Building height is often the focus when a new project is being considered, however, in order to achieve design excellence and help Australian cities be as vibrant and engaging as possible, height must be considered as one of a number of criteria, rather than debated as a singular issue.

“Height is perhaps the most contentious of all issues when discussing new building proposals. Maybe because it is readily quantifiable relative to the surroundings, or because fear of height has become a default response to any new development, it is often debated as a singular issue,” writes Chris Hayton, Principal in the Melbourne office of ROTHELOWMAN.

With the recent proposed changes to Victorian planning zones, height has become a crude and unsophisticated metric by which to measure design merit. Many are ignoring the other factors that contribute to the appropriateness of a building’s design.

Such simplistic quarantining of the height debate often occurring to the detriment of our urban environment, “As we seek a more sustainable, multi-centred and mixed use urban environment, limiting density through blanket height controls makes little sense. In doing so, we risk strangling the opportunities to develop more sophisticated and engaging cities,” said Hayton.

You can see the full piece in this month’s issue of Planning News or head to The Urban Developer to read it online.