If there is one job occupation I have come to loathe and despise above all others, it is that of property developer. Opportunistic scum who care nothing for the environment or sensitive architectural design and are only out to make a profit – I would like to see them rounded up and burned at the stake! My neighborhood, like nearly all others, is being ruined by developers buying up homes, razing them and their established gardens and building enormous eye-gougingly-ugly monstrosities (I have a website page about this). On a wider scale, the open land around Melbourne is being concreted over with new housing developments by developers; this has future implications for food security (prime farmland being built over) and the environment (the loss of vegetation). The city is growing like a metastasising cancer and nothing is being done to stop it – yet again, population growth is the prime cause of this.
Some articles from The Age on this topic:
“In defence of the suburbs”, 12/10/2010. The loss of backyards barely rates a mention in urban policy, but they provide valuable room for vegetation and wildlife.
“State's boom on ‘shaky ground’ ”, 28/10/2010. Victoria’s recent growth has been due to population growth and construction – neither of which can be sustained indefinitely. “But the researchers warn this population increase to approximately 90,000 people coming to Melbourne each year has ‘led to delusions of endless growth’ within the Brumby government and the business community.” And residents are paying for this dearly as quality of life degrades.
“Developers scramble for land”, 6/11/2010. Developers are greedily buying the land released by the expansion of the urban growth boundary. “RMIT associate professor of planning Michael Buxton said sprawling cities were energy-consuming, economically inefficient, environmentally destructive and led to social polarisation. ‘The Victorian government has abandoned planning and is handing the city over to developers,’ he said.”
“Growing pains: Victoria’s population explosion”, 20/11/2010. An overview of why Victoria has had so much growth. The author regards it as a positive. I certainly don’t – being popular is not a good thing in this case as it is making life increasingly stressful for residents.
“Labor’s high-rise dystopia”, 24/11/2010. One reason that the Labor government was voted in was that they promised to discard Jeff Kennett’s free-for-all urban planning. But they well and truly reneged on that promise, and proved to be just as bad as the Liberals in favoring developers.
“Design trend takes child’s play out of backyards”, 25/11/2010. As house sizes have increased, backyards have all but vanished. Playing in the backyard was one of my favorite activities when young.
“Land shortage, price hike link a myth, claims academic”, 6/12/2010. Claims by developers that more houses need to be built because of shortages are misleading; the main factors are negative gearing that favors investors, readily-available home loans and the first home owners’ grant are factors.
“Planning must be for people, not developers”, 6/12/2010. Both the Kennett and Bracks-Brumby governments were influenced in planning policy by developers, who donated to both parties (a law should be brought against this!). Unfortunately the new Premier Ted Baillieu is also developer-friendly, so the ruination of Melbourne and its surrounding lands looks to continue.
“Melbourne heads north to Kalkallo”, 8/12/2010. More of the depressing same. Future generations are going to curse us.