Town Planning Review

Incremental urbanism: characteristics and implications of residential renewal through owner-driven demolition and rebuilding

Town Planning Review (2015), 86, (3), 279–301.

Abstract

Much contemporary reworking of suburban form takes place both beyond the gaze of urban theory and outside the regulatory ambit of planning systems. An increasingly significant phenomenon in many low density cities dominated by private property markets that has fallen under the radar in these terms is the owner-led incremental demolition and rebuilding of residential dwellings on a one-for-one basis. This paper examines the nature, process, policy aspects and conceptual implications of this process in an Australian setting. It first establishes the scale of the so-called ‘knockdown rebuild’ phenomenon in Sydney, its major drivers, direct impacts and international referents. This depiction then establishes a platform for exploring three fundamental questions or ‘fissures’ in regard to the targets and modus operandi of strategic planning, the implementation of statutory planning at the micro-scale, and the complex interplay between individual household actions and the broader political economy in contemporary conceptualisations of suburban change.

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LEES, L., SLATER, T. and WYLY, E. (2008), Gentrification, London, Routledge.Gentrification Google Scholar

LEGACY, C., PINNEGAR, S. and WIESEL, I. (2013), ‘Under the strategic radar and outside planning’s “spaces of interest”: knockdown rebuild and the changing suburban form of Australia’s cities’, Australian Planner, 50, 117–22.Under the strategic radar and outside planning’s “spaces of interest”: knockdown rebuild and the changing suburban form of Australia’s cities’5011722 Google Scholar

LEVY, P. (1980), ‘Neighborhoods in a race with time: local strategies for countering displacement’, in S. Laska and D. Spain (eds), Back to the City: Issues in Neighborhood Renovation, New York, Pergamon Press, 302–18.Neighborhoods in a race with time: local strategies for countering displacementBack to the City: Issues in Neighborhood Renovation30218 Google Scholar

MARR, D. (2009), ‘Friendless and furious: Ku-ring-gai fights for life’, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 2009, http://www.smh.com.au/national/friendless-and-furious-kurringgai-fights-for-life-20090918-fvcr.html, (accessed 2 January 2014). Google Scholar

MONTOYA, D., WALES, N. and GRIFFITH, G. (2012), NSW Planning Reforms: the Green Paper and other developments, Briefing Paper 07/2012, Sydney, NSW Parliamentary Research Service.NSW Planning Reforms: the Green Paper and other developments Google Scholar

NASAR, J., EVANS-COWLEY, J. and MANTERO, V. (2007),‘McMansions: The extent and regulations of super-sized houses’, Journal of Urban Design, 12, 339–58.McMansions: The extent and regulations of super-sized housesJournal of Urban Design1233958 Google Scholar

NSW GOVERNMENT (2012), A New Planning System for NSW – Green Paper, July 2012, Sydney, NSW Government.A New Planning System for NSW – Green Paper Google Scholar

ONG, A. (2006), Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty, Durham, NC, Duke University Press.Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty Google Scholar

PALLAGST, K., POPPER, F., HOLLANDER, J. and SCHWARTZ, T. (2009), ‘Shrinking cities as emerging planning paradigm’, Progress in Planning, 72, 223–32.Shrinking cities as emerging planning paradigmProgress in Planning7222332 Google Scholar

PAS (PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE) (2007), Teardowns, PAS Quicknotes no.9, Chicago, American Planning Association, http://planning.org/pas/quicknotes/pdf/QN9.pdf (accessed 2 January 2014). Google Scholar

PICKETT, C. (1997), The Fibro Frontier: A Different History of Australian Architecture, Sydney, Powerhouse Museum.The Fibro Frontier: A Different History of Australian Architecture Google Scholar

PINNEGAR, S. (2009), ‘The question of scale in housing-led regeneration: tied to the neighbourhood?’, Environment and Planning A, 41, 2911–28.The question of scale in housing-led regeneration: tied to the neighbourhood?Environment and Planning A41291128 Google Scholar

PINNEGAR, S., FREESTONE, R. and RANDOLPH, B. (2010), ‘Suburban reinvestment through ‘knockdown rebuild’ in Sydney’, Research in Urban Sociology, 10, 205–29.Suburban reinvestment through ‘knockdown rebuild’ in SydneyResearch in Urban Sociology1020529 Google Scholar

PROVOST, L. (2005), ‘Teardowns reshape suburbs, and selling strategies’, New York Times, 21 August 2005, http://travel.nytimes.com/2005/08/21/realestate/21nati.html?_r=0 (accessed 2 January 2014) Google Scholar

PUENTES, R. and WARREN, D. (2006), One Fifth American: Comprehensive Guide to America’s First Suburbs, Washington, Brookings Institution.One Fifth American: Comprehensive Guide to America’s First Suburbs Google Scholar

RANDOLPH, B. (2006), ‘Delivering the compact city in Australia: current trends and future implications’, Research Paper no.6, Sydney, City Futures Research Centre.Delivering the compact city in Australia: current trends and future implicationsResearch Paper no.6 Google Scholar

RANDOLPH, B and FREESTONE, R. (2012), ‘Housing differentiation and renewal in middle-ring suburbs: the experience of Sydney, Australia’, Urban Studies, 49, 2557–75.Housing differentiation and renewal in middle-ring suburbs: the experience of Sydney, AustraliaUrban Studies49255775 Google Scholar

REDFERN, P. (1997), ‘A new look at gentrification: 2. A model of gentrification’, Environment and Planning A, 29, 1335–54.A new look at gentrification: 2. A model of gentrificationEnvironment and Planning A29133554 Google Scholar

REDFERN, P. (2003), ‘What makes gentrification ‘gentrification’?, Urban Studies, 40, 2351–66.What makes gentrification ‘gentrification’?Urban Studies40235166 Google Scholar

RESCEI, T. (2009), ‘Rise of high-density living a new low for Sydney’, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 January 2009, http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/rise-of-highdensity-living-a-new-low-for-sydney/2009/01/13/1231608701810.html (accessed 2 January 2014). Google Scholar

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RONALD, R. (2004), ‘Home ownership, ideology and diversity: Re-evaluating concepts of housing ideology in the case of Japan’, Housing, Theory and Society, 21, 49–64.Home ownership, ideology and diversity: Re-evaluating concepts of housing ideology in the case of JapanHousing, Theory and Society214964 Google Scholar

ROSENTHAL, S. and HELSLEY, R. (1994), ‘Redevelopment and the urban land price gradient’, Journal of Urban Economics, 35, 182–200.Redevelopment and the urban land price gradientJournal of Urban Economics35182200 Google Scholar

SEARLE, G. (2007), Sydney’s urban consolidation experience: Power, politics and community, Urban Research Program Research Paper 12, Brisbane, Griffith University.Sydney’s urban consolidation experience: Power, politics and community Google Scholar

SHORT, J. R., HANLON, B., and VICINO, T. (2007), ‘The decline of the inner suburbs: The new suburban gothic in the United States’, Geography Compass, 1, 641–56.The decline of the inner suburbs: The new suburban gothic in the United StatesGeography Compass164156 Google Scholar

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DAVISON, G. (1997), ‘The great Australian sprawl’, Historic Environment, 1, 10–7.The great Australian sprawlHistoric Environment1107 Google Scholar

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EASTHOPE, H. and RANDOLPH, B. (2009) ‘Governing the compact city: the challenges of apartment living in Sydney, Australia’, Housing Studies, 24, 243–59Governing the compact city: the challenges of apartment living in Sydney, AustraliaHousing Studies2424359 Google Scholar

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FORREST, R., IZUHARA, M. and KENNETT, P. (2000) ‘Homeownership in Japan’s troubled economy, Housing Finance International, 40–5.Homeownership in Japan’s troubled economyHousing Finance International, 405 Google Scholar

FORSTER, C. (2006), ‘The challenge of change: Australian cities and urban planning in the new millennium’, Geographical Research, 44, 173–82.The challenge of change: Australian cities and urban planning in the new millenniumGeographical Research4417382 Google Scholar

GLEESON, B. and LOW, N. (2000), Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas, Sydney, Allen & Unwin.Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas Google Scholar

HARVEY, D. (1974), Social Justice and the City, London, Edward Arnold.Social Justice and the City Google Scholar

HARVEY, D. (1978), ‘The urban process under capitalism: a framework for analysis’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 2, 100–31.The urban process under capitalism: a framework for analysisInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research 210031 Google Scholar

HIRSHEY, G. (2008), ‘Today a home, tomorrow a teardown’, New York Times, 19 November 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/nyregion/connecticut/23Rhome.html?n=Top%2FReference%2FTimes%20Topics%2FSubjects%2FH%2FHistoric%20Buildings%20and%20Sites&_r=0 (accessed 2 January 2014). Google Scholar

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KELLY, P. (1992), The End of Certainty, Sydney, Allen & Unwin.The End of Certainty Google Scholar

KENDIG, H. (1979), New Life for Old Suburbs: Postwar Land Use and Housing in the Australian Inner City, Sydney, George Allen and Unwin.New Life for Old Suburbs: Postwar Land Use and Housing in the Australian Inner City Google Scholar

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LANG, R., DANIELSON, K. and HINSHAW, M. (2002), ‘Monster homes? Yes! They make good infill – and they make good economic sense’, Planning, 68, 24–6.Monster homes? Yes! They make good infill – and they make good economic sensePlanning68246 Google Scholar

LEE, S. and LEIGH, N. (2007), ‘Intrametropolitan spatial differentiation and decline of inner-ring suburbs: a comparison of four metropolitan areas’, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 27, 146–64.Intrametropolitan spatial differentiation and decline of inner-ring suburbs: a comparison of four metropolitan areasJournal of Planning Education and Research2714664 Google Scholar

LEES, L., SLATER, T. and WYLY, E. (2008), Gentrification, London, Routledge.Gentrification Google Scholar

LEGACY, C., PINNEGAR, S. and WIESEL, I. (2013), ‘Under the strategic radar and outside planning’s “spaces of interest”: knockdown rebuild and the changing suburban form of Australia’s cities’, Australian Planner, 50, 117–22.Under the strategic radar and outside planning’s “spaces of interest”: knockdown rebuild and the changing suburban form of Australia’s cities’5011722 Google Scholar

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MARR, D. (2009), ‘Friendless and furious: Ku-ring-gai fights for life’, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 2009, http://www.smh.com.au/national/friendless-and-furious-kurringgai-fights-for-life-20090918-fvcr.html, (accessed 2 January 2014). Google Scholar

MONTOYA, D., WALES, N. and GRIFFITH, G. (2012), NSW Planning Reforms: the Green Paper and other developments, Briefing Paper 07/2012, Sydney, NSW Parliamentary Research Service.NSW Planning Reforms: the Green Paper and other developments Google Scholar

NASAR, J., EVANS-COWLEY, J. and MANTERO, V. (2007),‘McMansions: The extent and regulations of super-sized houses’, Journal of Urban Design, 12, 339–58.McMansions: The extent and regulations of super-sized housesJournal of Urban Design1233958 Google Scholar

NSW GOVERNMENT (2012), A New Planning System for NSW – Green Paper, July 2012, Sydney, NSW Government.A New Planning System for NSW – Green Paper Google Scholar

ONG, A. (2006), Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty, Durham, NC, Duke University Press.Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty Google Scholar

PALLAGST, K., POPPER, F., HOLLANDER, J. and SCHWARTZ, T. (2009), ‘Shrinking cities as emerging planning paradigm’, Progress in Planning, 72, 223–32.Shrinking cities as emerging planning paradigmProgress in Planning7222332 Google Scholar

PAS (PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE) (2007), Teardowns, PAS Quicknotes no.9, Chicago, American Planning Association, http://planning.org/pas/quicknotes/pdf/QN9.pdf (accessed 2 January 2014). Google Scholar

PICKETT, C. (1997), The Fibro Frontier: A Different History of Australian Architecture, Sydney, Powerhouse Museum.The Fibro Frontier: A Different History of Australian Architecture Google Scholar

PINNEGAR, S. (2009), ‘The question of scale in housing-led regeneration: tied to the neighbourhood?’, Environment and Planning A, 41, 2911–28.The question of scale in housing-led regeneration: tied to the neighbourhood?Environment and Planning A41291128 Google Scholar

PINNEGAR, S., FREESTONE, R. and RANDOLPH, B. (2010), ‘Suburban reinvestment through ‘knockdown rebuild’ in Sydney’, Research in Urban Sociology, 10, 205–29.Suburban reinvestment through ‘knockdown rebuild’ in SydneyResearch in Urban Sociology1020529 Google Scholar

PROVOST, L. (2005), ‘Teardowns reshape suburbs, and selling strategies’, New York Times, 21 August 2005, http://travel.nytimes.com/2005/08/21/realestate/21nati.html?_r=0 (accessed 2 January 2014) Google Scholar

PUENTES, R. and WARREN, D. (2006), One Fifth American: Comprehensive Guide to America’s First Suburbs, Washington, Brookings Institution.One Fifth American: Comprehensive Guide to America’s First Suburbs Google Scholar

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Pinnegar, Simon

Randolph, Bill

Freestone, Robert