Infill development three times cheaper than greenfield, report finds

Architecture AU

Written by Louisa Wright

17th August, 2016


A report has found that developing Perth’s greyfield sites alongside rapid transit networks could save the government up to $94.5 million for every 1000 lots developed, compared to developing greenfield sites.

The report, Design Perth, is a joint study between the Property Council of Australia, the Office of Senator Scott Ludlam, CODA Architecture and Urban Design, and Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP).

The large savings come from the difference in cost to government in providing infrastructure such as roads, water, communications, power, emergency services, health and education. The report found that for greenfield sites the cost is $150,389 per lot while greyfield sites cost $55,828 (almost three times less) due to much of the infrastructure already being in place.

Increasing Perth’s infill target from 47 percent to 60 percent (the original target under the WA government’s 2014 Network City plan) will save $23 billion before 2050.

The Design Perth report compared current development to transit-oriented development with a proposed Light Rail node. In comparing these, the study found that the latter delivered a:

260 percent increase in the number of dwellings and residential population
352 percent increase in commercial space and employment
187 percent increase in public open space and 27 percent more homes within 200 metres of green space
335 percent increase in active frontage
Significant increase in dwelling diversity with 52 percent more low- and medium-rise apartments
CODA worked with students from the University of Western Australia to research the areas identified as future transport corridors in the draft State Transport Strategy. All sites selected were greyfield sites that, with the addition of public transport, had the potential for high-quality amenity.

A one-day intensive design charrette was held and eight design teams, including engineers and planners, were each assigned a site and given the task of preparing initial design responses to present to an expert panel. The designs included design options for different housing and commercial spaces, and identified limitations by current policy that might prevent the design from coming to fruition.


Co-founder of CODA, Kieran Wong, said out-of-date urban policy designed for low-density suburbs was not allowing for innovative design-led solutions. The average age of local planning policies in Perth is 14 years.

“I think the major challenge for the state is to try and upgrade planning policies at a local level or provide some kind of overriding state policy around best design and better medium-density outcomes that applicants and developers can use. At the moment we’re in a bit of limbo because the local policies are really inefficient and too old,” Wong said.

In June 2016 the West Australian government released its public transport plan, Transport @ 3.5 Million, but Wong said the plan does not address significant challenges in relation to the provision of light rail and rapid bus transit. He said a targeted approach towards public transport should be taken to accommodate for the development of greyfield sites.

“You can see the numbers in a sense, where growth occurs in other cities around Australia and around the world, it’s all linked to an underpinning of solid public transport networks and that’s something that the state needs to commit to,” said Wong.

Community consultation was also key to the design process. Wong said typically in Western Australia, the community was either consulted at the very beginning of the development process and then ignored, or consulted at the end and told what was going to happen.

“That in a sense is something we consider to be part of the issue in relation to community protest around infill, that [the community is] not part of the conversation all the way through. In a sense they’re almost viewed as a kind of impediment to development and we’re trying to turn that model on its head a little bit in this report,” he said.

AA Review: BCC Mercy

This month’s Architecture Australia features a review of Bunbury Catholic College, Mercy campus by Simon Pendal, with photos by Peter Bennetts.

Click on the image above to read the full article.

Women in Design

The most recently released edition of House and Garden magazine features a spread on Women in Design. One of the honourees is CODA’s co-founder/co-director, Emma Williamson! CODA congratulates all the women featured and House and Garden for recognising women doing great things in the industry. For the whole article see the May issue of House and Garden, available now.



Paraburdoo Community Hub Funding Application Lodged

CODA was engaged by RTIO in October to prepare a Project Definition Plan for the proposed Community Hub building and surrounding public open spaces in Paraburdoo.

The PDP is part of a Business Case for the project submitted to the Pilbara Redevelopment Corporation. The Community Hub includes a new Multi-purpose Community Centre  and re-use of existing buildings in the town centre. The Paraburdoo CHUB proposal was unanimously approved by the Shire of Ashburton council on November 18 to proceed to the PDC funding application. The people of Paraburdoo are looking forward to these much-needed facilities, a rejuvenation of their town centre and the re-engergising of their rather cool early-1970’s buildings, as are we!

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What goes around, comes around…

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A great article on p. 90 of this month’s Scoop in which Emma Williamson discusses the beauty and importance of incorporating repurposed materials into contemporary design.

Street Wise, July 2013

Our mates, Pendal and Neille, curate a monthly column in the West Australian that invites practicing architects, landscape architects and urban designers to provide commentary on an aspect of our city they find interesting. This month CODA contributed with an article discussing the need to provide a housing stock suitable for our ageing population.

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Prolific Fremantle-based commentator, Roel Loopers, liked our article and blogged about it here.

The Kimberley Echo: MG-GT and the AIA Awards

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Kununurra is to be well represented in this years state AIA awards with a selection of public works in the running for awards. CODA’s MG-GT building, featured in the latest edition of The Kimberley Echo, has been nominated in the Commercial Architecture and the Colorbond Steel Architecture award categories. CODA has a strong presence in rural towns throughout Western Australia and working with these communities is important to our practice. The office will be heading to the awards night at the Perth Concert Hall this Friday July 5th to celebrate Western Australian architecture, and, with two of our projects entered this year, fingers are crossed for both the MG-GT building and Foundation Housing in Northbridge.


Parity Magazine: Tom Fisher House

Stephen Hicks recently authored an article that was published in the latest edition of Parity, a national magazine produced by the Council to Homeless Persons. His article discusses Tom Fisher House, a shelter that CODA is designing for the Department of Housing, Department of Child Protection and Vincentcare.

A copy of the article appears here however we encourage you to explore the entire publication, which is focussed on the issue of homelessness in Western Australia. Copies are available for purchase through the Council‘s website.

Scoop Magazine on the 2012 AIA Awards

We were excited to see that the current edition of Scoop Magazine features two CODA projects as part of its special on the 2012 AIA Awards. Norfolk Farm and Women’s Health and Family Services are only two of a number of projects that we’ve entered in this year’s awards, across a broad spectrum of categories. Nerves have kicked in for the awards ceremony to be held tonight in the Grand Ballroom at Burswood Casino. We’ll be back with a full report next week.

Foundation Housing Officially Open

CODA’s project for Foundation Housing, Building for Diversity, has officially been opened as part of a statewide initiative to increase the availability of affordable housing. The Newcastle Street mixed use development provides much needed housing for low income earners wishing to live and work in Perth’s inner city. Minister of Housing Troy Buswell, did an excellent job of cutting the official ribbon and charming us with his excellent speech.