GREG Forgan-Smith says people will accept high-density living.
GREG Forgan-Smith says people will accept high-density living. Tweed Daily News

High-density living set to keep rising

A HIGH-PROFILE Gold Coast architect has warned higher-density living is a must if the region is to meet the need for 143,000 new homes by 2031 and stop housing expanding into far-flung parts of the Tweed Valley.

Greg Forgan-Smith warned that a “green-field land shortage” would force developers to follow the high-density European style “rather than the present American style of never-ending suburban sprawl”.

He said that by 2016 planned broad-acre residential land in the Gold Coast City area would be used up, forcing many developers to look at “higher-density residential solutions over land that has already been urbanised”.

Mr Forgan-Smith, who yesterday addressed a Surfers Paradise conference attended by various Tweed developers and business people, said that “in a relatively short space of time 40 per cent of habitable buildings on the Gold Coast” had become higher density than the traditional detached house.

“Twice as many people live in apartments, flats and townhouses compared with all other Australian cities,” he said.

“Developers have long preferred going up to balance the higher cost of land.

“Costs increase when there is a shortage in a city desperate for open space.

“Medium-density living has arrived and, whether people like it or not, they should focus on the many positives in the trend.”

Mr Forgan-Smith predicted developers and councils would respond to research indicating it was difficult to cap growth and instead would manage growth “more wisely in the types of buildings they create and the quality public spaces they leave behind”.

“Commercial buildings will become much greener, too,” he said.

“They will be far more energy and cost-efficient, have a longer life term before renewal as well as providing a healthier working environment.”

Mr Forgan-Smith said the greatest challenge would “come shortly, when the harsh realities of growth clash with the cumbersome legislative processes of government”.

Mr Forgan-Smith was one of 16 speakers at the Turning Point 2010 development industry conference at the Marriott Resort Hotel.

He is vice-president of Sustainable Development Gold Coast Inc, the conference organiser.

The world-travelled architect also revealed the Surfers Paradise glitter strip surprisingly had more people per hectare living there than London or Paris.

He claimed “work, sleeping and recreation areas are more uniformly distributed and better connected than most others in the world - notwithstanding public transport issues”.



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