One thing that concerns me about the growing popularity of Tiny Houses is the potential for Tiny Sprawl.
Like me, many people love the idea of a quaint little cottage surrounded by garden that would be both affordable and sustainable. However that means we continue to develop outwards, using land in an inefficient manner at the expense of our wetlands, green spaces and urban bush. We need to make better use of the existing urban footprint.
Typical urban development in the UK
As I travelled through the United Kingdom last week, it struck me how much green space, fields, woods, farms and even castles there are between each of the towns and cities.
The UK has a population of 64 million people, two and a half times that of Australia, and it’s land mass is just 243,610 km². Meanwhile, just 9- 15% of the land area is classified as urban or is built on. This reflects my observation about the vast amount of green space in the densely populated country. To compare, Australia’s population is 24 million and land area is 7.68 million km².
So how do they do it? House a mammoth population on a tiny island and keep the local character and green belt in tact? Continue reading
This month’s Special Projects Committee progressed changes for Hilton local centre along South Street and in doing so, increased the viability of light rail.
South Street was identified as a desirable light rail route in the future to better connect Murdoch train station, the university and hospitals to Fremantle with fast efficient public transport. Despite this already having a high frequency bus route, the state government (and some detractors) don’t think there is enough patronage growth or activity along this road to justify planning for light rail.
As always, it’s a chicken and egg matter.
Which comes first? The light rail, or the development? Continue reading
Council Chamber- where everyone is welcome
Transparency and accountability of the Council is a high priority for many people in Fremantle. This was reflected in the most recent community perception survey.
Genuine community engagement has been something I hold very dear and work hard to ensure and facilitate.
About 18 months ago, I became the Chair of a new Council committee formed to do just that. The Special Projects Committee (SPC) was established so that crucial informal discussions – that had previously been held behind closed doors – became open to the public. Continue reading
Public comment is now being sought on the bold proposal to upgrade Kings Square and the surrounding buildings.
For the past 12 months, the Council and staff have been working to scope this project to make sure that it will deliver the kind of high quality buildings, public open space and new employment opportunities that Fremantle rightfully deserves and demands. I can confidently say that I think this project will deliver outcomes that most people would be very pleased to see.
To me, the image published on the cover of the Herald (16/11/12) was not the best impression of what is being planned. I have posted some others here – so you can a better sense of what is in store. Continue reading
An artists impression of what the Fremantle tram could look like
Last week, as part of my work on transport issues with (Greens) Senator Scott Ludlam, I conducted four public forums seeking community feedback on the State Government’s 20 year public transport plan for Perth (www.transport.wa.gov.au/ABOUT_P_PT_Plan2031.pdf).
On Thursday the final session was in Fremantle, with about 40 people participating. The key issues raised by participants were:
- better intergration with bicycles
- approaches to train stations be more pedestrian friendly
- prioritise rail over roads
- light rail rather than bus rapid transit for Fremantle region by 2020 (particularly to cope with Murdoch Activity Centre and Cockburn Coast) Continue reading
One of the most frequent questions I am being asked while door knocking is what my position is on the development and height issue in Fremantle.
There is often a tension between new development, height and heritage in Fremantle – and there are no simple answers. My position is: