The Middle

--- Harris Kwong

--- Harris Kwong

Melbourne is an extremist city which has development paradoxes from super high-rise developments to singular detached dwellings, spread out in a rabid horizontal sprawl.
Gone are the days of an ideal density that existing in inner-city areas, which offered optimum productivity, convenience and urban placement. Where has the middle gone?

In recent years particularly the last two decades, the city of Melbourne has seen exponential growth, and sky-scraping residential towers to prove it. Our CBD now has a density which is more populated than any other Australian city, thanks to the boom in these super high rises.
There is now approximately 19,000 (This number is for CBD area only) per km², up 16,900 from two years ago, with no signs of slowing down. This is a worrying number as many of you would have felt or noticed the influx of strain on amenities, public transport and road networks, infrastructure and facilities.
The future of this concentrated living is comparable to cities like Tokyo (6,349/km2) and Hong Kong (6777/km²).

However, the contradiction is extreme within the seven-time most liveable city. Head out to the suburbs and you will find the urban fabric to be much sparser and in favour of horizontal sprawl. The favouritism owning a house and the great Australian Dream has implied stronger reliance on automobiles, and strain on trains and tram networks to connect our city. With houses becoming bigger and bigger, and greenfield/brownfield developments further and further from central Melbourne, the balance between work/home is affected, with the public putting in increased hours of travel to and from work, study, and social comforts.

Melbourne has been shying from developing medium scale developments, which would be the ideal typology to bring balance between density, affordable living, quality of life, and improved spatial design. Should more medium density developments be implemented, it would also garner requirements for dedicated public road and transport systems, without overstressing these networks.