Gracewood: luxury units for Over 55s now for sale at Kellyville

The Daily Telegraph

Stage 2 of The Gracewood Development at Kellyville.
Stage 2 of The Gracewood Development at Kellyville.

A limited number of two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments for the over-55s were released this week at the award-winning Gracewood development at Kellyville.

The Gracewood won that top prize under the Seniors Living category at the 2014 Urban Development Institute of Australia Awards.

Stage 1 has already sold out.

BaptistCare general manager, housing and retirement living, Mike Furner said most older people who downsized wanted to stay in the same area.

“There are more than 184,000 seniors living in retirement villages across Australia. Around half of these residents have chosen a village up to 10km from their previous home, with 17 per cent choosing a village between 11km and 20km away,” he said.

“It makes sense that local retirees would want to stay here in the Hills where they are close to family and friends and services they know and trust — whether it’s a doctor, a hairdresser or the neighbourhood mechanic.”

The Gracewood includes a gym and indoor heated swimming pool, a library and a clubhouse restaurant. It also offers access to BaptistCare’s Home Services.

Read more.

Melbourne-Manhattan: Rhetoric and Response

In 2012 the Victorian Planning Minister announced a “bold new vision for Melbourne’s central business district”, proposing a considerable expansion to the capital city zone and inviting public debate around the nature of urban growth in Melbourne.

The plan intended to alleviate pressure in existing suburbs by concentrating intensive development within the new city footprint, maintaining the liveability of established residential areas while providing new opportunities for Melbourne to be a world-class city. Beyond a basic map delineating the extent of the new zone, very little visual material accompanied the announcement and few details provided about what it would achieve. The ‘vision’ was propagandised in mainstream media; the rhetoric was alarmist.

Under the plan, development controls would be “abolished” resulting in “wall-to-wall skyscrapers” and a “Manhattan-style metropolis five times its present size”. A shallow and reactionary dialogue ensued, largely criticising the present city’s failings and the government’s motivations for the zoning change. There was a notable lack of debate about the future of Melbourne.

The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Mr Tom Morgan of MADA, Monash University who will present this paper at the event running from 9th to 11 September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  Tom will speculate on the potential realisation of the Melbourne-Manhattan provocation and examine the kinds of density, amenity, services and infrastructure that could be delivered and how it might alter the built form and quality of the city.

Importantly, it questions what it would mean for the broader metropolitan area should a Melbourne-Manhattan come about. Through a design-led research process, the authors reveal alternative urban conditions that challenge conventional strategies for delivering sustainable urban growth through poly-centric activity areas, linear transport corridors and urban fringe expansion. The speculative scenarios ‘unpack’ the rhetoric of the Minister’s announcement and subsequent media reports as a way of examining notions of quality and liveability in contemporary cities.

Finally, the research asks, what could instigate a more ingenuous public debate about these complex urban issues?

You may register to attend Tom Morgan’s seminar or any other of the sessions being delivered under the conference theme of “UrbanAgiNation”.  Simply click here to register your attendance.  The full program can be viewed here.

Good Bones, a Soft Heart: Regional Centres from the Ground Up

What is it that makes regional cities so great to work and live in? The pleasures of ‘urbia’ without the pain? Maybe it’s the more tangible connection to place and community that is so wonderful – the setting in landscape, the scale, the general ease of people. In the regional cities that are growing, there is a strong economic and environmental imperative to densify, consolidate, and revitalise centres.

In our experience, regional communities want some of the things that capital cities offer (particularly in retail, culture and economic opportunity) but don’t want the same places. So then it’s about recognizing the uniqueness of each place – getting back to the bare bones to uncover and promote a kind of Regional Urbanism – or is it Urban Regionalism?

Regionalism and particularly ‘Critical Regionalism’ is a recurrent theme in architecture, not so much explored in urban design formularies like New Urbanism, however as an approach it has much to offer. Ljubljana in Slovenia is probably the best example of where considered urban design has transformed a regional city. As a practice of ‘regionalists’ at Architectus Brisbane, over several years we have been building up an approach to designing regional centres which stress the power of place.

In all instances the ‘givens’ have been intensification, economic development, consolidation and liveability. We have sought to overlay, within this overall pattern of intensification, a rich layer of spaces and places that respond to climate and people’s relationship to nature, supporting the informal community interactions that are so treasured in smaller cities.

Caroline Stalker, Director of Architectus Brisbane
Caroline Stalker, Director of Architectus Brisbane

The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Caroline Stalker, Director of Architectus Brisbane presenting this paper at the upcoming event 9th to 11th of September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  Caroline will show how working ‘from the ground up’ brings together an important layer of place-creation to the drivers ‘liveability, efficiency, and productivity’, discussing examples in Wodonga, Townsville, and yes, Ljubljana!

Caroline Stalker is a Director of Architectus Brisbane. Her career over 25 years has demonstrated a consistent commitment to making engaging people places. Her ability to work across scales, from the strategic through to detailed delivery is reflected in her project experience which spans master planning town centres, new towns, university and schools, and the detailed design and delivery of public spaces, community buildings, and housing. Her project work has attracted both Australian Institute of Architecture and Planning Institute of Australia awards. Caroline has served on and chaired numerous awards juries in architecture and urban design, is an Honorary Life Fellow of the Urban Design Alliance of Queensland, and is also a member of The Queensland Board for Urban Places.

You can catch Caroline at this event as registrations are still open.  Simply click here and register to attend The 6th International Urban Design Conference.  The program is available to view by clicking here.

6 star dreams and industrial wasted-land

The concepts of ‘central business districts’ and ‘industrial’ ‘employment areas’ should be questioned for two reasons. The possible effects of the NBN and ICT more broadly on spatial decision-making has generally been overlooked.

Secondly, the exclusion of residential from these CBD areas, and commercial and residential from centrally located ‘industrial areas’ can be seen as holding onto redundant urban configurations, with little investigation of the efficacy of these policies, or of the consequences and potentials that might result from their removal.

Reservation of land in centres for ‘commercial office uses’ with high floor space ratios with the expectation that businesses and institutions will invest in these places and that a ‘polycentric’ city will emerge has failed in many instances. In parallel, policies for industrial areas have excluded residential and commercial uses, despite the finessing the definition of ‘industrial’ to include bulky goods retail. These policies, founded on antiquated notions of ‘zoning’ are derived from a mechanistic view of the city that is as odds with the heterogeneous mosaic of activities and living and working patterns that exist and continue to emerge. The policies can also be seen to be protective of the vested property interests.

Associate Professor Roderick Simpson is Director of the Urban Design Program in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney
Associate Professor Roderick Simpson is Director of the Urban Design Program in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney

The 6th International Urban Design Conference welcomes Professor Roderick Simpson of University of Sydney who will deliver this presentation at the event 11th – 9th September at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  Prof Simpson will examine examples of policies, precincts and research from Australia and internationally to postulate possible alternative futures for a number of areas in Sydney if current planning policies were removed: high density residential in accessible centres with zero car ownership and mixed-use mixed-up ‘enterprise precincts’ with very few planning controls in place of ‘industrial’ areas.

A shift in the way we conceive centres and industrial areas, and the way we hold onto conventional office and retail space could result in a city that is more adaptive and accommodating of the heterogeneous living and working conditions that are emerging.

Associate Professor Roderick Simpson is Director of the Urban Design Program in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney and principal of simpson+wilson whose work ranges across architecture, urban design and strategic planning. In 2007 and 2008 he led the urban design and spatial planning for the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Strategy which showed how the City of Sydney could significantly improve its environmental performance and liveability.

If you’d like to see Prof Simpson’s presentation you can register to attend the conference by clicking here.

Changing attitudes in urban planning – suburbanisation to inner densification

The 6th International Urban Design Conference is pleased to welcome Ms Maud Cassaignau and Mr Markus Jung of Monash University who will be presenting at this event entitled “UrbanAgiNation” urbanisation | agitation | imagination which will examine the Liveability, Productivity, Affordability and Efficiency of our Cities 9th to Wednesday 11th of September 2013 at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.

Ms Maud Cassaignau and Mr Markus Jung will present on how they induce discussions in the Melbourne architecture community about challenges and potentials of urban development: In a context of intense urban growth, they believe that planning has to be rethought: from a laisser-faire suburbanization, to a planed densification of existing urban fabric.

The former industrial area of Cremorne was used as a case-study to demonstrate transformation potentials of atmospheric, well-connected inner neighbourhoods. The project is taking a counter position to current sprawling. To handle the pressure of population growth, cities like Melbourne commonly expand outwards. This creates manifold problems: detached low-rise settlements with inefficient infrastructure, social segregation, ever-increasing land consumption and networks costs. Melbourne is predicted to grow by 1,8 million until 2036, centrifugal growth needs to be reconsidered.

The case-study project was developed collaboratively with students, urban activists, journalists and used Monash University as a platform. As part of the overall strategy, the activation of urban space was pursued in conjunction with a website and flyer campaign. This method allowed gaining visibility and exchanging with the architecture community, the neighbourhood and urban planning authorities. The temporary installation in a car park demonstrated the potentials of underused space. Combined bottom-up and top-down strategies attracted attention to the importance of sustainable urban growth and the potentials of densification as alternative to sprawl. The dissemination was key for gaining local and international visibility: connecting real world problems of sustainable urban regeneration with those faced by urban agglomeration globally. More information on the study can be found at

If you would like to attend this presentation registrations for the 6th International Urban Design Conference , are open just click here.  See you there!