The City claims it's Housing Strategy is 'Transit Oriented Design' and that a major factor in siting the HOAs was because it allows people to use Public Transport (the train, high frequency bus routes) or walk to activity centers. These factors mean people living there won't need cars.
This assertion is simply wishful thinking. We don't know many people prepared to walk 800m to the shops during a Perth summer, and although many people will use Public Transport to commute to work, they need a car to visit friends, go shopping, get to the beach and do all the other things that people in Perth like to do.
Public Transport use is actually declining in Perth and it will need a lot more than small houses near a bus route to reverse that trend. Meanwhile, suburban streets designed at R20 will have massive increases in traffic.
What we urgently need is mixed use zoning where people can live near shops that sell what they need and Cafe's and Restaurants and cultural attractions that allow them to relax within walking distance of their homes, even walk to work. That requires a massive paradigm shift away from the 'mall' that dominates the WA Shopping Landscape towards a Plaza type mentality that has shaped European cities with a Mediterranean climate.
The City's Planning frameworks will prevent bad development
Unfortunately WA's planning frameworks are full of subjective criteria. Where there are clear defined parameters that must be met, there are often ways to subvert them if developers know the system. The main distinction between development outcomes seems to be: if the build is done for someone wanting to live in the new dwelling, it is OK. If it is built as an investment, it will consist of minimal outdoor space, maximised number of bedrooms and bathrooms, paved outdoor areas, minimal trees and landscaping and conversion of the verge to car parking. Windows that look onto walls and boundary fences are commonplace. Tight, awkward driveways that will encourage visitors to park outside the property are too.
We can't all live in grand mansions, and we don't all want high-maintenance gardens, but we can limit the 'develop to the max' attitude if it creates homes that people will be miserable in, or that will not sell.
The Urban Heat Island effect is a real problem in Perth and packing homes onto small blocks: which is what the HOAs seem to be driving, is a sure recipe for heat-stress.
HOAs allow the elderly to Age-in-Place
One of the original reasons for the HOAs was to allow people to 'Age in Place'. But older people often do not want to move, they are happy in their homes and moving is stressful for everyone at any age. And why is it that only the HOAs (just 16% of the City of Joondalup's area) are the only places that need the ability to 'Age-in-Place'? Surely opportunities to age-in-place and create housing diversity, are needed right across the City of Joondalup, not just in HOAs!
No, we will get less for our money and all pay more for housing. Infill in HOAs may make housing cheaper, but only because it is smaller. And probably only in the short term, because house prices are a function of supply and demand. There are a lot of investors in Australian property, both in Australia and Internationally. If investors want to buy the new dwellings in the HOAs, then prices will continue to rise and we all pay more.
We need infill.
Possibly, but why should it be only in some parts of some suburbs? To be equitable, the load should be shared evenly across the City of Joondalup. The same arguments for housing diversity apply to wealthy suburbs and especially to the Joondalup CBD, yet there are no housing opportunity areas there!
We only need infill because of the crazy policy of allowing one of the highest migration rates in the OECD. If we cut migration slightly, and incentivised settling of migrants in Regional Centers, there would not be a need for infill.
Perth is a small city and should be much larger.
Perth has over 2.5 million people - a target it passed 25 years before the planners expected it. Vibrant cities like Frankfurt and Seattle are much smaller in terms of population. Bigger is not necessarily better.
New housing will be more environmentally friendly.
Maybe! But what is really wrong with the existing housing? If well maintained and renovated (at a fraction of the cost of rebuilding), there is plenty of demand for established homes. They are readily retrofitted with solar photvoltaic, solar hot water, grey water reuse, rainwater tanks and roof insulation, making them comparable to new builds (which may be of lower quality construction). And you can only count the environmental savings of a new home if it is offset against the costs of demolishing the old one.
We are being told we are running out of space for landfill, but this picture shows what happens all too often when a developer is looking for lowest cost demolition: nothing salvaged at all, jarrah roof timbers smashed to matchwood. And where will all the rubble go?
Smaller homes, and especially multiple dwellings or Apartments, use more energy per occupant than the equivalent number of people sharing larger houses.
Overall - the environmental benefits of new builds in HOAs is not at all simple.