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DESIGNING THE MISSING MIDDLE

By 1 October, 2019 No Comments

As Sydney’s population ages and grows by 1.74 million people by 2036, the housing supply must keep up with the community’s needs. Demand for medium density housing, known as the ‘missing middle’, will continue to rise in the city.

It is estimated that Sydney will require around 725,000 additional homes by 2036 to accommodate the growing and ageing population.

CM+ Urban Designer Mina Karamloo, with colleagues Di Wu and Alexander Lay, attended an Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW briefing, Delivering the Missing Middle, part of their Young Leaders’ Event Series.

Speakers on the panel were:

  • Nicole Woodrow – Development Director at Landcom.
  • James White – Senior Research and Strategic Knowledge Consultant at Urbis.
  • Kim Jones – Principal Architect at JSA Studio Architects.

Mina reports on their proposals to design and deliver the missing middle in Sydney’s suburbs.

Single person households are increasing significantly, projected to become the fastest growing between now and 2036. The current housing diversity does not seem to be compatible with this change, said Woodrow.

People living alone or couples with no children prefer to have their properties on their own land as it enhances their sense of ownership, security and control.

Australian communities need a new housing type to respond to this demand.

Jones proposes that houses with courtyards on small land divisions would suit the needs of the rising number of solo dwellers, preferably in affordable suburbs with:

  • Proximity to diverse transport nodes, to reduce car dependency, increase pedestrian activity and establish an integrated urban environment;
  • Proximity to business zones, to avoid the formation of dormitory zones.

An understanding of optimal medium density lot dimensions is required to achieve Jones’ goal of breaking up existing suburban lots.

It is important that designs should respond to existing neighbourhood character and provide the new community with opportunities for social interaction, to create a sense of belonging.

Mina Karamloo is an Urban Designer at CM+.  She was born in Tehran, Iran, and has lived in Australia for four years. She completed her BA in Architectural Engineering at IUST, and holds a Master’s Degree in Planning (Urban Design) from the University of Adelaide.