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Conference paper

Experience of high-rise apartment living in Australia: a case study of Southbank, Melbourne

Apartments Housing density Traffic congestion Neighbourhood effects Melbourne

High-rise housing (9+ storeys) is a relatively recent housing typology in Australia, with conventional single-detached homes having dominated the Australian housing narrative for many decades. Many planning policies from the Victorian State Government emphasise urban consolidation and a compact city, particularly in Melbourne's inner-city. Victoria has experienced the most significant percentage of high-rise construction than any other state in Australia, with super high-rise (20+ storey) buildings making up 29% of the state's apartment approvals.

Southbank, an inner-city suburb directly adjacent Melbourne's CBD is home to some of Australia's tallest residential buildings. This research explored how high-rise residents experience Southbank, their sense of place and how they live there. Two key questions are: What are Southbank residents’ sense of place within the high-rise building in which they live? and What are Southbank residents’ sense of place within the suburb?

Apartment buildings have played a significant role in progressing homeownership in many liberal democracies over the last century. The trend of inner-city apartment living in Melbourne has now come to represent affluent living, contrasting significantly when such spaces were for public housing tenants. Multiple studies have shown how the development of higher-density high-rise apartment buildings are made to accommodate more people, reduce carbon footprint, slow down urban sprawl, minimise car traffic congestion, and meet infrastructure demands. Whilst a number of studies have been conducted regarding the urban design qualities of Southbank, little is known about how high-rise residents perceive place and their connections to place.

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