Australia Asia Pacific

Design innovation puts Queensland communities on fast-track to liveable future

Design innovation puts Queensland communities on fast-track to liveable future

    As featured in The Courier Mail's September 'New Communities' lift out, hot competition among South East Queensland’s masterplanned communities is driving innovation in development and setting the Sunshine State up as a world leader in the creation of liveable cities of the future.


    RPS Discipline Leader of Urban Design Peter Egerton said South East Queensland was fortunate to have a growing number of masterplanned communities which were trying to outdo each other in an effort to attract homebuyers.

    “This one-upmanship is fantastic as it’s setting the pace for innovation in masterplanned communities internationally – I don’t think anywhere in the United States is growing like South East Queensland,” Mr Egerton said.

    “We’ve even seen delegations of US local government officials visit Queensland in recent years because we’re trending ahead of some parts of America.”

    Mr Egerton said some of Australia’s emerging master planned communities were 20-30 year projects which meant designers and urban planners were already looking decades into the future to predict trends.

    “Designing a masterplanned community is all about trying to predict future trends now,” he said.

    “We’re trying to figure out how people might live in decades to come, what lifestyle trends will be dominant, whether more people will be working from home and how driverless cars might impact on infrastructure.”

    Technology trends such as shared battery storage, remotely-monitored homes and community charging points for electric cars would continue to evolve quickly and developers would need to keep up with technology trends to meet buyer expectations.

    Mr Egerton said there were five main short-term future trends emerging within master planned communities within Australia for the next two decades:

    Community creation 

    There is an increasing focus on activities within communities that are designed to bring residents together, such as resident events, festivals, free exercise sessions, community groups and sporting clubs. Many developers are appointing dedicated community liaison officers to manage events.


    A diverse range of housing styles are being incorporated into community masterplans to make them appealing to a wider range of homebuyers. This includes townhouses, terraces, detached homes and apartments.

    Design quality 

    From street furniture and public art to signage and light poles, the visual appeal of masterplanned communities is becoming increasingly important as buyer expectations continue to rise.

    Outdoor fitness spaces 

    Our increasing interest in health and fitness has seen the rise of the linear park, spaces which are designed to take you somewhere and are perfect for jogging, walking, cycling and other physical activities or simply travelling throughout the community without hopping in a car.


    Creating the ideal lifestyle for residents is an essential part of designing a successful community. Cafes, shops and state-of-the-art playgrounds are becoming mandatory, and places to escape the stresses of modern life such as parkland and lakes are on the must-have list.

    Mr Egerton said a number of long-term trends were also predicted for masterplanned communities both in Australia and internationally, including the introduction of the sharing economy into the residential environment.

    For example, this could translate to people owning spaces within houses such as bedrooms and ensuites but sharing (or renting) common spaces such as living areas and kitchens.

    “This is really a response to the millennials who are slower to move out of the family home due to a range of reasons including affordability, but are digitally savvy and already use to the sharing economy in areas like car sharing and holiday accommodation,” Mr Egerton said.

    “Overseas, we’re seeing the emergence of high-rise apartment developments which are built and owned by superannuation funds with the sole purpose to rent units out in perpetuity to help with housing affordability.

    “This is now about to hit Australia, with Mirvac Group just announcing it is getting ready to launch the first Australian build-to-rent apartment scheme.”

    The way land uses interact within a community’s masterplan will also change, with designers likely to shift from current “one-dimensional” land uses where each area has a specific zoning to the sharing of spaces and facilities as seen in inner-city areas.

    Mr Egerton said this could see more instances of schools sharing sporting and other facilities with the community, smaller urban parks located within school sites and shopping precincts, and residential apartments in the same building as commercial offices and cafes and shops.

    Enquiries: Lauren Bonser or Lara Thompson on (07) 3237 8899

    Image Credit: Avid Property Group


    26 September 2017