Creative planning delivers on ‘live, work, play’ ideal

by Brighid Sammon, Senior Planner

A great city means different things to different people, especially to those working in urban planning. At Hansen we’re lucky enough to participate in (the sometimes lively) debates about Melbourne; it’s direction and the current ‘boom-time’ era we’re living through. One element that resonates across the board is the need for diversity, and not just in the CBD but also our suburbs – the very places most of us spend our time sleeping, relaxing and entertaining.

Too often we think about diversity from the perspective of residential built form and the ‘use’ component is lost in the broader discussion. In the context of rising inequality within Melbourne, it is understood why the need for housing stock that caters for a diverse population is important; however, the need for spaces that provide varied and exciting opportunities for employment are also important; and often left out of the equation.   

Currently living in Richmond, I have been fortunate enough to witness the growing investment in commercial land in and around my local area. As I walk into the city each morning, up Church Street and along Swan Street, I seem to walk against a tide of people making their way to work in Cremorne and Richmond. My planning instincts tell me this growth is due to excellent services and the application of Commercial 2 Zoning which restricts residential investment.

It appears to me that this investment in employment space delivers diversity to Richmond and Cremorne by providing alternative opportunities for work spaces where it may have previously been lost to residential development; it has become a truly diverse suburb (albeit issues with affordability remain).

Recently, the Hansen planning team has been fortunate to work on a number of projects north of the river with the aim of fostering a similar wave of business investment. Our recent work with the owners of 6 Ilhan Lane, Brunswick speaks to these ambitions and more. Designed by HIP V. HYPE’s Mark Trueman in collaboration with HIP V. HYPE Sustainability and Development– this three storey, net zero emissions building will have a ground floor gallery space, two levels of open plan co-working studios with on-site bike parking, end of trip facilities and a landscaped terrace.

While the design and sustainability merits of the building alone should be enough to inspire any planner, it is the meaningful contribution to the delivery of quality commercial space within easy reach of public transport, in an area with significant population growth that drives us to support these types of projects.

Within easy reach of the Anstey Railway Station, Upfield Bike Lane, Sydney Road tram route and a number of east-west bus routes, 6 Ilhan Lane includes a single flexible car space to be used by the gallery for pick-ups and drop offs. This approach to carparking was carefully considered by developer and founding director of HIP V. HYPE Liam Wallis who knows the minimum carparking requirements as set out by the Planning Scheme for commercial space are not sustainable with the population of Moreland forecast to increase by 32.73% by 2036.  The existing HIP V. HYPE office and co-working space are a prime example of Wallis’ vision – the site has no car parking but continues to thrive, playing host to a variety of built environment professionals.

While the provision of co-working spaces are by no-means a new idea, it is nonetheless exciting and encouraging to see environmentally sustainable work spaces being incorporated into an established suburb that is set to experience a 52% increase in dwellings built over the next 20 years. This facilitation of truly diverse land use will ensure the so often referenced ‘live-work-play’ ideal will come to fruition. It would be promising to see a planning mechanism emerge within the Victorian Planning Provisions to incentivise this type of development outside of the CBD and inner suburbs of Melbourne.

Hansen is encouraged by the change occurring in Brunswick but equally excited that through the approval of 6 Ilhan Lane, and projects like it, local economies will diversify and thrive, providing localised employment. The planning merits of 6 Ilhan Lane are clear and it is testament to the entire project team, from the developer through to the architect and planners at the City of Moreland, that a project of this class can be submitted, assessed and approved within a four-month turnaround.

The future of Brunswick is bright and the Hansen planning team is excited to be playing its part.

Project Team
Architect/Designer: Mark Trueman, HIP V. HYPE Design
Developer: HIP V. HYPE Development & Broached Property
ESD: HIP V. HYPE Sustainability
Landscape: SBLA Landscape Architecture & Urban Design
Render: ELVM