By Lyn Drummond

11 August 2011 – What will it take to regenerate greyfield precincts in Australia’s major cities to achieve medium density housing with better health and environmental impacts? The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute set out to find out with an expert panel and the results of that work will be the subject of a seminar in Brisbane on Tuesday 20 September.

According to AHURI the panel investigated the processes required for an integrative development model capable of delivering these goals.

Greyfield precincts are defined as under-utilised property assets located in the middle suburbs of large Australian cities, where residential building stock is failing – physically, technologically and environmentally – and energy, water and communications infrastructure is in need of regeneration.

The panel examined how parcels of land could be assembled for higher-density redevelopment at the scale of the precinct and how innovative design and construction methods could make these developments more socially and environmentally sustainable.

Recommended solutions included:

  • New planning and policy frameworks to reduce the risk and uncertainty associated with larger-scale redevelopment in the middle suburbs
  • A robust planning instrument or code (Regen Code) for the redevelopment of greyfield residential precincts
  • New regional bodies or authorities responsible for urban renewal (equipped with financial, statutory and planning power) to run over a long time frame (20 years) to drive change
  • Spatial information, such as demographic, planning and infrastructure, to enable developers, investment, design and construction professionals to explore development opportunities and potential regeneration sites
  • Demonstration models of precinct design to play a role in communicating how these shifts in our urban environment could be envisaged, designed and delivered
  • Innovative construction processes that use industrialised and prefabricated components may provide attractive solutions to medium-density housing developments
  • Pro-active community engagement of citizens as “partners” in development, in both planning/design and finance aspects rather than the “placatory” or “adversarial” models of engagement that are currently employed with populations targeted for redevelopment

A report on the health impacts of housing, with input from leading researchers, public health and housing policy officials from across Australasia, will be released at the Brisbane seminar.

AHURI also researched  household attitudes to environmentally sustainable resource use. See  the website

This study sought to enhance understanding of how households think about and act on the issues of waste, water and energy use and conservation, and of how positive change in household behaviour in these areas can be effected.

For details of the seminar click here