How To Thrive In Perth Today

While some Perth suburbs are battling after the boom, others are thriving

An Article written by Brianna Shepherd for ABC News

While some Perth suburbs are struggling to attract residents, businesses and customers to their neighbourhood post mining boom, other areas are thriving, creating vibrant communities of their own.

University of Western Australian urban and regional planning expert Paul Maginn said the inner-city suburb of Leederville, in particular, had “weathered the downturn” and had morphed into an interesting space over the past three years.

“It’s got a lot of cachet going for it in terms of appeal to young people and it’s got a very solid structure and a very solid kind of history and identity,” Dr Maginn said.

“There’s a number of bars and restaurants in the area, but ultimately accessibility is a key thing, as is its character … it looks very suburban in some sense — it’s low rise — but at the same time it’s got a very kind of edgy, little urban feel to it.”

Dr Maginn said Leederville’s proximity to a train line and the CBD were drawcards for the suburb, a similar situation he said he believed was helping Maylands, in the City of Bayswater, take off.

“I think Maylands is the epicentre of things at the minute — you can see the transition, the transformation really happening there,” he said.

“Maylands is interesting because it’s got a variety of housing types — there’s quite a lot of medium density, a lot of townhouses, so it’s quite appealing.

“It’s weathered the downturn in the last year or two and businesses have really kind of capitalised on that.”

Dr Maginn said Maylands and surrounding suburbs had also become popular as people wanted to move close to areas like Mount Lawley’s Beaufort Street, but at a more affordable price.

“There has been a kind of spill-over effect in many senses, and I think — in terms of housing and properties and schools — people are moving out to areas like Maylands, Meltham and Bayswater.

“I think they’re the next big things, at least in that corridor, and with the rail line to the airport going in that’s just going to bolster what’s going to happen in that area.”

Dr Maginn said eastern suburbs were in a similar situation, with the spill over from the CBD already boosting Victoria Park and Burswood, with that expected to stretch outwards towards Lathlain and Carlisle in the coming years.

“Once you get out of the CBD and go over the causeway you’re in a different territory — Victoria Park and Burswood — and you’re seeing a lot of transformation continually happening there,” he said.

“You can see clear signs of gentrification happening throughout the area and that’s just the market spotting opportunities and then moving outwards.

Sustainable housing driving growth

Further south of Perth, in White Gum Valley, an unusual approach to housing is driving interest in the area, rather than proximity to the CBD or affordability.

The White Gum Valley project — where an old school site is being turned into a wide range of housing options — has placed sustainability, multi-purpose spaces and inter-generational housing as key factors driving design.

Curtin University marketing and sustainability expert Angie Silva said the project, being led by LandCorp, was more up-to-date with community sentiment than more traditional development models.

“I think some of the challenges which communities have faced is that developers have kind of taken that four-by-two, cookie-cutter model in the suburbs and that’s not really conducive to community living,” she said.

“Especially with the downturn of Perth after the mining boom … and some people feeling maybe a bit more isolated … I just feel like that model doesn’t work any more and so what’s important is having a bit more of a multi-residential-style development.”

Soon-to-be White Gum Valley resident Martin Anda, head of the environmental engineering program at Murdoch University, said there were many factors which led him to build in the area.

“This development is pretty close to Fremantle … and there’s a lot of sustainability features and that really attracted me,” he said.

“What we’ve got is a standard-size lot as far as this development goes, it’s about 270 square metres, and I’m building two apartments on there with friends and we’ll have one apartment each.”


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