The changing face of Brisbane as city living grows
We hear all the time that Brisbane’s inner city is growing. The trend to city living escalates as life in the ‘burbs loses appeal for many residents. And every 5 years we get a chance to sift through the Census data and really digest what’s happening. It shines a light on the changes our suburbs have undergone as we’ve busily gone about our lives.
Two of the top 5 fastest growing Brisbane suburbs are now in our inner-city. Newstead and Fortitude Valley have experienced huge population jumps in recent times, with both suburbs more than doubling than resident numbers from 2001 to 2011. With several new apartment towers under construction in the Valley and at Newstead’s “Riverpark” they will no doubt continue to keep the Census collectors busy. For much of our history the new homes spikes have happened in the greenfield estates and Wakerley in our outer eastern suburbs has indeed had Brisbane’s biggest growth over the past decade.
But it’s a solid trend that our oldest suburbs renew their appeal with a constant change from light industry and commercial uses to residential homes.
It will come as no surprise for locals that New Farm has again won the title as Brisbane’s most densely populated suburb. New Farm is a small pocket on a peninsula and with 5862 people per square kilometre it’s been home to apartment living since long before most Brisbane suburbs ever saw this type of dwelling. Some of their art-deco buildings are very sought-after and close-quarters living has been a part of New Farm for close to a century.
A couple of surprises in the “dense suburbs” results though: Highgate Hill (3rd) and West End (5th) are amongst Brisbane’s most densely populated suburbs and yet each of these suburbs still has approx half their dwelling stock in houses. Highgate Hill has had no major apartment development for many years but its houses do have small allotments with 405m2 (or under) the norm.
For all the talk and concern, outside our CBD we are still a relatively low density city. Compare this: Our most dense New Farm has less than 6,000 people per square kilometre. And Paris, often referred to as a planning icon and one of the planet’s most beautiful cities. Its density? More than 20,000 people per km2. The challenge remains for Brisbane’s inner city to manage our growth for the benefit of all residents, existing and arriving.