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Marden Connect – housing industry’s response to the demand for more green spaces

November 12, 2020

Marden Connect - central landscaped garden. Image: Water Sensitive SA

The decoupling of car parking and dwellings could be the key to achieving urban greening in medium-scale infill developments. Research by architects and urban designers with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities has identified seven key design principles for infill development, as described within the infill performance evaluation framework. Application of these principles will improve amenity and wellbeing through urban greening and smart stormwater management.

Standard industry practice

Standard industry practice is delivering developments that are over 90% impervious. The high proportion of hard paved surfaces within the site is inherent in the design due to the number of vehicle turning movements in and out of individual garages. While there may be space for the establishment of a canopy tree (deep soil zone) in some cases, this is rarely part of any landscape plan.

Housing development from left – standard industry practice for medium-scale infill, and a cooler, greener alternative. Images: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Housing development typologies, from left – standard industry practice for medium-scale infill; and a cooler, greener alternative. Images: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

By placing all carparking in a single location within an undercroft garage or carpark (Central garden design concept, above right), or a dedicated carparking area, the vehicle turning movements on the site are vastly reduced, giving over space in the overall design for landscaping and deep soil zones. This offers a 35% increase in soft landscaped areas, relative to standard industry practice and greater opportunity for the establishment of healthy canopy trees.

Central garden design. Images from left: Baugruppen project Germany & CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Central garden design. Images from left: Baugruppen project Germany & CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

In the central garden design typology, over 50% of the site would consist of townhouses with Torrens Title status, popular with the residential market and the remainder would consist of townhouse style apartments, above an undercroft carparking.

Emerging practice in Adelaide

Elements of the CRCWSC infill design principles can be found in the Marden Connect development in Adelaide’s inner North Eastern suburbs.

Two three-storey apartment blocks are separated by a central landscaped garden, that provides a high amenity outlook from each apartment. At maturity, the trees will provide a cool refuge between the building, assist privacy for residents and encourage rainwater that falls on the site to be intercepted or infiltrated into the landscaped area.

Marden Connect - central landscaped garden and design. Images from left: Water Sensitive SA & Qattro

Marden Connect – central landscaped garden and design (A). Images from left: Water Sensitive SA & Qattro

Carparking spaces for each apartment are provided in dedicated offstreet parking bays via a shared access road with adjacent townhouses. This has eliminated the need for a second driveway for one of the apartment blocks, freeing up the space for the central landscaped garden.

Marden Connect – apartment car spaces in Mitchell Lane, and entry to subdivision along gum-tree lined Arabella Court. Images: Water Sensitive SA

Marden Connect – apartment car spaces in Mitchell Lane (B), and entry to subdivision along gum-tree lined Arabella Court (C). Images: Water Sensitive SA

Elsewhere within the development, two mature gums have been protected within a local park and define the character of the precinct, framing the streetscape as you enter the main boulevard that connects with the Torrens Linear Park

Swales are well integrated into the landscape design of the two parks located on the main access road to the subdivision providing stormwater detention and water quality improvement function while enhancing the overall amenity of the space.

Kerb inlets passively irrigate street trees supporting resilience of the landscape and enabling stormwater to add value as an alternative water source to the precinct.

Marden Connect – Arabella Court's central park Arabella Court, swale and kerb inlets. Images: Water Sensitive SA

Marden Connect – Arabella Court’s central park, swale and kerb inlets (D). Images: Water Sensitive SA

Read more about this development on our Marden Connect WSUD projects page.

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