Dr Alysia Bennett1
1Department Of Architecture, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Hobart’s Battery Point, adjacent to the amenity-rich CBD, is a unique residential suburb that is aesthetically desirable while having a significantly higher housing density than other Tasmanian suburbs. As such, it provides a useful case study for understanding points of convergence in the Hobart housing market, the actions of developers and the government’s strategic urban consolidation agendas. In order to investigate the alignment between development, densification and the desirability of Battery Point’s housing, the 1979 Battery Point Planning Scheme, a selection of houses modified between 1920 and 2015, and maps of dwelling distribution across the suburb, were analysed using design-research based methods. The study found that the unique approach to conservation embedded in the contextually specific planning scheme facilitated the retention of the distinct character of the suburb and diversity of the built fabric which has allowed the suburb to resiliently meet the shifting functional needs and aspirations of its community over time. Consequently, Battery Point demonstrates that through careful integration with development systems and alignment with economic forces, a focus on the retention of heritage fabric can aid the facilitation of socially, environmentally and culturally sustainable housing development for regional and low-density Australian cities.
Dr Alysia Bennett is a lecturer and architectural researcher at Monash University. Her research concentrates on overcoming barriers to the densification and diversification of suburban housing to improve the affordability of housing stock, primarily in regional and suburban contexts.