As masterplanned communities play an important role in Western Australia’s residential fabric, West Real Estate spoke to a few key players in the development sector to get their take on what makes a successful masterplanned community.
For LWP Group Managing Director Brendan Acott, masterplanned communities are important for providing well-planned, coordinated development of new suburban areas that cater for residents of all age groups.
“A successful masterplanned community includes well-considered planning of roads, parks, education needs, community and civic spaces, and commercial centres to meet the daily needs of residents,” he said.
“They should also offer a diverse range of lot sizes, settings and price points to attract buyers from all ages and phases of life, as well as local employment opportunities.”
LWP’s flagship community, Ellenbrook, was named the world’s best masterplanned community in 2015 by the International Real Estate Federation, and was recognised by the Urban Development Institute of Australia in late 2017 as being one of the best planned suburbs in the country.
With more than 30,000 residents, Mr Acott said LWP was proud to be the developer of Ellenbrook, which continues to be developed 25 years on.
“Ellenbrook is a fantastic example of a community that contemplated development on a town scale, planned for community facilities upfront in conjunction with the local council and staged development and infrastructure provision in tandem,” he said.
Discussing how masterplanned communities had evolved in terms of design over the past three decades, Mr Acott said there was a greater focus on providing varying lot sizes.
“Thirty years ago, lots were typically all the same size,” he said. “Today there is a greater diversity of product which allows residents to stay within the community, as their housing and lifestyle needs change over time.”
While in the past urban design was largely focused on car movements, Mr Acott said there was a lot more emphasis on health and wellbeing through the creation of walkable neighbourhoods and better planning for public transport and the areas around it.
“In addition, retention of natural bush areas, waterwise landscaping and improvements in solar orientation of lots and house construction has created more sustainable outcomes,” he said.
“Another change is the absence of the cul-de-sac, with the creation of a more permeable street pattern that promotes a more connected community.”
In contrast to established neighbourhoods, which define their ecosystem over several decades, Mirvac General Manager Residential WA Paige Walker said masterplanned communities were essentially ready-made neighbourhoods that offered residents a place to live comfortably – with everything they needed in close proximity.
“A successful masterplanned community is one that buyers can see themselves living in long term, a community that supports lifestyle changes and allows residents to move through the housing cycle without having to leave their local area or established support networks,” she said.
According to Ms Walker, one of the biggest components reshaping the development of masterplanned communities is the inclusion of local amenities.
“The arrival of local amenity, including cafes, shops and childcare facilities, together with a reduction in lot sizes across the residential development landscape in the last 30 years has seen developers review the way amenity is established within masterplanned communities,” she said.
“Similarly, and in line with the significant advances in local amenity, our customers’ wants and needs have also changed. The desire to live an active lifestyle, coupled with energetic toddlers, infants and teenage children making up a significant portion of residents within these communities, has created a need for well-designed sporting fields, engaging play and exercise areas and established parklands to be a key feature across all masterplanned communities.
“Responding directly to the changing wants and needs of residents is Mirvac’s Iluma Private Estate development which was designed with a community of active residents in mind. On completion, the estate will be home to 3.8 hectares of green open space with six parklands, sporting facilities, walking trails, community market spaces and a central boulevard for residents to enjoy all year-round.”
For Stockland General Manager WA Residential Col Dutton, masterplanned communities are created with every part of life in mind and provide residents with quality communities that enhance modern-day living, walkability and connectivity to schools, local cafes, village hubs and transport links.
“A successful masterplanned community integrates industry best practise and anticipates changing consumer trends – building brand new communities that are of high quality and include innovative and sustainable building materials, along with the latest in smart technology,” he said.
Discussing an existing masterplanned community that Stockland commenced in the Piara Waters/Harrisdale area in 2000, Mr Dutton said the community was now thriving with more than 6000 residents.
Dubbed Newhaven, buyers have been drawn to the community’s lifestyle benefits, including walkways and bike trails, as well as the Piara Waters sports oval and pavilion, which is a world-class sporting facility for local football and cricket clubs.
To deliver a masterplanned community of this scale, Mr Dutton said the project required a huge amount of work and had created many new jobs over its 20-year life span, including town planners, engineers, hydrologists, architects, environmental scientists, civil construction and associated trades, builders and associated trades, landscapers, development management, and sales and marketing professionals.
“Piara Waters Primary School has grown from 200 students in 2012 to 900 students in 2020, resulting in a significant increase in employment opportunities within the education centre,” he said.
Rapid population growth within the community and surrounding areas has led to the delivery of an additional two primary schools and a high school within the vicinity.
The Newhaven community also includes Stockland Harrisdale Shopping Centre, which opened in 2016 and features major retailers such as Woolworths and Aldi, as well as 30 specialty stores and food outlets.
“The centre has created valuable jobs for the local residents, with more than 300 retail, hospitality and customer service jobs generated, as well as opportunities for small businesses within the local community,” Mr Dutton said.
“What once was the fringe of Perth’s urban development, Newhaven has established itself as a haven for new homebuyers. This commitment to outstanding masterplanning saw Newhaven residents rate their standard of living within the community at 94 per cent in the 2019 Stockland Liveability Index.”