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Melbourne’s green developments: a market cop-out?

Melbourne’s green developments: a market cop-out?

Under a "Green" label, the developer Delfin Lend Lease is proposing the largest housing development in Victoria. This new development would be located outside Melbourne 2030's growth boundary. According to the media, the Victorian government has not yet given the go ahead.

The Victorian government has produced and promoted Melbourne 2030 on the basis of sustainable development and controlled urban sprawl. Is the government going to meet its commitment to the public?

We vote, we trust (kind of) that they will represent our interests, they tell us that there will be a boundary to urban sprawl… and then… “Green mega-suburb push” !

If green means to have lots of trees, wetlands, and parks, ok, Delfin Lend Lease does all these.
If green is on the other hand a social approach to sustainability, Delfin Lend Lease does not do this. Why should they in any case? They are a business, not the government.

Here my test:
Note: I have suggested some results from my experience working with those developments--applicable to most developers (it is by no means tested but you will get an idea. Better still, visit these places)
    • Number of corner shops in their developments = I would dare to say 0… maybe one, someone who escaped the by-laws. Now, why such by laws? What is the role of large supermarkets chains in these decisions? Back to you journalists! • Walkable cities???? I think I remember that each household performs an average of 12 car trips a day! From buying the milk to dropping kids to schools. Believe it or not, these green developers almost invariably will say something along the lines of, ‘walking is not how people like to buy the milk today’. • Walking as part of the day-to-day activities (outside organised recreation) = minimum to 0 • Children cycling as part of their day-to-day activities (outside organised recreation) = minimum • Therefore, children's chances of spontaneous socialisation and becoming street-wise= 0 • Health and overweight = ???? • Number of cars in each house= 2, 3, 4… • Civic public spaces (not to be confused with shopping malls or green wedges) = 0 • Regular buses – regular means every 10 minutes max. (as for any other developed city), everyday including Sunday and nights (part of the week too) = 0 • Number of sole parents = pretty much 0 • Number of unemployed= pretty much 0, maybe 1, 2? • "
Fountain Gate" syndrome? (By this I mean aspirational economic pretence): full of it, this is how the developer views ‘economic sustainability’. People move within the development. From a village labelled and themed ‘wooden cottages’, to a village labelled and themed ‘golden arches’ (my fictitious names, but very close). These developments actually use arches and gates to accentuate the theme and to give people a fabricated sense of ‘belonging’ and of moving up the housing market. A bit cynic? Yes, they are.
• Size of houses = the largest possible is still a preferred option. Waste of natural resources and space = very high
• Relationship between the development and the rest of the city = poor to extremely poor. Most of these developments look inward—large continuous fencing along their sides demonstrates how much they value the rest of the city. This has something to do with not wanting to spend on building roads in which they can only develop on one side—an economic decision.
• Can anyone live there as it would be for the rest of the city? The answer is NO. People (families) are interviewed to assess their suitability to the new “community”. It is difficult to know exactly what the suitability criterion is.
• So, is this a suburb like any other in the city = no. As far as I know no city council interviews people before admitting them in their "community".
• Then how can public transport be integrated to this new development and still serve the interest of the larger population???? Will there be conflicts of interest????
• Are the issues highlighted above the fault of developers? This is my opinion and I hope you want to debate it. No, developers are businesses and do what businesses do best—maximise their profit. Governments are there to provide and care for the interests of society and the city. Governments are supposed to be educated and to be able to lead social and environmental sustainability through democratic processes.

The following article by Royce Miller provides information about this proposed new development, outside Melbourne 2030’s growth boundary :
Green mega-suburb push
Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders
September 24, 2007
AUSTRALIA'S largest property developer wants to build a new suburb the size of Shepparton 30 kilometres to the north of Melbourne that would controversially stretch the city's boundaries.

The $4.5 billion Delfin Lend Lease project, one of the largest single developments in Melbourne's history, is just beyond the State Government's urban growth boundary.
The scheme, known as Lockerbie, would involve turning farmland next to the Hume Highway at Kalkallo into 13,000 lots to house up to 35,000 people. That is more than 50 per cent bigger than Delfin's other large-scale Victorian project at Caroline Springs in Melbourne's west.

Delfin is pitching Lockerbie to the Government as an innovative, green community. As a sweetener, it is offering to pay for public transport infrastructure, including a V/Line railway station and a bus network....

Continue reading this article: The Age, Green mega-suburb push


  • edited January 1970
    As I slowly trawl through this forum I keep finding things I want to talk about.
    This one is outrageous.
    I am studying building design and a strong component driven home by our teachers (both architects and designers bar one McMansion fan) is that we must first and foremost decide if what we are doing is enviromentaly sound. That is before we set out a floorplan, decide on materials or situate it on a site, we have to think 'is it green?'. This is something I have thought upon and trumpeted about many times before starting the course but even I have learnt from my passionate teachers many more useful observations for my intended career.
    In private my two main teachers both despair at the number of students who just don't get it, and who subsequently go on to happily work as draftees and CAD monkeys for such major offenders as Delfin Lend Lease.
    This sort of enviromental 'desacration', in the truest sense of the word as in both physically and philisophically, has to be discouraged. That it makes money for some greedy f... is not nearly as important than the fact that it will cost all of us huge sums in social support for the disaster victims who will surely emerge dazed and befuddled from its souless plazas and 'homeless' homes. Never mind it seems ,what resourses are wasted yet again on 13,000 feckless McMansions.
    Sure it makes money and creates jobs but it costs much more money to clean up the huge mess and power the one billion light bulbs the bloody place is going to use and employ the counsellors for the thousands of isolated social tragedies that quickly descend into a deep depression as soon as the first supermarket brochure pushes their first electricity bill out of the brick veneered mail box.
    This is an issue to be tackled by Architects, planners, 'greenies' of every hue, polititians of every hue, teachers, anyone really who remotely cares about the enviroment and a society worth living in. I for one will campaign till my last breath for socially responsible housing as the first and most effective bulwark to the problem of global warming for the 'individual consumer' in our society.
    But we have to convince the government that second to reafforestation, housing stock is the best place to start if the government wants to make a differance with global warming. BAN THE McMANSION should be waved on placards as it will be far more effective to do that than to use cloth shopping bags or even to drive hybrid cars and use more public transport. No one single social practice in Australia (and America for that matter) use more resourses to create, and then use, and then demolish, than housing stock. No one single social practice creates more victims of depression and social collapse than isolating people in these 'driven by profit' mass obscenities.
    It is not a matter of personal choice anymore to abuse the heck out of the enviroment. It is not Green and never will be to build such things. It has to turn around because it is soon to be, no, it is right now, a matter of life and death, and I don't just mean the high level of personal suicide in such housing estates. I am talking about genuinly sustainable development of housing. It is litterally killing us all by contributing dissproportionatley to global warming. We cannot allow this course of action to continue because it is mass suicide.
    Check out Dutch Town Planning in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities for existing examples of socially and enviromentally responsible mass developments, and then compare that to the shite that Delfin Lend Lease is proposing and have built at Caroline springs. Lockerbie will be yet another 'Plan Crash' that could have been avoided, if we as architects and designers took some responsability instead of leaving it to the greedy f...s to decide what's best for us all. Perhaps that's the 'Genuine Architectural Movement' Micheal Markham is praying for, something, anything that outwieghs the opinion of a developer that their right to make a buck is more important than everyone elses right to a life.
  • edited January 1970
    I am very glad that your have taken the time to respond to this topic Simon, it is a very important issue that impact on most of our cities, yet, developers are the sacred cows of this country. It is important to question what is being produced and to challenge the romantic fallacies that litter our conversations about suburbia and 'communities'. We may address this topic on our next forum (2008) and hopefully we can also establish more links with people, students, schools, shopping centers etc. And I hope you join us in our work at arch-peace one of these days...
  • edited January 1970
    Dear Beatriz. I am already joined in the work at Arch-Peace. I may not be in person able to assist directly with many things that you are working on, but for many years I have decried the shambles that is foisted upon us by 'developers'. BUT, they do have a place in society and my efforts are directed to putting them back in it.
    Ethos and philosophy, and by extension the building of a socially and enviromentally responsible 'built enviroment' by well educated designers and architects is a human nessecity on a par with properly educated doctors and surgeons.
    We do not continue to let barbers and butchers cut us up and just so we cannot continue to let developers decide how our cities will fuction or disfunction as is the case with most developments.
    The age of the Brick Veneereal Mc Mansion is drawing to a close but only by designers and architects taking up their rightful status as inspired artists worth listening to will that 'sacred cow' finally have its neck slit. In my course I have two student collegues who feel as passionately as I do about ridding the earth of this dearth of soul when it comes to what we all ultimately must live with. You are not alone and have many people joining your course of action of whom you know nothing as yet. Do not despair or tire of it for want of colleagues. We are with you in spirit at least, but that is actually quite a lot when you recognise just how many people are truelly beside you in thier own ways and means.
  • edited January 1970
    Sorry, I didn't know you had already joined! In any case, your contribution to the forum is most appreciated :D
  • edited January 1970
    Dear Beatriz. I didn't mean that I have actually joined Arch-Peace. I mean that I am joined in your causes, at least the ones that I am aware of and can recognise as being causes you stand for. By that I mean I don't actually have to join you as a signed up member to join you in the cause of peace (and by prerequesite, sustainable living) via the functions of intergrating the built enviroment into the needs of the natural enviroment. And my own personal predeliction to getting steamed up about selfish developers and shortsighted development per se, and telling all who'll listen. But send me an application form and I would consider it. Regards, Simon
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