Adelaide is experiencing a subdivision revolution, but not everyone is happy about it

OF course some people aren’t happy …


IS it because …

-it’s not really about shelter … it’s about manipulating housing as a commodity

.from 4 dwellings to 34 dwellings in one street!!

housing has become an economic instrument exercised to benefit some, but excludes those who have the highest need but can least afford it


-it’s not about better outcomes but rather about profits

ADELAIDE …. the Capital of one of the driest States in Australia!

ON top of this it seems …

-standards are being diluted
-exceptions/waivers are being granted more easily
-amenity is being compromised
-Heritage values diminished
-existing character ignored

Adelaide is experiencing a subdivision revolution, but not everyone is happy about it

By Tom Fedorowytsch


An anti-development banner hanging on a fence

PHOTO: Residents have aired their frustrations with signs. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)

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As Dian Naraniecki strolls down the quiet and leafy Myrtle Bank street she has called home for years, it’s easy to see why she and many others have, but she says its character and charm are at risk.

Key points

  • Many houses around Adelaide are being knocked down and replaced by townhouses
  • Local residents are outraged about the loss of heritage in the area
  • The change in real estate gives the opportunity for young people to move to the inner suburbs

“It’s a beautiful living street, very friendly, it’s one of the old streets — very community-minded, everyone knows everyone, we help each other with the bins, with the mail, and we always greet new residents in the street with a gathering,” Ms Naraniecki said.

*The suburb, in Adelaide’s inner-south, is filled with large bungalows with spacious gardens, but at the end of Culross Avenue, developers have moved in.

A woman stands in front of a new housing development

PHOTO: Dian Naraniecki says development is changing the face of her suburb. (ABC News)

Dotted along the street are banners and signs which read: “Help stop the carnage” and “How many a block?”

*Where four bungalows have stood for decades, dozens of townhouses will be going up.

*”We’re going to go from four dwellings to 34 dwellings,” Ms Naraniecki said.

*Her neighbours are also outraged by the loss of heritage, greenery and parking.

“They could do exactly the same size development, or probably less, but they could do a large development and make it fit within the zone,” Ms Naraniecki said.

Aside from their banners, the residents are trying to speak with the local council and engage in South Australia’s complicated development processes.

Just don’t call this group NIMBYs.

“We’re not against development, we understand there has to be development, we have to have young people in the area,” she said.

While the townhouses planned for Culross Avenue comply with planning rules, they symbolise a transformation happening all over Adelaide.

A group of residents looking at a new housing development

PHOTO: Neighbours look on over one of the developments happening at the end of their street. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch )

‘Loved to death’ in Adelaide’s urban infill epicentre

North-east of Adelaide in the City of Campbelltown, Mayor Jill Whittaker regularly welcomes new residents to the area, while lending an ear to long-term homeowners outraged by development.

“Campbelltown is being loved to death because it is such a wonderful place for people to live, they want to bring up their families here,” she said.

A woman in a white jacket standing in a suburban street

PHOTO: Mayor Jill Whittaker said it was a delicate balance between character, and welcoming new residents. (ABC News)

Quiet streets have become a hive of activity, as tradies work away on new townhouses and duplexes.

“We are expected to take on more housing, more people, and it has brought some wonderful people into the city, and they are joining in, they’ve been part of the community, so there are some real positives with infill,” Ms Whittaker said.

“On the other side, we have the fact that the city is changing so rapidly, and it brings a huge number of problems as far as traffic is concerned, parking is concerned, there are disputes over fences, there are downsides to it that we are working through as a council and we’re trying to work through as quickly as we can.”

The council is planning to reduce subdivisions from five properties per block down to two or three, but it will be at the mercy of state planning laws.

Townhouse trend taking hold across the city

University of Adelaide planning expert Emma Baker said Adelaide was undergoing “massive” change, even if it was not growing as quickly as other major capitals.

“South Australia’s a very different place to what it was 100 years ago,” Professor Baker said.

“We’ve got smaller households, more of them, we’re growing slowly, and we probably want different things from our housing.”

The Adelaide skyline

PHOTO: The face of Adelaide’s suburbs is changing with new development. (ABC News)

Twenty years ago, the average block size in Adelaide was 534 square metres.

Now, most blocks are under 362 square metres — and the smallest townhouses on the market are under 60 square metres.

“We’ve moved to townhouses, but the sizes of the interiors of our houses haven’t changed overall,” she said.

However, Professor Baker said the disappearance of the backyard might free up more housing opportunities for young people trying to move to Adelaide’s inner suburbs.

It is an issue that will need to be addressed in South Australia’s new statewide planning and design code, currently undergoing consultation.

“At least in South Australia we’ve been able to plan for it, and do a proper period of consultation, and work out where we want to go,” Professor Baker said.

Adelaide’s tallest buildings now house apartments, not offices

While suburban residents cling to their car spaces and backyards, Sam Taylor and Damien Pyne have done what was once unthinkable in this city.

Two men siting in their apartment smiling at the camera

PHOTO: Damien Pyne and Sam Taylor enjoy the benefits of living close to work. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch )

They’ve given up their wheels, and moved into a one-bedroom apartment near Chinatown in the Adelaide CBD.

“I don’t think it was a difficult choice,” Mr Pyne said.

“When you start to look at the numbers as well, we save quite a lot of money not owning a car, especially a car that would probably sit stagnant most of the time.”

Adelaide city skyline

PHOTO: While Adelaide has not experienced Brisbane and Melbourne’s apartment boom, there are more apartment-living options than ever before. (ABC News)

The couple has fallen in love with the coffee shop downstairs, the parklands and amenities around the corner — and the nine-minute walk to work doesn’t hurt either.

“We wanted to deliberately put pressure on ourselves to downsize and get rid of a lot of the things that we perhaps felt were extraneous,” Mr Taylor said.

“The irony is that a lot of people will say, ‘oh I could never live in an apartment because I want my land’, but if you look at the way townhouses and courtyard homes and subdivisions are happening anyway, you really are limited in that backyard space.”

This is part two of South Australia’s Our Changing State series that looks at how SA is changing and the challenges it must overcome.

An anti-development banner hanging on a fence