The South East Queensland Regional Plan 2005-2026 was released last year with an important goal to manage the rapid growth of the region. The plan proposes to establish a number of transit-oriented developments (TODs) to create compact, walkable communities around high capacity public transport nodes. How can TODs be implemented in the region in order to achieve its goals of growth management?
While the present regional planning document focuses mainly on regulatory mechanisms such as the statutory regional plan and local planning schemes, there is also scope for consideration of incentive mechanisms to achieve its goals. To effectively promote TOD projects, there should be a clear consideration of incentives at two levels – for local communities and for developers.
Incentives to local communities
One of the main challenges for local and state governments is to convince the community of the benefits of TOD. There should be a wider consultation/education campaign to highlight the TOD concept to the community. To ensure community support for TOD, a range of community incentives, which add value to the community, needs to be explored. Some of the specific benefits that are inherent in TOD would need to be promoted, such as increased access to public transport, enhanced walkability, rise in property values, greater social interaction and access to public amenities. The range of community incentives could therefore include integration of community facilities, public spaces and promotion of local businesses as part of transit-oriented development.
Incentives to developers
A range of incentives can also be offered to developers in the form of technical assistance, development control relaxation and financial incentives to make TOD projects attractive investments to them. Incentives could also be offered to developers in the form of support for land assembly and streamlined development approval.
State and local governments have an important role to play in developing these incentives. State government can play a key role in the provision of technical and financial support for items such as the provision of community facilities, infrastructure development and land assembly. Local government can provide incentives in terms of supportive zoning and subdivision regulations, streamlined development approval. Local government could also play an active role in raising awareness about TOD concept and getting the community engaged in developing locally responsive TOD.
The establishment of a statutory regional plan with focus on TOD development is an important first step to manage the growth of South East Queensland (SEQ). For effective implementation of the plan, there is also a strong case for considering incentive mechanisms for both local communities and development industry.
Also in UDFQ 74: June 2006:
- Urban Design Toolkit
- Six visions for King George Square
- Broadmeadows Central – Proposition 3047
- Competitions - East Darling Harbour
- Conceptual Tools - Understanding Urban Regions
- Designing the Small Lot Suburb
- NZ Government raises the bar
- Organising Australian Urban Designers
- Developer’s dollars vs good urban design