We got a great response from the public to our ‘Can I Be Your Neighbourhood’ campaign to save the Brisbane townhouse. Read about the issue below.
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
Households come in all shapes and sizes and our housing choice should too. However, apartments, rowhouses, duplexes, and independent granny flats have been progressively removed as allowable housing forms in the 70% of Brisbane zoned for low-density residential.
In 2019, Brisbane City Council proposed Major Amendment Package H to City Plan 2014, which would also ban townhouses from low-density residential neighbourhoods. This would leave detached single-family dwellings as the only allowable form of housing in the majority of our suburbs.
Removing townhouses from the mix has negative impacts from an economic, equitable, and environmental standpoint. It drives up house prices, as homes are bigger and therefore more expensive to buy. It also means that fewer households can live in a given area, creating a problem where demand vastly exceeds supply.
This leads to economic and social segregation, as neighbourhoods only house those who can afford (or desire) a single-family dwelling. First-time homeowners, childless couples, single parents, lower income–earners, and downsizers are left behind.
Finally, removing more compact forms of low-density dwelling exacerbates our city’s urban sprawl, which destroys biodiversity and increases car-reliance.
WHAT WE DID
YIMBY Qld ran our ‘Can I Be Your Neighbour’ campaign, which sought to create community awareness and put a human face on the debate. We wanted to get people thinking about the potential neighbours they would lose should the proposed amendment be adopted. Our goal was to garner visible public support and formal submissions against the proposed City Plan amendment.
We also sent our own submission, outlining our concerns about the proposed townhouse ban, which you can view here.
We ran our campaign through email, blogs, social media, events, and letterbox drops. We reached out to a wide group of industry and interest groups: design experts, academics, healthy community advocates, active transport groups, social housing providers, and people living in existing townhouses.
In the end, we received tremendous support for our campaign and are delighted that so many people took the time to promote good development outcomes for our city.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Unfortunately, Council adopted Major Amendment Package H and the ‘townhouse ban’ went into effect city-wide on 1 May 2020.
However, we are hopeful that we will see a reversal of these exclusionary zoning policies in the near future. Already, housing diversity monitoring figures show a slowing of ‘missing middle’ housing, while house and rent prices are only becoming less affordable.
YIMBY Qld continues to campaign for increased diversity in housing mix.