Wearing out the shoe leather on site tours in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia in recent weeks, I’ve seen first-hand some of the world’s best urban renewal community projects. Returning to Australia, I can safely say we are delivering community-scale projects that are up there with the world's best.
Famous for its oversized roundabout and its evocative name, London’s Elephant and Castle is being transformed by Australia’s own Lendlease as nearly 3,000 new homes and a brand-new park take shape.
Homes in Elephant Park will be around 30 per cent more energy efficient than regulation, and will consume 30 per cent less water than the average London household. The green buildings will sit among 1,200 new trees, while 600 new affordable homes will support key workers.
Lendlease is investing in local schools, improving public transport and cycle networks, and expects 6,000 new jobs to be created in the area.
In New York, the Hudson Yards (situated at the end of the famous Highline walk) 11-hectare mixed-use development is the largest urban regeneration project in the United States. The 16 new skyscrapers rising from the ground will eventually house more than a million sqm of new office, residential and retail space.
More than 4,000 new residences are being constructed, as well as a new subway station, and once complete Hudson Yards will contribute nearly $19 billion annually to New York City’s GDP, or 2.5 per cent of the citywide GDP.
Earlier this week, I was privileged to visit Stockland’s Aura on the Sunshine Coast, now Australia’s highest rating greenfield Green Star community.
Over the next 30 years, Aura will deliver 20,000 new homes and 20,000 jobs, creating long-term employment opportunities in the region. A staggering 20 schools are in the planning stage. There will be more cycleways, per capita, than Copenhagen and no home will be more than 400 metres from a park.
While these are big numbers, the ‘fine grain’ got my heart racing: a rehabilitation program for frogs; a community-wide electric bike sharing scheme; and an innovative display village which features five terrace houses, so everyone from first home buyers to downsizers can see why small doesn’t mean a compromise on lifestyle.
Stockland’s approach at Aura is truly inspiring. We talk about ‘raising the bar’ often in our industry, but in this case the cliché is true.
Aura is real-world evidence that Green Star is changing the way we think about place – and how we create communities that support healthy living, bring people together, and take a long-term approach to environmental stewardship.
And Aura provides real-world evidence that Australia leads the world when it comes to delivering sustainable communities.