The state government of Queensland, Australia has a scheme for bringing economic and community development to the particular sections of their cities. They named it Priority Development Area. The local government loses its authority for planning urban development to the particular area of the city where the PDA scheme is initialized. However, the already lodged applications with the local government continue to be assessed under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Gchaveyoursay.com.au 2017). The PDA facilitates in removal of the barriers that have been preventing the businesses from starting and thriving in the particular area. Several factors have influenced the government of Queensland to mark Southport as the PDA. The area considered by many is the traditional centre of Gold Coast city that reflects the highest concentration of employment, greatest share of office space with a workforce of 24,857 individual. This is also the most populated area of the city with a resident population of 28.315 and growing (Burton 2017). These growing factors have called for the PDA scheme in the Southport for providing the opportunity to facilitate the growth and advancement that is required for supporting the growth of the business district. This report provides a detailed overview of the Southport PDA and identifies the strengths and weaknesses within it. It further recommends the modification required in the planning.
Objective of the study
The objective of the study is to provide a greater insight of the priority development area scheme undertaken for the development of the Southport area of the Gold Coast city. The Southport area of the city is known as the business area supporting the highest concentration of industries. The residential concentration level is also highest in Southport compared to the other parts of the city. The purpose of the scheme is to develop this particular part of the city for supporting future development and business growth. The study reviews the Southport Priority Development Area Scheme that has been proposed. It further identifies the strengths and the weaknesses within the development scheme taken for the economic development in the area. It is to analyze the efficiency of the scheme and provide further recommendation based on the identification made. In other words, the purpose of the report is to increase the efficiency of the priority development area scheme made for the Southport section of Gold Coast city.
Overview of Southport Priority Development Area
Declaration and Adaptation
This declaration of the PDA scheme in Southport took place on 4th October 2013 and was approved by the state government on 5th September 2014. The notification for the scheme came out under the Economic Development Act 2012 that invited the interested business organizations, residents, communities and major stakeholders to view the proposed scheme and submit their concern within 22nd May 2014, so that the Minister for Economic Development Queensland can consider the proposals. The government Gold Coast cities reviewed the submissions received and prepared a report accordingly, which was then forwarded to the MEDQ (Dilgp.qld.gov.au 2017).
The Central Business District and former Gold Coast hospital sites are the locations under development within the Southport Priority Development Area. The areas falls under the 195.7 hectares of the PDA are Broadwater Parklands, north of Railway Street, south of Queen Street (Goldcoast.qld.gov.au 2017).
Elements of PDA Scheme
The PDA scheme proposed for the Southport consists of three elements that are land use plan, infrastructure plan and implementation plan. First element of the scheme proposes the vision of future Southport as the Gold Coast CBD, whereas, the second element narrates the infrastructure required for supporting the land use plan in PDA. The last element describes the strategies and mechanisms that are planned for implementation of the land use plan and infrastructure plan in the Southport PDA (Wearegoldcoast.com.au. 2017).
Land Use Plan
The vision of the scheme is to turn CBD of Gold Coast into world-class centre for employment, community services, commerce and retail. The future Southport will offer its residents a wide variety of housing options and highly desirable lifestyle amenity. The complete Southport according to this vision is divided into four segments or precincts that are Central Business District, Residential neighborhood, Garden Residential Neighborhood and Open Space.
Precinct 1: Central Business District
This segment of the PDA will be comprised with the commercial offices and medium to high retail organizations. The will be marked as the business district of Southport. The main streets of Scarborough and Nerang will be supporting the high end retails. This will be the central hub for innovative businesses and it will thrive for 24 hours and 7 days continuously (Wearegoldcoast.com.au. 2017).
Precinct 2: Residential Neighborhood
This area of the PDA will be highly urbanized supporting the largest residential segment. The residential buildings of this area will be high-rise supporting maximum population per sq-ft. It will further support the non-residential purposes like small-scale businesses in the neighborhood along with local services where necessary.
Precinct 3: Garden Residential neighborhood
This area will be comprising medium to high density residential colonies ranging from town houses to medium rise residential buildings. This will also be supporting the non-residential uses such as street level small scale neighborhood business and services where the people will be getting some of everyday household items. In addition to these amenities, the place will be covered with a degree of greenery with prominent green streetscapes.
Precinct 4: Open Space
The open Space in Southport PDA will be a combination of naked nature and technology. The development of this particular segment will be focused is such a fashion that it can support the major events like commonwealth 2018. This will provide the residents to perform the leisure activities in their daily lives. The open space is constituted with the parks and water bases that will be recreated to support the development of the rest of the segments. These areas will be free from the physical dominance.
Infrastructure and Implementation strategy
The infrastructure of the Southport PDA will have a proper network chain with modernized building to support the business growth. The networking infrastructure includes water supply, wastewater infrastructure, storm-water, and modernized transport and recreation facilities. Moreover, the CBD building infrastructure includes addresses the economic growth of the area. The funding for network infrastructure will base upon the approvals for provision and agreements. Funding for the CBD building infrastructure on the other hand will be shared by both public and private sector organizations under special rate or charges (Wearegoldcoast.com.au. 2017).
Strengths and weaknesses of the development plan
The strengths of the planning methods have helped in the undertaking of the proficient planning functions. The planning steps helps in examining the strengths of undertaking the procedure. On the other hand, there are limitations that affect the structure of the improvements that are being planned for the improvements in the urban structure (Refer to Appendice 1). The strengths and the weaknesses of the plans are being discussed in this section of the report.
Strengths: Minimization of the ‘Wall Effect’
The ‘wall effect’ that is being faced by most of the development projects affects the quality of the air and the atmosphere. It is based on the erection of the high storied buildings in the development area. The wall effect is being minimized in this project and thereby it helps ion maintaining the quality of the air and the other resources that the region holds. The important changes in the framing of the buildings and the planning that is being undertaken in order to bring in the improvements to the region has helped in the undertaking of enhancing the resources of the region (Hundloe, McDougall and Page 2015). The region faces the sea, which is not obstructed by the high raised buildings. On the other hand, the complex structures of the buildings are not undertaken, which helps in their sustenance.
Crime detection and safe dwelling place
The planning has enabled the usage of the CCTV’s in certain areas around the region. It helps in the detection of the crime, thereby ensuring the safety of the inhabitants of the area. the consideration of safeguarding the interests of the people helps in the gradual development of the area as a crime free zone (Dedekorkut-Howes 2013). On the other hand, the increasing crime rates in the area can be controlled and minimized through the careful implementation of the crime detection functions that were planned in the development procedure of the region.
The innovative designs that are being undertaken in the planning of the Southport developmental scheme have helped in enhancing the living conditions of the residents and the visitors of the area (Refer to Appendice 2). On the other hand, the high quality urban designing helps in the connectivity of the communities and thereby bring in integration in the process. it also helps in undertaking different national and international investments that might help the area in developing economically with the growth of the industrial sector of the area (Dedekorkut-Howes 2013). The innovative designs that are being undertaken by the planning have helped in the processing of the different structures of the developmental scheme.
Well connected designs for enhancing community interactions
The designs that are planned in the scheme helps in improving the connectivity between the people and the communities. The framing of the community halls and the other infrastructures helps in the ensuring the connectivity among the people. It helps in bringing in integration among the communities resulting to their economic and spiritual growth.
The active transportation procedures that are considered in the planning helps in connecting the local and the regional spaces. It helps in the progress of the industrial sector. Therefore, proper planning is being undertaken with the view of connecting distant place with the region, which might result to a good trade relation.
Weaknesses: Lack of green space
The developmental process, that is being undertaken by the state governments have focused greatly on improving the industrial sector of the region. On the other hand, the requirements of the inhabitants and the tourists are also being adhered by the scheme through their detailed designing procedure (Alidoust and Bosman 2015). However, the plans lack a space for maintaining the green space around them apart from the open stadiums and the other establishments that are being erected with the view of supporting the needs of the inhabitants of the area. The lack of green space might affect quality of the air and the water sources available in the region. Therefore, it can be taken as one important setback of the planning scheme that is being undertaken by the state government of the region (Dedekorkut-Howes and Mayere 2015).
Continuous business environment
The continuous business environment affects the environmental setting of the region. The long business undertakings create a havoc impact on the environment of the area. The natural resources too face the risk of being depleted by the long working hours and the growth of the industrial sectors in the area. On the other hand, the continuous business environment affects the quality of the air and the water (Refer to Appendice 3). It also affects the soil of the area, which might cause the loss of productivity of the area. The vegetation-plantation of the area might face a decline in the structure (Gurung et al. 2015). Therefore, the continuous business environment causes the barrenness of the area, which must be considered by the state government authorities before implementing the plan on the area.
Lack of EPA
The assessment of the environmental protection is lacking in the region, which affects the environmental concerns that are being undertaken by the plans. The assessments help in the understanding of the procedures that are affecting the environment of the developmental area. However, the lack of such assessment leads to the understanding of the practices that are harmful for the environment.
The inability to change and the satisfaction with the prescribed plans affects the structure and the improvement that the state governments seeks to undertake of the area. The changes that are being undertaken by the state governments are based on the needs of industrial developments, while compromising the eco-friendly assumptions (Kveladze, van der Spek and Kraak 2012). Therefore, changes are required to be undertaken in order to empower the environmental aspects. However, the inattentiveness of the people towards undertaking the required change for their sustainable growth falls under the context of the status quo (Cutaia 2016).
The key issues that can be identified with the implementation of the plan are:
- The involvement of the plan is based on the lack of the eco-friendly approach of the plan
- The steps industrialization creates a havoc impact on the land use and thereby results to lack of resources in the area
- The concerns of the safe disposition of the industrial wastes are not being formed which might affect the environment
- The lack of the sustenance of the land use based on the proportions
The recommendations are being formulated with the view of improving the planning strategies that are being undertaken by the state governments in order to improve the economic condition of the regions. The important aspects of the change are more focused on the improvements in the living conditions of the people and again improve the industrial sector of the region. The set of recommendations for the betterment of the plans are being discussed in this section of the report.
- Proper assessment of the environmental factors must be undertaken in order to undertake the eco-friendly approach. It helps in understanding the different loopholes in the planning procedure based on their focus on the industrial development of the region.
- Green spaces must be maintained in the plans in order to ensure the balance between the pollution that is being caused through the functions undertaken by the industries of the region and the atmosphere. The green spaces help in maintaining the scenic beauty of the place and thereby make the place worth living for the inhabitants of the area (Bajracharya et al.2015).
- The plans must also make provisions for the safe disposition of the wastes from the factories and the residents in order to maintain the proper sustainable approach of the environment. It must also take steps in order to enforce rules to prohibit the loss of resources from the area.
- The people and the plan must be able to take steps in order to bring in modifications in the systems. It helps in bringing in continuous modifications for improving.
The PDA Scheme offers several benefits that will definitely work in favor of the residents and the businesses that are operating in the area. Most notable of the scheme are the improvement in the network, which will now be able to support advanced business growth in the area. However, despite of the strengths identified in the planning, there are certain weakness that should be looked after with concern, such as the amount of open space. It is low in respect to the urban segment. Hence, the planning should be modified as per the recommendation to attain maximum efficiency.
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