Opinion: Living on the edge


Catherine Carter.

Catherine Carter.

CANBERRA’S city edge is set for a revamp with its ageing public housing making way for new residential and mixed-use development on Cooyong Street.

A recent variation to the Territory Plan will allow the old complexes in Allawah and Bega Courts and the Currong Flats to be demolished and replaced by contemporary, high-density apartments, retail and commercial buildings and new community facilities.

The redevelopment will help to define Cooyong and Coranderrk Streets as a true ring road to the city, leading and connecting to a vibrant Civic centre and on to Parkes Way and the national precincts.

It is a natural progression of the revitalising redevelopment that has been welcomed on Bunda Street – bringing new energy to the fringes of Civic with active street frontages and rooftop gardens for residents.

Just as Lonsdale Street and New Acton have introduced us to indy pop-up shops and a chic café lifestyle, the Cooyong project should establish new commercial spaces with the potential for laneway restaurants and inviting urban spaces.

This is a welcome opportunity to introduce innovative housing into the city – offering more options for our growing inner-urban demographic. Urban infill is finding its rightful place in Canberra’s heart and local centres. It is not sustainable for our city to continue to spread outwards.

Building on the city edge rather than the suburban fringes will make room for more Canberrans to access all that our city has to offer. Importantly, this development will continue to include space for public housing tenants, preserving Canberra’s admirable policy of integration of social housing within well-located inner suburbs.

 Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia.