Brisbane is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia and Brisbane City Council has released Brisbane’s Future Blueprint to guide the Council’s actions in shaping the future of Brisbane. While intended to improve planning and development outcomes for the city, the Blueprint presents a number of risks and challenges and has the potential to significantly change the form and function of the city.
More than 1300 people are moving to Brisbane each month and the city is expected to accommodate an additional 386,000 residents by 2041. To help manage future growth, the Council has undertaken one of its largest ever community consultations with more than 100,000 residents participating in the development of the Blueprint.
The Blueprint is based on eight guiding principles and 40 actions to shape Brisbane’s future. The principles and actions cover a wide range of matters, ranging from Council works and improvements, Council programs and initiatives, partnerships with local communities and business, and changes to planning policy and development standards.
The eight principles are:
The principles are supported by 40 actions, only some of which are directly related to planning and development. Some of the key actions relevant to future urban planning and development include:
While the principles and actions are typically high level statements and lack detail as to their implementation, it is apparent that many will impose new restrictions on development and many involve imposing higher standards on new development.
Some will welcome an increased focus on design, character and sustainability; however the effect of these on future development is uncertain. Property and development industry groups, for example, have already raised concerns about the risks and potential for adverse impacts on housing supply, diversity and costs. Also, some of the principles and actions are potentially contradictory or conflicting, such as intentions to enhance housing diversity whilst preserving suburban areas or encouraging greater activity and work opportunities in suburban areas while protecting existing character.
There are several actions focused on providing new opportunities and encouraging new types of urban development (such as better use of public land and rooftops). However, there is a strong theme in many of the actions on prohibition and increased regulation and the Blueprint appears to reflect a general dissatisfaction with existing suburban development outcomes in the city.
Brisbane faces a range of planning and development challenges to manage and accommodate future growth. The Council’s Blueprint, which seeks to guide future development, presents a number of opportunities for development but also has a strong focus on greater prohibition and regulation on suburban development with associated risks and costs.
Stafford Hopewell, Partner