Toowoomba tipped for growth: Affordable houses, high returns.

Toowoomba properties are not only affordable, but also have returns expected to beat southern capitals like Sydney and Melbourne.

That’s according to a new report by market research firm Propertyology.

It found 39 growth locations across the country where median house prices were less than $400,000 but were also expected to outperform the capital cities for growth over the next few years.

Toowoomba was listed as one of nine Queensland locations tipped for growth.

BUY NOW: Raine and Horne property sales consultant Paddy Ryan believes the Garden City is in a prime position for growth.

Propertyology’s analysis looked at criteria including affordability, economic diversity, essential infrastructure, lifestyle, increased demand for housing and expected improvement in economic conditions.

Raine and Horne Toowoomba property sales consultant Paddy Ryan agrees Toowoomba is in a prime position for growth.

Mr Ryan has been in the real estate industry for seven years and said he was enthusiastic about what was in store for the city.

Originally Published by The Chronicle, continue reading here.


IKEA’s New Innovation Lab Is Researching The Future Of Co-Living

Ikea’s future-living research lab, Space10, has launched a research project into the future of co-living, One Shared House 2030.

A collaboration between Space10 and Brooklyn design studio Anton & Irene, One Shared House asks members of the public to imagine a co-living community in the year 2030, defining their preferences for the type of people they wish to live with, the way the community is organised and things they would be willing to share with others.

The project aims to provide information on whether co-living could offer potential solutions to current housing issues such as rapid urbanisation, loneliness and the growing global housing affordability crisis.

 IKEA’s New Innovation Lab Is Researching The Future Of Co-Living
Image: article supplied

“Our cities have never been more attractive to so many people,” Space10’s Guillaume Charny-Brunet said.

“Yet in the context of booming urbanisation, rocketing housing prices, shrinking living spaces and increasing social disconnects, ‘sharing’ will be ‘caring’ more than ever.”

Co-living isn’t new, but as both space and time are increasingly becoming a luxury, the concept needs a revamp. [Space10] is going on a journey to explore the potential of co-living to better the lives of city dwellers across the planet.”

Australia’s population is expected to grow to over 70 million in the next century and the idea of shared living spaces could provide the solution to many current housing issues.

According to Ikea, high-density living and environmental pressures will drastically change the way Australians live, eat and work by the year 2100.

A shared living environment is far from the traditional Australian dream of a standalone family home in the suburbs, but according to Kate Ringvall, Ikea Australia’s sustainability manager, Australia needs to be more open to the concept.

“Our research shows that Australians need to be more open minded to new ways of living. We are at a pivotal moment in history [in] that we can create cities that suit our future, as opposed to inheriting legacies from past generations.”

This was originally published by The Urban Developer.

Click here to read the entire article.

“Smart” Cities And Buildings: The Emergence Of The Cyber Safe Building

The increase in Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices and interconnectivity between various building management systems (BMS) prompts larger questions about cybersecurity and data privacy concerns. These challenges are hardly new, but they are magnified in an IoT-connected world.

The Urban Developer reached out to Alan Mihalic, Senior Cyber Security Consultant at Norman, Disney & Young – a global engineering consultancy and cyber security company – to offer an insight into emerging smart technologies and the associated cyber security risk facing the urban planning, construction and design engineering sectors.

Industry forecasts expect the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in 2020 and 75.4 billion in 2025. Many of these devices will be deployed in buildings, public works and critical infrastructure. Smart technologies will establish an urban landscape that is all-connected, all-sharing, all-knowing and imbued with a functionality that can provide unprecedented levels of comfort and convenience.

The convergence of smart technologies and the built environment will improve the operation and capabilities of buildings, but will also lead to increased vulnerabilities and attack vectors not previously encountered within design engineering and urban planning.

Photo: article supplied

Research suggests the impact on the building and construction industry will be significant. No longer are we looking at cyber attacks targeting at the company or user level, we now have “attack vectors” that can potentially shutdown a shopping precinct, a power grid, a major city, perhaps even a nation. An attack vector is a path or means by which a hacker can gain access to a computer or network server in order to deliver a malicious outcome. Attack vectors enable hackers to exploit system vulnerabilities.

Earlier this year, an Austrian hotel Romanantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt, was targeted by cyber criminals. The electronic key system at the 4-star hotel was infiltrated, rendering it useless. The hotel guests were unable to move in and out of their hotel rooms and the cyber attackers demanded a ransom of EUR 1500 in Bitcoin from hotel management. The security breach also managed to compromise the hotel’s reservation and cash desk systems, bringing the entire operation to a halt.

Justifying the hotel’s decision to pay the ransom, the managing director stated, “The hotel was totally booked with 180 guests. We had no other choice. Neither police nor insurance companies can help you in these circumstances.”

This article was originally published by The Urban Developer.

Click here to read the entire article.

What is Synaptic Urbanism?

Urbanisation is not a new phenomenon. As our species transitioned from migrant hunter-gatherers to farming societies with permanent settlements, we started to build cities as centres of trade. Cities are a product of our natural human state.

“The city is a fact in nature, like a cave, a run of mackerel or an ant-heap. But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind”    Lewis Mumford (from ‘The Culture of Cities’ 1938).

The challenge for our species is that we are increasingly dependent on accelerating city growth to safeguard basic necessities such as farmland and water supplies; we can no longer sustain a dispersed society. The UN projects that 85% of the world’s population will live in major cities by the year 2050.  The implications of the rapid acceleration in urban living are multivalent and demand a reassessment of our understanding, from practical considerations of infrastructure, transport, water, housing and public places to the broader socio-political and economic contexts in which the framework of physical infrastructure is set.

I use the term Synaptic Urbanism to describe an analytical approach and associated set of tools we may use as we begin to navigate this complex urban future in a manner that is specific to the local conditions, culture and climate of each place. Each city has competing priorities for investment, infrastructure, urban repair and social provision. The decision makers heretofore have prioritised investment based on a combination of fiscal objectives, political drivers and in many case as a response to unforeseen events.

Therefore many past investments in our cities are ineffective and incomplete. If we begin to add the overlay of spatial data that is currently available to cities then policy makers can make more informed decisions on investment priorities. We can identify the small investments that can complete previously disjointed strategies. The key component is that these Synaptic Urbanism interventions do not need to be large investments, they just need to be in the right place and they must do the right things.

Michael Hegarty RAIA RIBA AoU
National Practice Leader │ Australia + New Zealand

Squandering riches: can Perth realise the value of its biodiversity?

Perth is not known as a model for suburbia and its suburban condition is similar to that of developed cities the world over. However, it does stand out in one respect: it sits in an exceptionally biodiverse natural setting. A strong, informed vision for this setting’s relationship with the city could help Perth become an exemplar for similarly positioned metropolises everywhere.

The greater Perth region has been designated the Southwest Australia Ecoregion (SWAE). This is one of only 35 “biodiversity hotspots” in the world.

Reconciling future growth with biodiversity is a key issue for urban design and planning this century. Indeed, if current trends continue, global urban land cover will increase by 1.2 million square kilometres (equivalent to half the area of Western Australia) by 2030. Much of this will happen in biodiversity hotspots.

This is important because it is estimated we will lose nearly half of all terrestrial species if we fail to protect the hotspots. We will also lose the ecosystem services upon which human populations ultimately depend.

Perth has a reputedly strong planning system and is comparatively wealthy. If it can’t control its city form to protect biodiversity – compact cities generally being recognised as the best model for protecting land for conservation – then city administrators elsewhere, particularly in the developing world, are likely to struggle.

Perth’s Green Growth Plan

The release of the state government’s long-anticipated Perth and Peel Green Growth Plan for 3.5 million may herald a shift in the relationship between the city and the biodiversity hotspot. The plan encapsulates two broad goals:

  • to protect fringe bushland, rivers, wetlands and wildlife in an impressive 170,000 hectares of new and expanded reserves on Perth’s fringe
  • to cut red tape by securing upfront Commonwealth environmental approvals for outer suburban development.

While ostensibly positive achievements, a question remains as to the implications of clearing a further 45,000ha (3% of the Swan Coastal Plain) of remnant bushland which is not protected by the conservation reserves.

Furthermore, the typically disconnected conservation reserves proposed in the Green Growth Plan lack overall legibility. This stymies the public’s ability to conceptualise the city’s edge, which leads them to care about it (like London’s greenbelt, for instance).

Finally, a question remains about how a plan that places restrictions on outer suburban development will accommodate the powerful local land development industry over time. This is a concern given the frequent “urban break-outs” – where urban development occurs outside nominated growth areas – between 1970 and 2005.

In 2003, the ABC asked revered Western Australian landscape architect Marion Blackwell, “Are we at home now in the land we live in?” She replied, “No, we’re not. We don’t know enough about it, and not enough people know anything about it.”

We still have work to do on our engagement with biodiversity in Western Australia, and Perth specifically, before we can become a model for future cities.

Read more.