We live and work in Aspley, a middle northern suburb of Brisbane, which has a population of 11,840 as per the 2006 Census and is located about 13 kilometres north of the CBD. The population is projected to rise to 12,250 (medium series projection) by 2031, an additional 500 people indicating no major or foreseeable plans for renewal, infill and redevelopment of the area to embrace a more compact form. This then has implications for future liveability and walkability.
It’s about a half hour drive though in good traffic conditions it will take 20 minutes. Wikipedia provides some historical and other information about the suburb. The Local Area Plan notes that “The Aspley Centre will be reinforced as a northern gateway to Brisbane”. We dislike the primary reference to Aspley as a gateway – it’s not just a place that people drive through, it’s not just a place for cars despite the proliferation of roads, car yards and carparks and the absence of footpaths and walkability from some areas.
The following, sourced from the mash-up Australian Suburban Trends, provides a snapshot of the area:
Other statistical information is collated and presented here. This includes suburb (statistical local area) profiles. As you will see, Aspley is not an impoverished community, although there are signficant distortions and variations in demographics. We note, in particular that these occur around aged care and retirement facilities and caravan parks. We particularly note that the lowest income people are spending more for their housing, as a percentage of their income, than others in the locality. We also note a possible relationship between income and internet access and education.
There are a range of changes afoot, which have been marked on a Google map:
- A major apartment development, with buildings up to 12 stories is planned for the Caravan Park sites
- The Northern Busway is in planning and will link Aspley by rapid transit resulting in a significant reduction of travel times. The preferred route for this have now been released.
- A significantly sized site (about 2 acres) on Gympie Road and with walking distance from major the centre is for sale
- The major shopping centre is for sale
- Nomination of the locality as the NBN pilot site in Brisbane with work due to commence in December 2011
- Minor and indiscriminate redevelopment as older post-war housing (usually on large blocks of land up to a quarter acre) is demolished and replaced with either medium density housing, split blocks or a single dwelling that occupies more land on the block.
- The Aspley Hypermarket, a shopping mall, has experienced rolling vacancies over the past few years. There has now been a decision by the Supermarket to sublet some of the floor space (by our reckoning a quarter) indicating changing dynamics and economies of retail, potentially revealing the current retail offer is obsolete.
In another work, Placing, there are several posts and projects centred on Aspley which introduce and speculate about changes taking place in our local area. We immediately saw this as an opportunity for speculative work that could engage the community in different ways of thinking about place. And some small projects and provocations have already been posted including a SoundWalk and SoundMap produced for World Listening Day and an invitation to make comments about how to redevelop the Gympie Road site.
We’ve noted the work of highly regarded hybrid and interdisciplinary contemporary art projects including Social Sculpture practice, Hypothetical Development Organisation (Candy Chang), Centre for Urban Pedagogy, M12, Design Nerds and Social Tapestries: An Atlas of Enquiry (Proboscis), Makeshift and Donovan Hill’s QGarland: Possible Public Space project. The combined critical, community and creative dimensions of these projects are resulting in and enabling radically new imaginings and representations of cities, communities and place.