Moreland City Council seeks to improve medium density housing

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Moreland City Council has launched the Moreland Good Design Sessions, a series of workshops aimed at members of Victoria’s leading design and construction firms. Professionals be invited to assess the recently released new draft Good Design Advice Sheets to determine how the quality of medium density housing can be improved.

The launch is part of Moreland City Council’s Medium Density Review, which was identified as a key priority in the Moreland Council Plan 2017-21, with the aim of enhancing liveability, affordability and sustainability in Moreland by guiding growth and excellence in urban design and development.

According to Moreland City Council, medium-density housing accommodates 35% of Moreland’s population, and that approximately one in six Moreland families with children were living in medium-density dwellings in 2006 and by 2016 this had increased to one in four families.

Moreland City Council surveyed more than 400 medium-density households in 2017, which found that most people living in medium density housing chose to do so due to location and price. Following the survey, Council undertook a detailed case study analysis of nearly 1,000 dwellings in early 2018.

Moreland's appeal as a desirable municipality in which to live was reflected in it securing fourth place in Urban.com.au's list of Top 5 most viewed LGA's for the month of October.

Council assesses more than 400 applications each year for medium density developments, which is almost a third of all planning applications. Medium-density housing is not a temporary situation for young families. It can provide a genuine alternative to the traditional family home.

The survey also brought to light issues around ecologically sustainable design, open space, site layout, landscaping, internal amenity and accessibility. Planning permit decision-making often involves balancing various aspects
of the design.

Clause 55 of the Planning Scheme (ResCode) includes standards that are discretionary, which means that where a particular aspect of the design may not comply with the planning scheme standard, on balance an overall acceptable outcome can still be achieved.

One of the weakness of ResCode compared with other best practice medium density guidelines is an absence of images and illustrations. Some applications may meet the numerical standards of ResCode but with insufficient regard to the context or design detail.

-  Sue Vujcevic, Acting Director Planning and Economic Development

Moreland City Council recently developed a series of draft Good Design Advice Sheets to illustrate how particular objectives of the Moreland Planning Scheme can be applied to deliver better quality design for buildings. These include:

  1. Site Layout
  2. Exterior Appearance
  3. Communal Access Areas
  4. Amenity
  5. Internal Layout

Moreland’s Good Design Sessions are happening as follows, with each session tailored to its audience:

  • Monday 26 November – 12pm Launch and Exhibition until 5pm at the Coburg Concert Hall 90 Bell St, Coburg
  • Monday 3 December – 7:30am–11:30am at the Australian Institute of Architects 41XL2 – 41 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
  • Tuesday 4 December – 11am-3pm at the Master Builders Association of Victoria 332 Albert Street, East Melbourne

To find out more about Moreland’s Good Design Sessions, the Draft Good Design Advice Sheets and the Medium Density Review, click here.

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