Rethinking Sunshine Coast Villages…places, business and change
The Sunshine Coast region of South-east Queensland, Australia is in a fortunate position. Its natural and built environment, combined with significant scale and proximity, makes it highly attractive for visitors and an aspirational place for a large number of in-migrants who arrive to settle in the region each year. One distinct feature of the region, replicated in very few others, is its urban layout. For a number of historic and other reasons, about 15 villages and townships became established, each distinct and separate from the others. Whilst this pattern has dissipated to some extent along the narrow coastal strip and in some newer areas, it is notable that most of these settlement patterns remained largely intact to the present day. Like all regions, the Sunshine Coast, for all its advantages, faces significant challenges. There are the usual issues of growth management and development control, but additionally, a number of quite fundamental decisions need now to be made with regard to region-wide planning for sustainability, prosperity and community development. It might be doubted, given the compounding nature of change and the impact of the global financial crisis, that previous policy settings will remain effective into the future. New, innovative policies and ideas will be necessary to secure the future the community can reasonably expect. This research paper, based on observations of this and other regions, would suggest that the long-standing spatial layout of the region can become an important contributor to a new economic and community approach. This does not imply a status quo approach but rather that these spatial characteristics may well be as important to a quite different future as they have been in the past.
Report presented to Villages Conference, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, 2 November 2012.