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Should Adelaide Go High Rise?

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by James Newcombe (subscribe)
Freelance writer for feature articles, web content and blogs. Specializing in non-fiction articles on a range of subjects including lifestyle, travel, architecture and product reviews.
Published May 16th 2013
The Parade Norwood Adelaide
Four storeys could work along the Parade (if it was sensitively designed) which has good shops, services and public transport.


Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Council has proposed to allow buildings up to six storeys to be built on The Parade; buildings between five and 10 storeys on selected sites in Kent Town and buildings up to four storeys along the Linear Park. The changes would be in line with the State Government's 30-Year Plan, which predicts a population increase of 560,000 across greater Adelaide.

Apartments at 14-15 Dequetteville tce Kent Town adelaide
Modern 8-10 storey apartments at 14-15 Dequetteville tce Kent Town.


I'm a bit surprised at the public outrage over this. Do people really expect to live in a major city in the CBD in a house on a single allotment? In Europe it is very common to have 4-6 storey apartment blocks in the CBD and surrounds of major cities.

North terrace Kent Town Hackney Lodge
Hackney Lodge at no 1 North terrace Kent Town with the ugly 10 storey North terrace house in the background. I'm surprised the Hackney Lodge site has not been developed into more modern high rise apartments being so close to the CBD.


But don't get me wrong, I'm all for and love the stone-fronted cottage, and preserving good examples of heritage buildings and streetscapes to get a sense of what Adelaide used to be like. There must be a way of getting the balance right, preserving what is good, but also producing a modern, functional city that looks to the future as well.

Tecvs Architects apartments Adelaide Channel 7 site Park tce Gilberton
This attractive looking development on the former Channel 7 site is now to be scaled back in size with the Real estate agents refunding deposits. Image courtesy of Tecvs Architects website


Four storey apartments, if well located and sensitively designed, could work in some locations along the Linear Park as well. The State Government also has plans for high-rise buildings on Greenhill and Fullarton roads. Buildings up to 10 storeys would be allowed around the Glen Osmond Rd entrance to the parklands, and seven storeys along the rest of Fullarton and Greenhill roads.

Air apartments on Greenhill rd Adelaide existing office building (ETSA)
Air apartments on Greenhill rd is a great example of converting an existing office building (ETSA) into a modern multi- story apartment complex.


There is a strong argument for having more people living in the CBD and surrounds. It reduces urban sprawl, puts less strain on public transport (reducing the commute to work), brings life into the city after hours, and attracts new business to support the additional population.

The Watson. Adelaide Existing Transport SA office building Walkerville modern apartments
The Watson. This existing Transport SA office building at Walkerville is being converted into modern apartments. Although it was obviously cheaper to retain the existing shell, a brand new building would have given the opportunity to design something more aesthetically pleasing.


The Adelaide City Council has recently weighed into the debate today on Adelaide Now arguing that high rise buildings around the parklands will spoil vistas to the Adelaide hills.

What do you think? Leave a comment.
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Perhaps the root of the problem is that nobody asked the electors what they felt about increasing the population by that 560,000? It presumably won't happen naturally.

It seems quite ironic that the Federal Government spends billions to encourage sustainability, while the State Government and Property Council simply would like us to produce as many babies as humanly possible to keep workers in employment and property developers comfortably wealthy in their castles.

They don't seem to understand that there are finite resources on the planet.
It's not rocket science to understand motivations here!
by Dave Walsh (score: 3|7475) 502 days ago
I think Adelaide needs to increase its population, but not outward as it has in the past: there are vast underdeveloped areas in the western suburbs virtually devoid of life, which could be redeveloped with medium density housing up to say 3-6 levels. People also want a mix of residential styles and not everyone can afford an inner urban house on 600 sqm. We need to increase density, to go up, to increase efficiency in all respects but we need to do it sensitively, with predetermined and clear rules. People have said medium density produces social ills- well this would mean that 99% of the glamourous cities of the world are just pits of depravity. And this is worse than the wasteland of the north western suburbs? I don't think so. high rise does not have to be staright up and down blocks of horror- they can be terraced wonderlands with hanging gardens and zero carbon footprint, if people want them to be. blocking views to the hills?: I was driving up Greenhill road, and the last thing on my mind was the hills: rather the insidious tailgaiters and the need to drive in peak hour petrol sniffing mayhem were my concerns, and if I got out and walked, the view to the hills was blocked by a bunch of gratuitously ugly commericial exercises in egoism...and if I crossed to the parkland side of the road, I would have been somewhat concerned about my safety- so I stayed on the south side and put up with the lame attempts at stained '80's architecture. sometimes I think Adelaide needs to go "vertical", just to give the Architects some scope to design something decent, rather than the squat poo brown horizontality that characterises Adelaide and its inner suburbs. We need a bit of razzamataz!!
by blove (score: 0|9) 499 days ago

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