ELLENBROOK has won the Oscars equivalent of community planning awards.
The 21-year-old community on the Swan Valley’s doorstep scooped the International Real Estate Federation Award for best master-planned community in the world.
Projects in the master-planning category were judged on financial considerations, authority approval, implementation, environmental impact and community benefits.
Ellenbrook, which is a public-private joint venture between the State Government and a LWP Property Group, was the fastest growing WA suburb in the 10 years leading up to 2011.
LWP managing director Danny Murphy said the award win recognised Ellenbrook’s innovations and long-term success.
“Through its many innovations, particularly in the areas of housing, community development, urban design and environmental management, Ellenbrook has maintained a leadership role and delivered a series of firsts,” he said.
Ellenbrook will eventually grow to a population of 35,000 and is Australia’s most awarded urban development project.
Housing Minister Colin Holt said the establishment of Ellenbrook in 1994 pioneered partnerships between the Government and the private sector.
“The ability of the Government and its partners to work together during the 20 years of this project demonstrates how it is possible to align private sector investment principles with quality urban design and Government social policy objectives,” he said.
“Ellenbrook is an industry leader in urban planning, creation of affordable housing, environmental sustainability and neighbourhood and community development.”
While many are pleased with the accolade, some residents have questioned how a community with packed entry roads and poor public transport infrastructure could claim the top planning gong.
Curtin University Professor of Sustainability Peter Newman previously said planning policies like Ellenbrook’s should be abandoned because they lacked connecting infrastructure.
He compared it to Britain’s post-World War II New Towns, which were designed to be self-sufficient and were landscaped with nice housing and a shopping centre.
“But they have no work, they are usually stuck out in the countryside without good public transport and they are low density so everyone drives,” Prof Newman said.
“We tried it out in Ellenbrook and the same thing resulted – beautiful landscaping, lots of nice housing, shopping centres but no work and no public transport of significance with no walkability as the density is too low.
“We should abandon such policies and just focus on redeveloping centres around good public transport.”