HOME to more than two million people and stretching from Two Rocks in the north to Bouvard in the south, the Perth and Peel regions have undergone a radical transformation over the past few decades.

As WA’s economy prospered, the population has soared and the subsequent demand for homes, jobs and associated infrastructure resulted in a city that today sprawls more than 150km.

Even as WA’s mining construction boom slows, Perth continues to be Australia’s fastest growing capital city.

While it took 180 years to reach two million people, it is anticipated more than 3.5 million people will live in Perth and Peel by 2050 – a 75 per cent rise.

This growth brings opportunities, but also places increased – and unsustainable – pressure on our natural environment, economic wellbeing and way of life, according to Planning Minister John Day.

Perth's urban footprint in 1925 spanned 66 square kilometres. From Draft Perth and Peel@3

Perth’s urban footprint in 1925 spanned 66 square km.

The Barnett Government has now released landmark plans for comment that will shape growth for the next 35 to 40 years and make a case for why a “shift in thinking” is needed.

Together with four draft sub-regional planning frameworks, Perth and Peel @3.5million defines where population growth can be best accommodated, where employment opportunities should be located and where areas of significant environmental value should be protected.

Mr Day said the frameworks focused on “urban consolidation”, with almost half the required 800,000 new homes created through infill.

“We are expecting a substantial increase in population over the next 35 years of another 1.5 million people, compared to the current two million people we have – that’s not far off doubling,” Mr Day said.

“We need to accommodate a lot more people in the Perth and Peel regions and to do that by relying excessively on continued greenfields development – in other words, urban sprawl – does mean Perth becomes quite unsustainable and dysfunctional across the whole metropolitan area.

“Therefore, we need to focus more on urban consolidation and making use of existing well-developed areas and where there is well-developed infrastructure, particularly public transport.

“We can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing for much of the last century… We need to go further in relation to providing more residential development from existing urban areas.”

Opportunities for higher-density residential development, particularly around “activity centres”, station precincts and along high-frequency public transport routes, are provided in the draft frameworks.

Perth's urban footprint in 1974 spanned 378 square kilometres. From Draft Perth and Peel@

Perth’s urban footprint in 1974 spanned 378 square kms.

The goal is a “more compact and connected city” by encouraging infill housing in existing suburbs.

This will drive jobs growth in centres such as Midland, Armadale, Cannington, Fremantle, Joondalup and Stirling.

“Perth, initially, was quite clearly planned around the car. At that time we had plenty of land and the distances travelled were a lot less,” WA Planning Commission chairman Eric Lumsden said.

“Infill is already taking place because the demographics have changed from a population of people who are born post-war – the baby-boomers – and we now have more immigration and people, both older and younger, who are looking for different lifestyles.

“They don’t necessarily want the ‘four by two (home)’ or continually want to travel to the outskirts of Perth. They want to be ‘time rich’, not ‘time poor’. They are also looking for better housing choices and affordability around existing centres.”

Three years in the making, Mr Lumsden said it was the most detailed blueprint for Perth’s future since the Stephenson and Hepburn Plan of 1955, which guided the expansion of the metropolitan region for half a century.

“It’s not just an urban development document, this is real balanced land-use planning document for the future of Perth and Peel. It’s incredibly important to get it right for the future,” he said.


Read more:  www.perthnow.com.au/news/special-features/how-your-backyard-fits-into-perths-future/story-fnknbeni-1227323009819