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What Perth Wants

What Perth Wants coverEco-friendly apartments, public transport and cycling highest priorities for Perth residents

New research(pdf) shows that Perth residents are ready to embrace change and development that will deliver a more sustainable, more affordable and more liveable city.

The research was Commissioned by CCWA, working together with multi-residential property Developer Psaros, working with the Property Council of Australia.

We commissioned the research to understand community attitudes towards housing choice and the future development of Perth city and its surrounds.

The research shows that the preferences of Perth residents for housing type and for the future of the city are changing. The historical desire for large blocks and stand-alone housing no longer dominates housing choice in Perth. Instead, a growing majority of Perth residents are ready to embrace the benefits of apartment-style living in affordable and eco-friendly developments, especially around transport nodes.

The research also points to a significant shift in Perth resident’s relationship to the motor car. There is a high level of concern among Perth residents about traffic congestion, and a very strong demand for more sustainable and active transport options. Increased public transport was identified as the number one priority for Perth, with improved cycle lanes also among the top three priorities for residents.

The research also examined attitudes towards policies and planning that would guide Perth’s future development. This identified growing community support for more flexible planning to allow a mix of different and innovative development types. There is also strong support for relaxing building height limits for eco-friendly buildings and for developments around transport nodes.

A number of conclusions can be drawn from this research to inform policy makers, planners and local government authorities. The research challenges assumptions about the preferences of residents that may be holding back planning and policy decisions. It is clear that while individual vocal opposition to particular developments will remain, the growing majority of Perth residents are ready to embrace the development that is needed to make Perth a more sustainable city. Community support for increased height and density is particularly strong for eco-friendly developments and for areas around transport nodes.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said “This ground-breaking research dispels some deeply-held myths that have been holding Perth back from becoming more sustainable, more affordable and more livable.

“Our capital city is shaking off its ‘dullsville’ image, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.

“In particular, the research shows that high quality eco-friendly developments around transport links are strongly supported by the majority of Perth residents.

“While there can at times be vocal opposition to individual developments, there is much broader and stronger support for increased density than planners and Local Councils might think.

“This is great news for our environment. For every sustainable apartment that is built, less energy is used, less waste is created, less natural bushland is destroyed and more trips are taken by public transport.

Joe Lenzo, Property Council of Australia Executive Director said “the property sector has an enormous role to play in the creation of a sustainable future. With the right planning and policy support from state and local government, we will be able to create a built environment that caters for the needs and wants of the current and future Perth community. Developers are ready to support larger rates of infill housing and this research demonstrates that the community is ready too.”

Chiara Pacifici, Head of Sustainability at Psaros who helped initiate the research with CCWA is also encouraged by the results. “Quality is no longer measured by granite bench tops and shiny finishes but by the long-term sustainability for the whole community – that means more comfortable, more affordable places to live that have lower ecological footprints.  

“These findings reaffirm the decision made by Psaros to become a market leader in providing better performing and more sustainable apartments and multi-res developments”.

Mr Verstegen said “We hope that state and local governments as well as the property sector take up these findings and examine how they can help to create the future for Perth that residents want to see.

“We will be working with stakeholders in the coming months to build support for this positive vision for Perth, which has great benefits for industry, environment and the community.  


Download the full report here



Undertaken by leading social research provider Ipsos between 4 – 17 June 2014. Respondents who live within 10km range of the Perth CBD were recruited in an online survey and focus group analysis. An even distribution of voters between 18 and 65+ with majority being single or two parent families with kids and older couples without kids. Final sample size n+524.


Main findings:

There is very strong support for more medium & higher density apartment-style developments around transport hubs (71% support) and in inner areas (68% support).

The top three priorities for Perth’s future are;

  • an increase in public transport (train, light rail, buses) (95% support)
  • more eco-friendly buildings that generate their own power, collect rainwater and use less energy (89% support)
  • well-designed, safer bike paths to get to work and other places (86% support)

The most appropriate housing types for Perth city are:

  • a mix of mid-sized apartments, townhouses & retail / cafés (like Leederville and Northbridge) (79% support)
  • a mix of high-rise, town houses and parks (Like South Perth) (71% support)        

Over half of residents (55%) would support increased building height limits to allow for higher density around transport links and 50% would support relaxing building height limits if developments are eco-friendly; .

The majority of respondents (73%) do not believe that the benefits of a separate house and garden outweigh the benefits of inner city living.

The majority of respondents (69%) do not consider low density living in detached single housing to be a more affordable option .

Perceived benefits of apartment living include:

  • easier to maintain (71% agree, 8% disagree)
  • reduce the need for land clearing (70% agree, 8% disagree)
  • lower environmental impact than detached housing (54% agree, 17% disagree)
  • save on energy costs (44% agree, 15% disagree)
  • save on car running costs (42% agree, 23% disagree)

3 in 5 inner city residents are likely to move house in the next 5 years; 73% would consider living in medium density housing and 50% in higher density housing.



The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the State’s peak community-based conservation organisation with a mission to protect the WA environment and support a sustainable future for WA communities.




The Property Council of Australia is the leading advocate for Australia’s property industry and the built environment. Its members represent the broad spectrum of businesses that own property, property developers, building managers and property industry service providers.




Psaros is a multi-award winning mid-tier Western Australian property developer leading in the construction of environmentally sustainable apartment buildings. With a 30- year track record, Psaros has delivered over 700 apartments in Perth, with an additional 350 new apartments under construction and a further 650 in various stages of approval.

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