By Natalie Rayment
Being the ‘King of Cool’, if Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli were a millennial he would have a deconstructed coffee and some smashed avo for breakfast at the local café, Arnold & Co. With a full beard to replace his sideburns, his look would be complete with skinny blue jeans and a vintage leather jacket. Asides from coolness, his place of residence is the one thing that he and the 1950s Fonz have in common: the loft above his neighbour’s garage is the most affordable place to live.
The Qld government wants to see more of these ‘Fonzie Flats’ and other ‘Missing Middle’ housing forms such ast the ‘plexes’ (duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes etc), row/terrace housing and medium rise apartments developed in South East Queensland (SEQ) over the next 25 years. The recently released Draft SEQ Regional Plan defines the ‘Missing Middle as “a form of housing offering greater density and diversity compatible with surrounding lower density residential environments”.
In other words, Missing Middle Housing acts as the diplomat for increased infill development. It is more compatible with low density housing forms that people are used to in Brisbane’s suburbs but still helps in achieving the region’s infill land supply benchmarks. This is important considering that the draft regional plan forecasts by 2041 that there will be 2 million extra people living in SEQ.
Missing Middle Housing has the potential to deliver good development outcomes featuring YIMBY Qld qualities such as community dividend (increased housing affordability and choice), sustainability (affordable living and ageing in place, less urban sprawl) and innovation (helping to solve a complex affordability problem). Anything that local governments can do to make it easier to supply the ‘Missing Middle’ will ultimately help improve affordability and ensure that ‘Millenial Fonzie’ still has a place to live.