Sustainability is an often misinterpreted reference to how the needs of tomorrow’s generations should not be compromised by our actions today. While there are many environmental issues involved in this view, there is also the prospect of urban density being able to contribute to the challenge by providing the basis for better proximity to amenities and infrastructure, with contingent reductions in transport needs.
Urban planning reform in Sydney, via the Draft Metropolitan Strategy, is attempting to address both a significant shortfall in the quantum and typologies of housing to suit changing demographics, and allow for greater densities where they can be accommodated.
‘Sydneysiders have also told us they want more choice about the type of housing available – and that housing needs to be more affordable, close to jobs, and near good transport connections.’
Brad Hazzard MP,
Minister for Planning + Infrastructure
With such ongoing challenges to improve urban density as part of Sydney’s approach to managing population growth, residential development that can be achieved efficiently and affordably within existing areas is critical as a strategy for our sustainable future. Recent studies have has shown the terrace/townhouse model as being the most energy efficient, cost effective and communally responsive medium density typology, and in this area AJA has been working on more contemporary and innovative solutions to satisfy emerging needs.
From inner city areas such as Redfern and Newtown to outlying suburbs like Manly and Hornsby, AJA has reinvented the original terrace typology with a range of interventions that open up the interiors to light, sun and ventilation, and create quality architectural outcomes that are highly regarded and in some cases award recipients. Through more open indoor-outdoor planning, utilising stair wells for light and ventilation, and reconfiguring passive and active zones, more spacious and flexible living spaces can be realised to suit the many different residential groups from individuals through to families.
As population increases around centres of work, recreation and transport links, street life will also improve, and the terrace/townhouse typology is able to improve the visual links and accessibility to the public domain in ways that are seldom possible in more high rise developments.