My Future City - Jamie Guerra


Australia’s cities have undergone remarkable changes in the past few decades. It has prompted me to think about what makes a great city for the future - not just a workable one - and particularly about Adelaide’s growth.

Australia’s population has increased dramatically, and the demand for housing has pushed new homeowners to the cities’ boundaries while at the same time drawing residents into cities’ urban hearts.

In Adelaide, decisions around lifestyle and accessibility to work have influenced a movement of people back towards the city and inner suburbs.

It is an exciting time to be there. Rezoning in key areas has paved the way for mixed-use developments incorporating ground floor retail or offices, with residential apartments on the upper levels. Importantly, they have good access to public transport, which is critical to their long-term success and livability.

The laneways of Adelaide’s city centre are increasingly bursting to life with small bars, restaurants and pop-up activities, and the unfolding redevelopment of Adelaide Central Market Arcade promises an added vibrancy to an already iconic location.

Going forward, the key for planning authorities and the real estate industry will be to take advantage of the opportunities for thoughtful development in between these places. As Adelaide continues to evolve, connectivity between precincts will make all the difference to its overall success.

We could learn a lot from the rest of the world in that regard - about incorporating more zones for mixed uses, about creating places that activate spaces and engage people who live nearby or pass through. The best cities make the best of their natural attributes and their built form. They make smart use of technology to do things differently.

For overseas investors seeking returns in the Australian market, some of their best opportunities will come from the ideas they can transfer from other cities. The balance of scale across Europe, and the way mixed-use precincts incorporate into natural settings in Singapore, are approaches we could take inspiration from.

As populations move into cities, more people will be living and working above us and beside us. Within the next 15 years, I envisage more 24-hour areas, with even more reliance on smart public transport systems. This means we must plan for better and more efficient use of space.

Adelaide is in a great position to offer a superior mix of new development. We won’t see the scale and height of Sydney and Melbourne, but something unique and highly integrated.

We have to be wary of overdevelopment thought. We need to retain public spaces, such as parks and lakes that will help us connect with nature and encourage human interaction. This will be an important element of sustainable growth.

As Adelaide moves in this direction, its growing population will continue to vote with its feet. Affordable housing and superior amenities - and making sure this all fits in with peoples’ working lives – will define success.

At JLL, we are constantly considering and researching the best and brightest ideas about future cities and how humans interact with them. This is how we help our clients make the best investment decisions. The more they do, the more they’ll come back for more.

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