Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary Extended

Urban Growth Boundary 9 June 2010

Urban Growth Boundary PDF [Source: Department of Planning and Community Development]

Planning Minister Justin Madden recently announced the expansion of Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary with the release of an additional 24,500 hectares of land.

Melbourne @ 5 million is a detailed strategy to build an additional 600,000 new dwellings over the next 20 years – 284,000 of these will be in new communities like those created within an expanded UGB. Making 24,500 hectares available for housing double’s Melbourne’s land supply which will keep housing affordable and ensure that growth happens in a managed and sustainable way,” said Mr Madden.

Let’s take a further look at these figures in terms of housing density:

If we assume that all 284,000 dwellings targeted for new communities are built within the expanded UGB area only:

284,000 dwellings / 24,500 hectares = 12 dw/ha

If we increase the density to include all 600,000 new dwellings:

600,000 dwellings / 24,500 hectares = 25 dw/ha

It should be noted that there are different methods for measuring density. Our calculations assume that the dwellings ‘share’ their land area with associated infrastructure (public transport, streets, etc) and non-residential programme (community facilities, shops, etc). Therefore, the 12 dwellings in the first example may need to be built on 80% of the hectare if the additional 20% is required for other uses.


Doncaster 'snapshot' overlayed onto the MCG

Doncaster overlay [Source: Visual City from Google Map base]

Sunshine 'snapshot' overlayed onto the MCG

Sunshine overlay [Source: Visual City from Google Map base]

To compare these densities with existing suburban development the above diagrams overlay areas of Doncaster and Sunshine onto the 2 ha playing surface of the MCG. The density within these suburban ‘snapshots’ exceeds the 12 dw/ha from the first calculation.

While definitions of low, medium and high density housing vary, densities of 12-25 dw/ha would generally fall within low density targets. With Melbourne having one of the largest urban footprints in the world, will the latest UGB expansion and associated housing numbers provide a model for sustainable growth?

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