In my recent wanderings into the more residential parts of West End I came across a couple of houses with posters entitled "Save West End – West End, Many Stories, not 30 Storeys".
Reading the information about this campaign on the website www.savewestend.org it appears to be a community action to have a say in the draft plan by Brisbane City Council for West End. From what I gather, the plan is to take into account an increase in the number of residents in West End and includes the increase of height restrictions for buildings, in some cases now allowing 30 storeys. It's this increase in height that is identified as one of the key problems by the community campaign.
One of the things I love about West End is the atmosphere of the older homes, the characteristics of the shops and the overall eclectic nature of it. Replacing it with multi-storey residential and business blocks will have a significant impact on all of this.
The problem we face however, is as our population continues to grow, we are also increasing the area our city takes up. This "urban sprawl" eats into our remaining "wild" places, something that I expect many residents in West End would also agree isn't acceptable. If we are to limit our impact on the environment, then we need to consider high density living. In other words, building up, not out.
If we intend to continue our population growth and not impact on the environment, the challenge is how to do it while maintaining the "atmosphere" many of us look for in residential areas like West End.