Brisbane City Council deserves credit for ignoring its own City Plan and approving the development of three new high-rise apartment towers at the old ABC site at Toowong (see Toowong towers nine storeys too high: Labor lord mayoral candidate). I’ve commented previously on the need to boost the population density in inner city suburbs, and particularly in those well serviced by public transport, such as Toowong, which has bus stops, a train station, ferry terminal and access to the Bicentennial Bike-way. Also, regular readers will be familiar with Brad Rogers’s guest post from 2013 on Old Queenslanders in a New City, which discusses the economic costs associated with low population density and urban sprawl, which is more expensive to service with transport infrastructure.
As well as the compelling micro-economic arguments for having a more liberal attitude to development, there is currently a good macro-economic argument, as residential building is essential in helping the economy adjust to the end of the mining boom (see Residential dwelling investment crucial to re-balancing of Queensland economy). Luckily we had a good start to 2015 with a surge in building approvals earlier in the year, but monthly approvals have fallen back a bit since then (see chart below based on ABS data released earlier this week and see Pete Faulkner’s post on the new data). It remains important, therefore, that councils have a liberal attitude to new developments, and I’m very happy the Brisbane City Council appears to have adopted such an attitude recently.