By Karla Johnston | PEART Land Business Manager.
Inner city vs. outer suburb living has long been a traditional Australian divide.
Toowoomba, like most cities, has experienced decades of urban sprawl as development has spread outwards, with new suburbs attracting families to the promise of a new home and a big backyard.
And like in most cities around the country – and the world – natural outwards urbanisation left Toowoomba’s inner city pockets to decline, open to those seeking affordable housing. Traditionally thriving, inner city areas stagnated from a lack of investment in infrastructure and a low occurrence of home renovation due to an aging demographic. Additional necessary information you can read on this page.
But as the way people live constantly evolves, the trend back toward inner urban living is increasingly attractive in contrast to limited social, employment and entertainment options in suburban areas.
Inner city living is sought after for its lifestyle offerings such as walking or cycling to work, affordability and urban living drawcards such as shopping, entertainment and dining. Proximity to high value employment, health and first-class education are also attracting people back to the city.
The lifestyle differences between people living inner vs. outer are most obvious in capital cities – just think Surry Hills vs. Western Sydney. But these differences are present in Australia’s regional cities as well – and Toowoomba is no different as our inner urban areas are gradually revitalised.
East Toowoomba led the way to its current position as one of the city’s most sought after addresses with its cosmopolitan vibe, cafes, delis and renovated homes – a world apart from the lifestyle on offer in a suburban village like Westbrook for example. Naturally, the positive effects of urban renewal flowed to other inner city areas, boosting their popularity and broadening the gap between inner and outer living once more. The eclectic mix of housing and residents of Mort Estate or Newtown offer a bustling daily routine not possible on the suburban periphery in Highfields or Hodgsonvale. And you only have to drive through the streets of inner North Toowoomba or the older streets on the Mount Lofty/Harlaxton border to see the rate of renovation bringing the suburbs back to life.
Most planners and economists would agree that a higher level of diversity in inner city areas is good for the community and should be encouraged but of course inner urban development is limited by availability of infill sites to satisfy the market demand from buyers who want the lifestyle plus contemporary housing options.
As land developers, we have the ability to deliver a greater range of living options to the community and we are constantly researching, analysing and assessing sites. 2016 saw the purchase of a site just 1km from Toowoomba’s CBD in leafy Pascoe Lane in the Downland’s precinct on the Mount Lofty/Harlaxton border. Our development team received development approval from TRC for a boutique subdivision of 20 residential lots called ‘Parklane’, a rare offering of new homesites so close to the CBD.
The area has a history as an industrial centre however with parks, schools and the recently built $30M Northpoint Shopping Centre, this north-side pocket of Toowoomba is increasingly under the spotlight for its urban lifestyle offerings and affordability in comparison to inner East Toowoomba.
Construction is almost complete and lots will be delivered to the market early 2017. As Toowoomba evolves and astute home owners look inwards for all the offerings of inner city living – sites such as this are well positioned to satisfy demand from the community for new residential housing in an inner city location.