Ad hoc redevelopment in inner Brisbane
In a recent paper published in Urban Geography we analyse the influence of the underlying urban frame – being the structure of streets and property parcels –on the urban form. Using ArcGIS, we plot property boundary change over time, over seven suburbs in inner Brisbane and analyse what changes to urban form occur following the boundary change.
We found that redevelopment was characterised by ad hoc redevelopment, favouring parcels that were easily transformed. Most redevelopment occurred on properties with a detached house, which are attractive to small-scale developers. The observed developments were generally contrary to the aspirations outlined in relevant planning schemes, which encourage targeted redevelopment that is of a mixed use, concentrated around existing transport or activity centres and of a higher density. In fact, the difficulty of property boundary change may in fact incentivise further urban sprawl.
Rezoning does not guarantee positive development outcomes
We also undertook research to analyse how urban consolidation can be achieved despite the fixity of existing parcel sizes. In a paper recently published in Land Use Policy, we look at where parcel reconfigurations in the same Brisbane inner suburbs can be used to achieve densification. Redevelopments which resulted in the construction of apartment buildings were analysed, and our findings show that most apartment buildings were constructed on amalgamated lots on brownfield land.
We found that rezoning to high densities did not guarantee redevelopment outcomes – and that the difficulty of assembling the parcel sizes required for higher density development may inhibit the ability to deliver high amenity developments which provide a benefit to existing and future residents.
Both papers contribute to the growing need to review our planning framework so that both government and developers alike can overcome the constraints of property boundaries, and the purported benefits of urban consolidation can become a reality.