They put the trees in before the people.  Buildings set back from the street, wide verges, wide verge gardens & street trees, as well as trees outside each ground floor unit.

They put the trees in before the people. Buildings set back from the street, wide verges, wide verge gardens & street trees, as well as trees outside each ground floor unit.

This is right beside the rail line.

This is right beside the rail line. 

Last week we wandered around a new high-rise housing complex in Erskineville & we were impressed.  The development included a few of what I believe are fundamental elements in providing housing that is humane & livable & not just building a ghetto for the sake of a developer’s profits.

None of the buildings have been built right to the footpath, which unfortunately seems to be the norm in the high-rise development that has been happening across Marrickville & Dulwich Hill over the past couple of years. Instead, the buildings are set back from the street, providing room for street trees, verge gardens & other landscaping, as well as pedestrians.

The spaces between buildings are more than pedestrian thoroughfares. They are attractive green spaces with plenty of seating under the shade of trees. These are places for people to meet, people to read a paper, or just sit.

Once the trees have grown there will be plenty of shade throughout the streets & between apartment blocks. Of interest is that all the newly planted trees are already tall. That developer has already provided many substantial trees before those homes are inhabited.

This community won’t be waiting 5-years plus for trees to grow to where they start providing a modicum of benefit. I’ll bet that incidence of tree vandalism will be low to non-existent because of their size.

Ground-floor apartments have a tree in their small front garden. This tree will provide shade, privacy, a green outlook & importantly, protection from particulate matter in air pollution. Many of the trees will provide the same benefits for people in the floors above. This is evident by the gum trees in the neighbouring development that are already 6-storeys tall.

Mature trees have been retained where possible, rather than removing every tree from the block before building.  Trees & landscaping have been used to add attractiveness to the apartment blocks.

Having buildings set back from the street & separated from each other improves quality of life for the residents. Noise levels from traffic & trains would be less. Noise from other apartment blocks would also be less.

The roads have been made into single lanes with regular in-street tree planting. Underground parking has been provided, leaving the street parking for visitors.

This development has been built along the railway line. The area in front of the railway line has been planted both with trees & other plants. The trees & landscaping will help buffer the noise from passing trains, as well as provide a wall of green for people to look at.

Shop space has been included, but not as a line of shops underneath an apartment building. They are generally one shop space on a corner of an apartment block & one already looks set to be a café.   In comparison, The Revolution apartments in Marrickville currently have a DA to make the large shop space underneath the apartments into a gambling den serving alcohol until something like 2am.

It’s all very new right now & much of the development is still being built. However, what they have done is show that high-rise living can be built in a way that seriously respects the well-being of the people who will live there.

The norm in high density should be room to move outside, green leafy streets & quiet spaces within & around the complex. Seems that many developers surrender their social responsibility to provide adequate green space in their developments to the possibility that there may be a public park nearby.  New high-rise development should not be squashed-in to maximize profit.  In this development, they seem to be taking their social responsibilities seriously.  Kudos.

Marrickville municipality developers and councilors who go for substandard plans should learn a lesson from this development. Architects should learn not to downgrade what designs & facilities they put into their plans to just what the law requires. We must keep in mind that our municipality has the lowest ratio of green public space across the country.

Even if Marrickville municipality developers, architects & councillors do not wish to play a leadership role, they can as a minimum just follow good examples, like this development, which is just a few metres outside our municipality.

Another section beside the rail line.  Street trees are still being planted.

Another section beside the rail line. Street trees are still being planted.  This verge is a swale to capture water that comes down from the rail line.

Everywhere are verge gardens on either side of the path.  Nowhere does concrete actually meet the building wall.

Everywhere are verge gardens on either side of the path. It’s only in a few places where concrete actually meets the building wall.

A tree outside every unit, plus a verge garden & street trees.  Before long this area will be very leafy, green, cool & shady.

A tree outside every unit, plus a verge garden & street trees. Before long this area will be very leafy, green, cool & shady.

This is a new development next door where people are already living.  Note the tall gum trees everywhere.  There are also lots of other big shady trees in this development, including fig trees.

This is a new development next door where people are already living. Note the tall gum trees everywhere. There is tons of landsaping & also lots of other big shady trees in this development, including fig trees.  This is far better than a high-rise apartment block built directly to the footpath.  

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