BRUNSWICK STYLE: Rooftop gardens, a communal laundry and more bicycle hoops than car parks could all feature in a proposed apartment development in central Ballarat.

BRUNSWICK STYLE: Rooftop gardens, a communal laundry and more bicycle hoops than car parks could all feature in a proposed apartment development in central Ballarat.

Designing with ethics in mind

Nightingale developments take sustainability into design

Infrastructure
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Plans for this proposed apartment development are designed to encourage sustainable living.

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For many, environmental and ethical considerations are an essential aspect in their decision-making process, from what washing powder they choose to where they live.

The pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle has the potential to influence the popularity of one town or suburb over another and has helped drive a growing architectural trend.

Designs for a bold 27-apartment development in central Ballarat have been unveiled to reveal the inclusion of a rooftop garden, communal laundry and retail shopfront. It is the first regional attempt to replicate the success of a carbon-neutral, community-focused housing model launched by Nightingale Housing in 2014.

Nightingale Housing business development manager and project lead Jennifer Kulas said the development aimed to address issues facing the local community.

"Oftentimes there's a sense that regional Victoria is overlooked but in reality it faces a lot of similar issues to Melbourne in terms of urban sprawl and potential social isolation," Ms Kulas said.

The building design was finalised following community consultation and several meetings with council.

"It's really aligned with [council's] ideas of an active, central Ballarat and a walkable city," Ms Kulas said.

"There's an acknowledgement from residents in Ballarat that there's a movement towards multi-residential housing."

The council passed an amendment in October last year to "encourage 50 per cent of future housing development to occur in established neighbourhoods" as part of the compact city plan.

The Nightingale housing model was launched in Brunswick, Melbourne, with Nightingale One, which drew controversy following the decision to build the apartment block with no car parking, instead encouraging residents to opt for cycling and public transport.

The Nightingale Ballarat proposal includes 14 car spaces and 54 bicycle parking spots for the 27-apartment development, a balance reached following a community information session in May.

"The feedback that came from the first information session was that about 50 per cent of residents were happy to live without cars," Ms Kulas said.

If approved, the 14 car spaces would be sold to residents separately to apartments.

INDUSTRIAL: The proposed development would replace warehouses on the 11 Davey Street site.

INDUSTRIAL: The proposed development would replace warehouses on the 11 Davey Street site.

Local residents have expressed hesitant support for the proposal, although some are concerned about traffic congestion and the size of the development.

Emily Kuik, whose Lyons Street North property is metres from the Davey Street site, said a large development might be "out of place" in the low-rise area.

"The streets are already pretty crowded," Ms Kuik said.

The site, which currently houses a disused warehouse, is part of a Residential Growth Zone designed to encourage medium-density housing growth close to activity centres.

The Nightingale model proposes 20 per cent of the apartments be allocated to a community housing provider who will own and operate the apartments as community housing.

"We are currently in conversation with Housing Choices Australia, a [community housing provider] who we have worked with on other Nightingale projects and who has expressed support for Nightingale Ballarat," Ms Kulas said..

Five apartments will be allocated to a priority ballot for people living with a disability and their carers as well as "key community contributors", such as people working in the arts, those supporting minority groups and providing vital community services.

Ms Kulas said she hoped to succeed where other infill developments have struggled, as the Nightingale development will be dependent on community support.

LUXURY LIVING: The rooftop shared space at The Commons in Brunswick, which includes a solar array, productive garden, landscaping, communal laundry and hanging space. Picture: Dianna Snape

LUXURY LIVING: The rooftop shared space at The Commons in Brunswick, which includes a solar array, productive garden, landscaping, communal laundry and hanging space. Picture: Dianna Snape

"We're in a bit of a different position because we have an option on the site, that means if we don't have sufficient interest we don't have to execute the option to purchase the site," Ms Kulas said.

"Nightingale Housing is coming to Ballarat on a fact-finding mission: to understand if there is sufficient community interest to live in a carbon neutral community-focused apartment building.

"We're listening and won't go ahead with the project without local community support."

For more information on the Nightingale Ballarat, head to nightingalehousing.org/nightingale-ballarat.

The story Designing with ethics in mind first appeared on The Courier.

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