Artist's impression of the Subiaco Pavilion redevelopment.

Apartment developments need to “think beyond the building” and create a sense of place to be successful, according to a new report by town planning and urban design firm RobertsDay.

The report, Streetwise apartments: thinking beyond the building, brings together international research on placemaking and interviews with Australian property leaders on the subject of creating neighbourhoods.

“The major shift towards apartment living means an unparalleled period of change and opportunity for the Australian property development industry,” RobertsDay managing director Deon White said.

Mr White said sense of place and neighbourhood was as important for apartment developments as it was for greenfield development.

“From the value of the space between the buildings to the incubation of tenant mix and co-ordinated street level design, placemaking will have a greater impact on 21st century apartment living than ever before,” he said.

Gen Y to shape the future of apartments

According to executive general manager of Australand’s residential division Rod Fehring, Gen Y would have a large role in shaping the apartment market of the future.

“Gen Y is investing in an urban amenity which is beyond the dwelling, whereas the Baby Boomers’ sense of urban amenity was based on the dwelling itself,” he said.

“Generation Y will avail itself of different types of amenity, housing and infrastructure needs and, as developers, we need to respond to that.”

He said Australand had acted by positioning itself away from low-density development towards medium- and high-density apartments.

“We’re deliberating choosing medium density projects of 500-1000 dwellings which can be infused with the public realm,” Mr Fehring said.

The report also highlighted a trend of people willing to forego apartment-based services and have more affordable, compact apartments, as long as services were nearby.

“We’re noticing a shift – led by Gen Ys – who are less concerned if their apartment doesn’t have facilities like a gym or swimming pool, provided these are close-by,” RobertsDay Melbourne studio leader Cameron Das said.