Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Live and let live - as long as it's elsewhere

Tim Colebatch, today:

The NIMBY syndrome (Not In My Back Yard) has won Melbourne. A new survey finds 52 per cent of the city's residents oppose having more people in their suburb, and only 11 per cent favour it.

In a survey with bleak implications for governments, planners and developers trying to create a new Melbourne by building up rather than out, a Nielsen survey for the Productivity Commission has found a clear majority oppose residential redevelopment in their suburb.

The survey, of more 3000 Melbourne residents, found 53 per cent oppose redevelopments that replace single dwellings with units or apartments...

Such redevelopments have generated half of Melbourne's building approvals in the last year. The Brumby government had planned for them to house half the city's growth to 2030.

The ever-widening gap between housing prices in inner, middle and outer suburbs suggests that the big unmet demand for housing in Melbourne is from people wanting to live in inner and middle suburbs. But resident opposition has blocked many redevelopment plans to house them.

The survey, conducted for a commission report that benchmarks the states in planning, zoning and development assessments, suggests the resident activists reflect the views of their neighbours - not only in Melbourne, but almost everywhere.

People in Sydney were even more hostile to redevelopment, while Geelong was the most hostile of all. The only place where supporters outnumbered opponents was Mount Gambier.

Of Melbourne residents against having more people in their suburb, 86 per cent fear it would lead to increased traffic congestion, 56 per cent to increased noise, 48 per cent fear loss of street appeal, 37 per cent more crowded public transport, 35 per cent shadows from tall buildings, and 27 per cent fear it would lower their property's value.

Those who want more people around them say this would create more vibrant suburbs, attract more services, retailers and public transport, and lift property prices.

Some oppose not just redevelopment, but any development. The survey found 29 per cent oppose residential development in new areas - underlining how hostile Melbourne has become to population growth. It comes as the Bureau of Statistics reports that lending to rental investors in Victoria fell by 4 per cent in March from a year earlier.

6 comments:

The Lorax said...

Melbourne has enough apartments to last a decade.

The slow motion train wreck that is Melbourne real estate will accelerate when the RBA hikes in June or July.

I wonder how Melbourne home owners and property developers feel about the riches being bestowed on them by the mining boom?

Marek said...

Is there any historical data to see if this is higher or lower than in the past?

And did they ask why people felt this way?

Marek said...

Melbourne has enough apartments to last a decade.

there do seem to be plenty of empty ones around, but good luck buying or renting one at a reasonable price

MikeM said...

There are substantial benefits in living in a population-dense neighbourhood: better public transport potential, more opportunities for small business, public amenities and stuff you want to visit within walking distance of where you live, improved safety because there are almost always people on the streets, stronger pressure on local government to improve amenities, plant trees, upgrade public spaces and install cycle paths.

We live in Newtown on the western edge of the City of Sydney. Population density has followed a U-shaped curve: first as the two bedroom terrace houses such as ours, that once contained up to 5 or 6 members of up to three generations of a family were renovated to contain a yuppie couple, population density plummeted; then, as factories and warehouses have been converted to medium rise apartments and increasing numbers of families have discovered that they can adapt to apartment living and is increasing again.

Over the 30 years that we have been here but especially in the last few, public transport has improved, there are more supermarkets and more interesting shops, cafes and restaurants; night life is more vibrant, active street tree planting programs have improved the streetscape (and possibly even the microclimate).

The thriving Erskineville Road-Enmore Road-King Street shopping strip may be one of the biggest in the country and the 20 pubs and dozens of other small bars, cafes and restaurants within walking distance of Newtown railway station all seem to be doing excellent trade.

Families with children are moving back into the area (or maybe those already here are staying to have children). Erskineville Public School, which was threatened with closure half a decade ago due to shortage of children, is thriving again. The schools are good, parks and public playgrounds are plentiful and back street traffic is calm.

I'm sure our neighbourhood is far from unique, but no politician or town planner ever goes out there and promotes the benefits of increased population density.

Instead, it is left to the NIMBYs and BANANAs (of whom we still have our share) to rage against change.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget PIBBY!

It's a form of racism you know.

Keith said...

I think the NIMBY's have worked out that excessive population growth is the issue.
It is creating unsustainable pressure on all our infrastructure, in the process benefiting very few in our community and causing loss of quality of life for the vast majority of Australians

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