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.


Australian cities are far from being meccas for walking and cycling

Australian city planners are seeking ways to make cities better for walking and cycling.

Walkability and cyclability are attractive and “green” urban amenities. They reduce pollution and improve health. They are also economic assets.

In developing countries, active transport is key to improving accessibility for the urban poor. In developed countries, the walkable and cyclable city can be a magnet for attracting and retaining the “creative class”.

In Australia, plans and projects are being developed to extend pedestrian malls and cycling paths, restrict car traffic, remove street parking and install more lighting.

Have these efforts paid off?

Yes and no. Recently released 2016 Census data reveal some disappointing commuting patterns in Australian cities.

Across metropolitan areas, typically plagued by sprawl and segregated land uses, cars still dominate. Car-based commuting rates have decreased by only 1-2%.

Public transport use remains relatively low. Even in Sydney, it captures only about one-quarter of commute trips.

Since 2011, Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin have made modest gains (2-4%) in public transport use. Brisbane has had an incremental decline. Public transport use is stagnant in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.

Meanwhile, rates of walking and cycling remain constant and low – even in smaller centres such as Hobart, Darwin and Canberra. Even in the most “cycling-oriented” places (Darwin and Canberra), only about 3% of commuters cycle.

City-level data tell a different story. Here, walking is more popular than at the wider metro level. This reflects the mono-centric nature of Australian cities, where most jobs are located in the CBD.

In larger cities, between a quarter and a third of the population walks to work. Similar proportions of commuters use public transport. Brisbane is an exception, with less walking, lower public transport use and much more driving than Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. Hobart and Darwin have low walking rates and are very car-dependent, which is surprising considering their small size.

Originally Published by The Conversation, continue reading here.

Ten Steps to Better Sports Investment

Across the world, governments and sports fans continue to be enamoured of huge sporting events and the ambitious new infrastructure that goes with them. We all understand the health and wellbeing benefits and the value to local economies. But without careful planning they can equally become dead places, or end up a drain on public funds.

Matt Lally 

Taking a global perspective I’ve arrived at ten rules for creating vibrant sporting destinations that have real long-term value:

1. Think beyond the finish line. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was planned to provide a huge variety of on-going uses in its post-Games phase. It’s now a much-loved leisure destination for Londoners, bordered by a new neighbourhood that was originally the Olympic Village. Athens 2004, by contrast, demonstrates how not to do it.

2. Take the wider view. A successful venue must connect to the world beyond its doors or gates. That’s why the 2012 Games in London included regeneration plans for much of East London’s surrounding waterways and parkland.

3. Sustainability in each mode of operation. Set clear achievable targets for energy, waste, materials, water and mobility, from base-build, through event and legacy modes. These will safeguard long-term operational costs, while doing the right thing by the environment.

4. Not just sport. Enduring footfall relies on local enthusiasm. In its first year of operation the Singapore Sports Hub, with its mix of sports, entertainment, office, retail and community uses set in parkland, attracted more than one million people on non-sporting-event days.

5. Embedded urbanism. Be a valued neighbour. The Emirates Stadium precinct in London, squeezed into an unforgivingly tight site, has managed to incorporate mixed-tenure housing (including more than 1,000 affordable homes) helping its bottom line while meeting community need.

6. Partnership in delivery. Public and community bodies need to work with private ones. After London’s 2011 riots all key stakeholders came together to find more inclusive ways to use public space. Coinciding with local Tottenham FC’s redevelopment plans, the result is a proposed enlarged stadium that integrates with the surrounding area, creating new, more engaging public spaces.

7. Focus on the ‘Last Mile’. Get the first and last leg of the journey wrong and a facility might be doomed. Ensure good public transport connections, pedestrian ease, wayfinding and accessibility.

8. Beyond the front door. Facilities need to embed attractively and intuitively into their immediate surroundings, with a focus on the quality of public spaces.

9. Build a broad business case. A venue should have breadth of commercial audience and purpose all year round, from sport to music, art to business.

10. Think local. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC, has embraced local food and drink vendors, building a reputation for supporting neighbourhood artisans and entrepreneurs, rather than relying on the usual giants like KFC and McDonalds.

Taken together these rules provide an approach that ensures the whole community, from sports fans to local businesses, contractors to local government gains long-term benefits from sporting infrastructure investment, socially as well as financially.

This article was supplied by Matt Lally, Associate Principal of Integrated Design + Planning for Arup.

7 Major Projects Shaping Brisbane As Australia’s New World City

Brisbane; it’s Queensland’s metropolitan jewel and has hopes of soon stepping onto the international stage as Australia’s next ‘world city’.

There are a number of development projects announced or underway in Brisbane that are projected to be up and running by 2022, each bringing its own unique quality to the city.

  1. Queen’s Wharf

Queen’s Wharf Brisbane is set to attract new visitors and investment as it reconnects the activity of Brisbane’s defining parts of the city like the Botanic Gardens, the Queen Street Mall, the Cultural Precinct, South Bank, the Parliamentary Precinct and the Brisbane River.

Queen’s Wharf will include:

  • Five new hotels– including premium brands like the Ritz-Carlton
  • Three residential towers
  • A new department store
  • About 50 food and beverage outlets
  • A riverfront moonlight cinema
  • A Queensland Hotel and Hospitality School in partnership with TAFE Queensland.

The development is expected to deliver $1.69 billion annual increase in tourism and 1.39 million additional tourists per annum, along with $4 billion to the Gross State Product.

  1. Northshore Hamilton

Owned by Economic Development Queensland (EDQ), Northshore Hamilton is Brisbane’s largest urban renewal precinct, spanning 304 hectares and will have an important role to play in helping the city position itself for the future.

In the next 20 years, Northshore’s primarily industrial area will be transformed into a $5 billion vibrant riverside precinct over the next 20 years. It will cater for 15,000 residents and become an employment hub for about 15,000 workers in retail precincts and office parks.

  1. Brisbane Airport Redevelopment

Brisbane Airport Australia is currently on the way to delivering the country’s best runway system with the $3.8 billion New Parallel Runway Project (NPR) for Brisbane Airport. While the airport has about 100 other projects in the works for the next 10 years, this NPR is considered the biggest aviation project in Australia.

  1. Howard Smith Wharves 

The Howard Smith Wharves project covers a 3.43 hectare riverside precinct that will connect the New Farm Riverwalk and the CBD and revitalise Petrie Bight

The Howard Smith Wharves project’s key features include:

  • A dining, retail and tourism centre utilising the existing heritage-listed buildings
  • New public open spaces that may be used for markets and festivals
  • A 64-room, five-star Art Series boutique hotel
  • A hotel facade that blends into the cliff face with natural tones and textures to keep the iconic Story Bridge as the main focus
  • Underground carpark for about 350 vehicles
  • A 1500sqm exhibition space.
  1. Brisbane Quarter

Located at 300 George Street and developed by Taiwan’s Shayher Group, Brisbane Quarter is the city’s first integrated, world-class mixed use precinct.

Brisbane Quarter encompasses a complete city block with Brisbane River views and will include Australia’s first purpose-built W Hotel, two levels of riverside dinning and luxury retail shopping beneath a 40 storey Prime Grade office tower, as well as an 82 storey luxury residential apartment building.

  1. Brisbane Metro

While still in its early stages, the Brisbane Metro Subway system was a commitment by Brisbane City council to provide a reliable high-frequency transport system that will reduce CBD bus congestion, cut travel times and allow for the redirection of buses to improve services in the suburbs.

  1. Brisbane Live

Brisbane Live is Australia’s response to New York’s Madison Square Garden in New York City, as a 17,000 seat world class arena which will showcase international superstar concerts and performances as well as world sporting events.

Brisbane Live’s masterplan image

The complex will be built above Roma street rail lines and would make use of public transport facilities making it accessible to everyone in Brisbane.

Read more.


How Urban Design Needs to Adapt to Rising Temperatures

urban design climate-changeRising temperatures from climate change pose numerous challenges to cities, including coastal flooding, rising sea levels, and droughts. But a new report by the Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR) of the American Institute of Architects New York addresses an often overlooked, but seemingly obvious issue head-on: the danger of higher and higher temperatures.

Extreme Heat suggests that cities, and the way we build and design them, needs to adapt and evolve to deal with the coming temperature changes associated with climate shifts. While urban density can be a boon for some environmental issues, since density reduces transport costs, it can multiply the effects of extreme heat, as the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave demonstrated. Cities need to adopt multifaceted solutions to provide heat relief and make sure that poorer, underserved communities don’t bear the brunt of negative effects. That, in turn, means architects and urban planners need to be just as aware and active.

As the report states: Expanded awareness of acute heat stroke and heat- exacerbated chronic disorders is no longer the exclusive province of medical personnel, but a matter for design, engineering, and planning professionals to consider in their creation of healthy, sustainable communities.

Drawn from the result of a summit held in New York City last fall, the Extreme Heat examines how the heat island effect and other issues may impact the abilities of cities and their citizens to adapt to rising temperatures, and resulting health issues.

A number of existing solutions can help combat these steadily rising temperatures, including greening and urban reforestation, transit-oriented development policies that encourage densification without adding cars, and covering heat-absorbing infrastructure with photovoltaics to generate renewable power while reducing heat concentration.  The report recommends designers, as well as those writing building codes, promote heat mitigation technology, and even invest in waste heat recovery systems that can turn excess heat into an asset. While there isn’t one solution to the issue, climate challenges suggests urban heat management needs to become part of the great conservation conversation. To read more click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held in Melbourne in November.  To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.