Town Planning Review

Design-led sustainable development: The Liveable Neighbourhoods experiment in Perth, Western Australia

Town Planning Review (2004), 75, (1), 31–65.

Abstract

The Western Australian Liveable Neighbourhoods Design Code is an ambitious and internally acclaimed initiative to introduce sustainable neighbourhood design principles into the design of new suburban subdivisions. This paper explores the issues surrounding its implementation over the period 1998–2002, examining the debates and further research undertaken on each of the design principles. A broad assessment is made of its significant impact on suburban design in the Perth Metropolitan Region, and note is taken of its arguably greater impacts on redevelopment and revitalisation projects in existing urban areas. The key barriers to its wider adoption have been both procedural (slowness in processing applications and deficiencies in the skills of development controllers and engineers) and substantive (issues of appropriate densities, lot sizes, retail and service provisions, culs-de-sac and biodiversity). The paper illustrates how debates about each of these issues have met developer resistance, which has dogged the implementation of the Code. More positively, however, it illustrates that where the Code accords with market trends there has been significant progress in developing potentially more sustainable patterns of development. However, the achieved densities remain low by all but Australian and North American standards, and have not increased significantly over the lifetime of the Code.

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Author details

Curtis, Carey

Punter, John