Problems With a View


So you've purchased a new apartment in a big tower somewhere in Melbourne. Congratulations, you've joined a growing number of apartment dwellers in our fine city. But, a problem arises, when you bought it you had views of the entire CBD and across Port Phillip Bay - but now a building is going up next door. Soon, your view is of a slightly balding 30-something year old who's also just his first apartment. And he's like, 9m from your window.

Tower separation is a serious urban design topic around the world - how do you ensure adequate amenity in rapidly a densifying city? A 'rule of thumb' in the urban design world is frequently the 9m rule. Melbourne City Council still has existing provision for far greater than this to separate towers, but I understand that it's been all but disregarded.

A key problem is that Melbourne is riddled with tiny lots in great locations. In the interest of fairness, everyone is allowed to try to get a planning permit for their own lot - amalgamation is not enforced or required. In strategic locations (Southbank, the CBD, docklands, the inner north etc etc), everyone wants to maximise the amount of apartments on their land and feed the seemingly insatiable beast that is Melbourne's housing market.

Simultaneously, new development must consider issues of 'development equity' - that is, ensuring a development does not unreasonably prejudice the ability of each abutting lot be developed.

Anyway, the Age is highlighting the issue with this article about Rosa and her apartment at Freshwater Place.



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