skywalk and gardens
  • Waterfront amphitheater
  • Signature ballroom
  • Broadwater coves for fishing, swimming and casual recreation
  • Marina, public boat and jet ski moorings
  • Medi-spa and health and day spa
  • Waterfalls
  • All ages leisure attraction
  • Jetties and piers
  • Terrace and rooftop gardens
  • Boutique shopping arcades
  • Waterfront restaurants
  • Waterfront markets
  • Art on the Broadwater
  • Restaurants, bars and nightclubs
  • Rooftop park with outdoor cinema.

Gold Coast Integrated Resort architect Michael Rayner, of Queensland-based Blight Rayner Architecture, said the design had to reflect the Gold Coast community’s values and diversity to ensure it appealed to locals and tourists alike.

“We were able to achieve this scale of public offerings by increasing height; this approach reduces the building footprint and opens up more public space for locals and visitors to enjoy,” Mr Rayner said.

“The existing three storey height limit was appropriate for its time but can only result in privatised resorts with limited public accessibility such as already exists on The Spit.

“The towers we have designed are well-dispersed on the near six hectare site, creating maximum public realm and opening up new and accessible areas never before available to Gold Coast residents or visitors,” he said.

Mr Rayner said that those who are concerned about the resort’s impact on scenery can rest assured that that considerable work has gone into the design to ensure community views on height are respected and responded to in the design.

Originally published by The Urban Developer, continue reading here.

What makes a city great?

The world is preoccupied with rating the city. From the towering skyscrapers of New York to Tokyo’s colourful neon and Melbourne’s amiable public spaces, it seems there’s a way to grade every aspect of the modern metropolis.

Economists, sociologists and even politicians pick apart our cities, presumably ranking them so we might best select a place to live. What is unquestionable however, and it was the focus of BlueNotes’ MetropolisNow series, is human life is becoming inexorably more urbanised.

Sydney, despite its shortcomings of urban sprawl and increasingly insufficient infrastructure, typically features on these lists. Indeed, such global status seems to matter to a rising global star like Sydney, even if the varied experiences within a city can be far less glamorous.

Of course, rankings differ based on the parameters. Some define great cities by their economic output or the number of job opportunities they create, while others are more concerned with culture or quality of life.

Consider Singapore which routinely scores well for its economy. It generates $US51,149 in economic output per person which makes it one of the richest and most developed nations in the world, according to the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) at the University of Toronto.

With the rapid rise of its creative middle class, it follows Singapore must be a great a place to do business.

Meanwhile, consultancy Mercer ranks Vienna, Zurich and Auckland as the three most ‘livable’ cities in the world, based on factors such as their political and social environments, economics, housing, transportation and the natural environment.

These cities apparently offer an array of enticements for prospective newcomers, which is the basis of the study’s undertaking.

Further still, the United Nations defines a ‘prosperous’ city as one that’s productive, provides adequate infrastructure, has a good quality of life, offers equity and social inclusion, and is practicing environmental sustainability.

The tally of these factors is called the city prosperity index and scores each city out of 100, with Hong Kong notching 57, for example, against Jakarta’s 51 and Sydney’s 66. (Notably, Auckland scored just 35).

But does all of this equate to greatness in a city?

Originally Published by ANZ Blue Notes, continue reading here.

Country towns will start to empty out with the rise of Australia’s super-cities

Sydney could stretch to the Central Coast, Melbourne could hit Geelong and Brisbane could merge with the Gold Coast as super-cities start to take over Australia.

Country towns could be mostly emptied out and the Aussie outback left almost abandoned as most of the nation’s population will flock to Australia’s major capitals — Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

According to The Australian, two in three people will live in our main cities in the future, as Australia’s population soars to almost 30 million.

If population growth keeps going as it is, the four main capital cities will grow more than two times faster than anywhere else in Australia.

For the four cities to house the population, more and more land will need to be unlocked to build more residential housing, meaning urban sprawl will become a massive problem.

It’s already starting to happen in Melbourne. On Wednesday, the Victorian Government announced it would unlock 17 new suburbs on the outer fringes of Melbourne, and build residential areas on the currently bare land. The government said it would help solve housing affordability problems but experts disagree.

Suburbia around the cities could just keep extending. Picture: John Appleyard Source: News Corp Australia.

REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said Melbourne was most at risk of creeping further and further out and it could eventually extend as far as Seymour, which is about 100km north of Melbourne.

“Melbourne is well suited to urban sprawl,” Ms Conisbee wrote for University of Melbourne publication Pursuit.

“It’s flat, easy to build on and lacks geographic boundaries like waterways and cliffs that force other cities into higher densities. It’s possible to continue building low-density housing out as far as Geelong in the west, Seymour in the north and Warragul in the east.”

Urban sprawl happens because people want to live the Australian dream, in a house with a block of land all to itself.

Originally Published on, continue reading here.


Kangaroo Point ‘Buildings That Breathe’ To Drive Brisbane As New World City: CEO

Two stunning 18-storey ‘self breathing’ residential towers have been proposed at 23- 31 Ferry Street and 16- 30 Prospect Street Kangaroo Point across 3048sqm, metres from the Story Bridge.

102 residential units have been proposed across the two 18 level buildings, including 40 two-bedroom and 62 three-bedroom apartments – representing the majority at 59 per cent of the unit mix.

Four penthouse apartments – each with their own rooftop pool – are also included.

According to application documents, the majority of the proposed apartments are naturally ventilated – including communal spaces – with zero single aspect south-facing apartment proposed. The development will feature a private landscaped roof garden, gymnasium, pool, restaurants, cafes and resident lounge.

The documents state that the landscaping proposed – capable of efficient and effective maintenance – will future-proof landscaping.


Founder and CEO Tony Leung of A+ Design Group – leader of the team behind the project – said the architecture of the Kangaroo Point development would contribute to Brisbane presenting itself as a ‘New World City’.

“The team at a+  share the Mayor’s vision for Brisbane to become Australia’s New World City. Early on, we identified that this New World City needs aspirational architecture, architecture that not only embodies the tropical climate of South East Queensland and represents a sense of place but also, responds  to its site and provides an appropriate response to the evolution of the Brisbane Skyline.  So that was a key driver and starting point for the concept. We wanted the articulation of the façade to be playful, so we looked into examples of treehouse architecture.  Out of this process, we proposed a series of platforms set amongst the branches and canopies of greenery which forms a softer, more gentle response and  juxtaposition to the glass and steel city across the river.”

Originally Published by The Urban Developer, continue reading here.