Alternative dwelling models to accommodate a growing city: Gold Coast, Australia
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This paper discusses the current housing situation on the Gold Coast, Australia and presents the work of undergraduate architecture students at the Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University. The students were tasked with designing dwellings for a growing population which responded to the unique environment that is the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is claimed to be the “undisputed leisure and entertainment capital”1 of Australia. With the well-known slogan of “Famous for Fun” used in the Visit Gold Coast tourism campaign2. Spectacular surf beaches, thrilling rides at theme parks and the natural wonders of the rainforest on its door step, it is no wonder that the Gold Coast is viewed as a place of tourism. Located in southeast Queensland, the Gold Coast is a dynamic city, in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions. Australia’s sixth largest city, the City of Gold Coast Council region covers 1333.8 square kilometres, but only 350km2 or less than a quarter of this area is urban in nature. When the Gold Coast as a tourism region is considered it extends well beyond the local government area. The Gold Coast is naturally bound by its place. It is a 41kilometre stretch of land divided by 270 kilometres of rivers, creeks and man-made canals, bordered by ocean to the east and mountain ranges to the west. The Pacific Ocean to the east is perhaps the defining and most recognised feature of the narrow coastal plain with its golden sand beaches punctuated by rocky headlands, the remnants of ancient lava flows, at Green Mount, Currumbin, Burleigh and Miami3. It is however; inland that defines the Gold Coast further, being located at the edge of an extinct shield volcano. During the thousands of years of erosion the environments of place as we know them have been revealed. To the west are 100,000 hectares of heritage listed rainforests which grow from the rich volcanic soils and the topography drains water through a series of creeks and rivers out to sea. These environments supported indigenous communities for thousands of years. Along with its natural constraints, the Gold Coast is also defined by the Pacific Motorway, the road that connects Brisbane and Sydney. The built environment has responded to these conditions and is largely concentrated within a 300 square kilometer area. Figure 1 maps these divisions present on the Gold Coast.
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