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A world with less cars is on the horizon 02/07/2016

One of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of being involved in the development industry is the pioneering role the sector plays in shaping future communities.

One of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of being involved in the development industry is the pioneering role the sector plays in shaping future communities.

Developers, urban designers, planners, engineers and many others involved in property development study what is happening in innovative and cutting-edge technologies before creating communities that cater not only to the way we live now, but how we’ll live in years to come.

There are a range of changes occurring that will influence how we design communities in the future, including the growth of ride sharing and car sharing services, improved public transport accessibility and efficiency and technology, such as driverless cars, as well as changing work practices, increasing homebased businesses, digital commuting and self-employment.

All of these have one thing in common, they will ultimately result in less cars on the road. It is no longer inconceivable to imagine life with a drastically reduced number of cars in our major cities.

A world with less cars will certainly influence housing design and more broadly, community design. Currently, the car plays a major role in how urban development is designed with policies specifying requirements for parking, verge and street widths, traffic controls and much more.

These standards for road width, elevation, verges and curbs play a large part in the cost of urban development with current policy requirements based around most people using a private vehicle.

In terms of built form, minimum parking requirements have a significant impact on the cost of apartments and grouped dwellings due to land take, as well as the engineering and construction of parking facilities.

In detached housing, the common double garage also has a significant bearing on land take, lot size and flexibility of building design. All of which impact on housing affordability.

It is timely to consider the changes, as the State Government is reviewing one of the centre pieces of its urban planning framework – Liveable Neighbourhoods.

Liveable Neighbourhoods is an operational policy, which provides guidance on the planning and design of greenfield and large infill sites, with a huge impact on development outcomes, including dwelling yields and the ability to create walkable, liveable communities.

It is critical urban planning policies provide the flexibility to consider societal changes, particularly, in activity centres and locations less likely to be reliant on cars and more focused on providing a quality lifestyle for the future.

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