Conservation Council of Western Australia director Piers Verstegen at The Fifth Estate Surround Sound for Perth and WA.

UPDATED: Conservation Council of Western Australia director Piers Verstegen and Perth developer Psaros chose The Fifth Estate Surround Sound on Tuesday night to announce a first of its kind – a partnership to encourage sustainable apartment development in the Perth.

The partnership would kick off with market research survey by Ipsos to help understand community attitudes to apartments and sustainability.

Mr Verstegen told the audience of more than 60 people that Psaros was a leader in sustainable projects in the city.

“Psaros are leading the way in Perth with their sustainable apartment developments so it makes sense that we work with them to promote sustainable urban living as an affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly choice for Western Australians,” Mr Verstegen said.

“For every person who chooses a sustainable apartment, less energy is used, less waste is created, less natural bushland is destroyed and more trips are taken by public transport.”

Managing director at Psaros Mike Enslin said the sustainable product offering was working, and in the case of his company was costing consumers no extra.

“We are proud that Psaros apartments include features such as solar power generation, solar hot water and electric car recharge stations as standard, and we are providing this at no extra cost to our purchasers,” Mr Enslin said.

“We are certainly finding that sustainable apartments are receiving a strong positive response from buyers.”

Verstegen told the Surround Sound  it was time to stop saying no to things like sprawl and start saying yes to the right type of development.

“Because we know what the solutions are, and maybe we can actually take the advocacy approach that the Conservation Council and other groups like ours are good at – the community engagement approach – and apply it. Instead of saying no to urban sprawl – which we’ve been trying to do and not succeeding for a long time – and actually say yes to a different type of development, yes to a sustainable type of development for the city of Perth.”

Research that the partnership will release is probably going to rock some people.

The top things that people within 10 kilometres of Perth want for their city, he said, were public transport, more cycling lanes and green buildings. They are the things people want in Perth.

“And by the way, people in Perth don’t believe the myth that urban sprawl is affordable. They’re just not buying it.”

Head of sustainability for Psaros Chiara Pacifici said there had been an increase in interest and understanding of sustainability.

“We have noticed an increase in consumer awareness of the benefits of our eco-friendly apartments, but we need to understand the level of public support beyond just the apartment buyers”.

Mr Verstegen said: “While there can be vocal opposition to individual higher density developments, we don’t really know what the view is in the general community or how Perth people want the city to develop in the future.

“The research will also test some old assumptions such as the preference for detached suburban homes on large blocks, and the idea that urban sprawl provides more affordable housing.

“We hope that the CCWA-Psaros partnership and the research we have commissioned will be the first step in building a powerful coalition of community and business to transform the City of Perth. Over the coming months we will be approaching other potential partners to join this exciting initiative.”