green space apartments
More green space in apartments has been linked to better wellbeing amongst residents. Image – Canva
  • The work-from-home increase has influenced planning changes
  • More green space in and around apartments including courtyards
  • Any apartment building with more than ten residences must have communal space

Under the new design standards announced by the Victorian Government, more green space will be required in and around apartment buildings which include courtyards, lawns and other greenery at street frontage.

The announcement comes after an election pledge from the 2018 State Election and the increasing number of Victorians working from home due to the pandemic. The changes will be implemented later in the year to allow developers and other stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the new planning standards.

Developers will now be required to include areas with deep soil that facilitate canopy tree growth.  Apartment building featuring more than ten residences must now provide communal space such as seating areas and barbeque facilities. The Victorian Government believes this will develop a greater sense of community amongst apartment residents.

“As Victoria continues to grow, these standards will be crucial to ensure that our suburbs, towns and urban areas have high density living that is designed well, with liveability and wellbeing at the heart of its design,” said Richard Wynne, the Minister for Planning.

To avoid wind tunnelling on streets, apartment buildings greater than five storeys will need to consider wind impacts.

Underused, windswept balconies on buildings taller than 40 metres will be eliminated, giving designers the flexibility to introduce more usable space inside apartments such as winter gardens.

Balconies will now need to be designed to minimise overshadowing, resulting in more natural lighting for apartments.

The Government hopes these design changes deliver benefits such as community benefits, energy efficiency and improving the health and well-being of residents.

“People are spending more time in their homes and are using their apartments as places of work. Having green space and communal areas is vital to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of apartment residents,” said Mr Wynne.

“So many Victorians live in apartments. So, we want apartments to be the best they can be. This will ensure that Melbourne remains one of the world’s most liveable cities.”

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