Perth in Focus
Densifying the Suburbs


Thursday, 01 September 2016
11:30 - Registration Opens
12:00 - Event Start
14:30 - Event Concludes


Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
Ballroom 2
21 Mounts Bay Road, Perth


Table of 10 $1650
Table of 8 $1320
Per Person $175

Table of 10 $2000
Table of 8 $1600
Per Person $210

This includes a two course lunch with wine.

OPEN TO PUBLIC Registration has now closed

Event Overview

Lunch Learnings: Densifying the Suburbs

At the latest Committee for Perth’s Perth in Focus luncheon, Densifying the Suburbs, Planning Minister the Hon. Donna Faragher opened the event by talking about the soon-to-be released Design WA report.

The Minister said the report would ensure that good design was also cost effective, functional, liveable, vibrant and sustainable and that design review panels would be standardised and prioritised to support DAPs.

Emma Booth, Team Leader Design at North Sydney Council, explained how the council had an on-again, off-again love affair with density since the 1950’s. The council is now focused on creating 12,000-14,000 new residences and 10,000 new jobs by 2031. To achieve this, they spent three years preparing and implementing a design strategy.

The key findings from the strategy are:

  • Start by mapping urban renewal opportunities.
  • Do density once and do it well.
  • Measure the financial uplift of density and capture part of the value to deliver amenity that benefits the community.
  • Good design is achieved through a design process not a static plan.
  • Densifying the suburbs also means densifying the land use mix.
  • There is no point increasing density around train stations without decreasing car use.
  • Density must be supported by commensurate public benefits.
  • Value capture is possible with an endorsed strategy.

Keynote speaker, Associate Professor Julian Bolleter, from the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at The University of Western Australia spoke about the findings in his book ‘Scavenging the Suburbs: Auditing Perth for 1 Million Infill Dwellings’.

The book examined how many infill homes could be created by better utilising land around Perth.

Associate Professor Bolleter’s provocative views are that Perth could infill more and contain sprawl if:

  • Each person in Perth only had 75m2 of garden space instead of the current 132m2 it would create 115,000 infill dwellings.
  • 50% of publicly owned carparks had homes built above them and carparks below it would create 203,000 dwellings.
  • Freeway reserves were reduced, 50,000 new homes could be created.
  • 10% of light industrial areas were developed for housing it would create 95,434 affordable homes.
  • The amount of public park space was reduced from 40m2 to 28m2 per person 144,000 homes.
  • Golf courses were reduced to 9 holes it would yield 86,000 homes.
  • 10% of the foreshore was used for development it would create 62,000 dwellings.

While admitting it was controversial, Assistant Professor Bolleter said that if all of the recommendations were followed it would create 913,879 dwellings, obviate the need for 97 masterplanned communities the size of Ellenbrook and no greenfield homes would need to be built in Perth until 2036.

Meet our speakers and panellists

Dr. Julian Bolleter Image

Dr. Julian Bolleter

Associate Professor at Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC)

Julian is an Assistant Professor at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC) at the University of Western Australia. His role at the AUDRC includes teaching a master’s program in urban design and conducting urban design related research and design projects. Julian is an awarded landscape architect and urban designer and has worked in Australia, the USA, the UK and the Middle East on a range of projects. He has completed a PhD concerning landscape architecture in Dubai and has published three books- including ‘Made in Australia: The future of Australian cities’ (with Richard Weller), ‘Take me to the River: A history of Perth’s foreshore’ and ‘Scavenging the Suburbs’ – a book which audits Perth for ~1,000,000 possible urban infill dwellings. In 2014 Julian was awarded the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects WA gold medal award (in conjunction with Richard Weller).

The Hon. Donna Faragher MLA Image

The Hon. Donna Faragher MLA

Minister for Planning; Disability Services

Donna Faragher was first elected to represent the East Metropolitan Region in the Legislative Council on 26 February 2005, making her the youngest female Liberal Party member ever elected to the WA State Parliament.

In Opposition Donna held various positions within the Shadow Cabinet, including Shadow Minister for disability services, youth and drug abuse strategy. She was also a member of the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Uniform Legislation and Statutes Review.

Donna was re-elected at the September 2008 election, and again made political history as the youngest female Member of Parliament ever appointed to the Western Australian State Cabinet when she became Minister for Environment and Youth in the Liberal-National Government.

As Environment Minister, Donna was the driving force behind Government policy to maintain and enhance WA’s unique environment for future generations.  She undertook significant environmental approvals reform and oversaw the establishment of the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority.  She was also responsible for delivering significant conservation strategies for the Kimberley and the Great Western Woodlands. 

With a passion for young people as Youth Minister, Donna reinvigorated a number of State wide youth initiatives. Donna is a strong supporter of key programs like the highly successful CadetsWA.  She was instrumental in helping secure the program’s first funding increase in 14 years and oversaw its expansion to include a junior cadet unit.

In late 2010, Donna stepped down as Minister for Environment and Youth to have her first child and appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, a role she held for five years.  During this period, Donna also served on both the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Legislation and the Standing Committee on Uniform Legislation and Statutes Review.

In March 2016, Donna re-joined State Cabinet as the Minister for Planning and Disability Services. Recognising that the State’s population is continuing to grow, Donna is focused on strengthening Western Australian communities through sound planning, and will draw on her previous Ministerial experience and commitment to approvals and regulatory reform.

As Minister for Disability Services, Donna is focused on the wellbeing of people with disability, their families and carers.  She is committed to finalising arrangements for the full scheme rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Western Australia from 1 July 2017.

Before embarking on a political career, Donna graduated from The University of Western Australia with a Masters of Education with Honours, and completed a Graduate Diploma in Education (school psychology and education) and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology. She later worked as a policy and parliamentary adviser to former Federal Justice and Customs Minister Chris Ellison. 

Emma Booth Image

Emma Booth

Team Leader Design at North Sydney Council

Emma Booth heads the design team within the strategic planning department of North Sydney Council. She is responsible for major urban renewal and public domain projects across the local government area and runs the North Sydney Design Excellence Panel. She recently completed urban renewal strategies for St Leonards strategic centre and North Sydney's education precinct and is currently examining renewal opportunities arising from the recently announced metro stations at North Sydney and Crows Nest. Prior to joining local government she has worked at the NSW Department of Planning & Environment and the private sector. She has qualifications in urban design, planning and science.

William Hames Image

William Hames

Executive Director, Hames Sharley

Bill has served on the City of Perth Design Advisory Committee for 10 years.  He also serves on the City of South Perth Design Advisory Committee for over 20 years.

He has seen the best and worst of development applications and the best and worst of elected members behaviour and the reactions of effected communities.

He is the Executive Chairman of the national architectural and planning practice of Hames Sharley, and its founding father. He is a qualified Architect, Urban Designer and Land Economist with high level skills in retail and commercial property development, including land development. 

He is one of the few practitioners in the field of urban design who have formal qualifications in this field having obtained a Masters Degree in Urban Design from Harvard University.

He is also the founding Director and Non Executive Chairman of Cedar Woods Properties Pty Ltd,, a publically listed property development company, with a large portfolio of projects in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.