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The suburbanisation of the coastal communities of Sorrento and Queenscliff : measuring the effects of overdevelopment.
conference contributionposted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ursula De JongUrsula De Jong, Robert Fuller
Architecture is often read as a marker of change. The Victorian towns of Sorrento and Queenscliff are undergoing immense change as a result of rapid modernisation and building due to the ‘sea-change’ phenomenon. It has been argued that this is adversely affecting place, diminishing ‘sense of place’, destroying neighbourhood character and leading to unsustainable development. Planning strategies such as Melbourne 2030 have exacerbated this trend by advocating increasing population densities without regard to specific local environmental or historical conditions. Richard Neville comments generally that ‘Architecture is a lightning rod for passions about community, development, taste and lifestyle. Few issues engage and enrage people more than development – whether a prominent public site … or a more local issue such as housing design or density.’ Anecdotally the increase in building footprint is one measure of cultural lifestyle change that has occurred in the last half century in the coastal areas of the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas. While the change from the 1950s ‘fibro shack’ to the 2000s supersize ‘McMansion’ in Sorrento and Queenscliff demonstrates increasing prosperity and sophistication, these developments show little awareness of the local coastal landscape or place identity. If the impacts of this ‘sea change’ phenomenon on place are to be considered as more than anecdotal, ways of evaluating these impacts are required. Monitoring and documenting the impact of changes to place will enable the researchers to quantify overdevelopment as site specific and recommend that modern planning schemes need to value and address place differently.