The VIA leadership team had the privilege of attending the 2023 Urbanity Conference, where we heard industry leaders’ insights. Connecting with a diverse array of visionaries, each with a unique perspective on the future of our cities, was an immensely valuable experience. We were thrilled to see, Pavilions Blackburn Lake, receive recognition as the Development of the Year in the Retirement, Aged Care, and Seniors Living category at The Urban Developer Awards for Industry Excellence. Adding to the excitement, TLC Mordialloc, another project we collaborated on, achieved finalist status at the awards.

Addressing the affordable housing crisis was a focal point of discussions throughout the conference, with experts emphasising a crucial solution – greater urban density. Nerida Conisbee, Ray White’s chief economist, advocated for a shift towards building up rather than out. This approach not only fosters inter-generational equality but also tackles the pressing issue of affordable housing. While inner-city Sydney and Melbourne already embrace high-density living, the transition to such models in suburban areas faces hurdles like Nimbyism and intricate planning procedures.

Conisbee’s data demonstrated that higher density can facilitate downsizing for older individuals who want to “age in place” but struggle to find suitable homes in familiar neighbourhoods. Within this framework, retirement communities emerge as pivotal contributors to addressing the issue. Seniors living communities provide housing solutions in desired and familiar neighbourhoods for ageing Australian’s, while also fostering a sense of community and support. This allows older individuals to downsize comfortably and maintain their desired lifestyle. Moreover, this plays a significant role in alleviating the housing pressure on younger generations, thus making a substantial contribution to mitigating Australia’s housing crisis.

Keynote speaker Kate Meyrick, Director of Urbis, delved into another important topic of conversation being the significance of urbanisation. Meyrick said developers had a key role to play in developing cities that attracted social capital. Her insights encompassed Urbis’ comprehensive assessment framework, which evaluates cities based on key factors such as people, planet, performance, positivity, place and permeability.

Meyrick urges developers, planners and local governments to create thriving cities with people at the core of every project and design endeavour. She emphasised that the fundamental raw resource any city possesses is its people, making it imperative to attract, retain and care for them, ensuring they enjoy living in the city while fostering connections. At VIA, we are dedicated to designing communities and spaces that not only prioritise the well-being and connectivity of residents but also enhance their lives.

We look forward to forging connections with even more innovators and reaffirming our commitment to ongoing learning. As a studio, we firmly believe that by nurturing these connections and maintaining collaborative partnerships with like-minded individuals, we can make a significant contribution to our communities. This aligns with our dedication to enhancing the environments we create, making them spaces where people can genuinely thrive.

News and Awards