21 Oct 2019

Many of us associate the Gold Coast with its iconic skyline and pristine beaches. But there is so much more to Queensland’s southern city – including its unique collection of urban villages. 

Urbis Gold Coast Director Matt Schneider describes textural differences between each beachside suburb as a key source of this diversity. He believes they are differences that drive a healthy rivalry between the suburban ‘villages’ dotted along the city’s coastline.

Schneider is passionate about keeping that rivalry alive by ensuring the Gold Coast celebrates the unique identity of its neighbourhoods through architecture.

“There are three fundamental components of the DNA of the Gold Coast and the skyline is one of them, but it’s number three on my list,” says Schneider.

“Number one is water, the lifeblood of the city. This includes our rivers and canals because it’s the water that actually ties together these neighbourhoods and what people deeply relate to.

“From a city planning perspective, the Gold Coast started as a series of coastal villages and what you’re seeing now is a reimagination of those coastal villages into urban neighbourhoods.

The Building Height Study is about striking the right balance to make sure we don’t stop good development from happening by being too prescriptive

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“That’s why Palm Beach, Burleigh, Mudgeeraba, Main Beach and Southport are all interesting. It’s what makes our city really distinctive because that network of neighbourhoods has intrinsic value and it goes right back to our genesis as a city.”

Schneider is excited about a renewed focus on planning and design and, in particular, on the emergence of a subtropical city.

“We’re designing and planning parts of our city to be distinctive in their place,” he says.

“You want things in Coolangatta to be different from Surfers Paradise. It’s that sense of place and that deep root in place that we’re designing for.”

Schneider sees good development as essential for the Gold Coast to maintain its prized reputation for liveability.

Through the award-winning Building Height Study released by the City of Gold Coast in 2017, the Urbis team distilled the essence of how building height contributes to the Gold Coast’s identity as a guide to future planning.

“The study is about striking the right balance to make sure we don’t stop good development from happening by being too prescriptive,” he says.

The above article is an except from We are Gold Coast. To continue reading, please click here.