Victorians have given resounding approval to the notion that their state should adopt minimum apartment sizes, with around three quarters agreeing that minimum sizes should be implemented for new high-rise and multi-residential dwellings.
All up, 76 per cent of those who took part in a survey conducted by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning together with the Office of the Victorian Government Architect either agreed or strongly agreed that there should be minimum apartment sizes to ensure that apartments had reasonable-sized rooms and storage.
Moreover, limited room for storage was cited as the most significant bugbear of apartment dwellers ahead of noise, lack of affordable alternative housing options, an inability to have pets and the lack of a strong sense of community.
Almost two thirds of those surveyed indicated that the amount of storage space available to them was not sufficient for their needs.
The survey was conducted as part of a broader engagement process through which the Victorian government hopes to develop stronger regulations with regard to planning and apartment design.
This follows a period under the former state government whereby then Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved developments at many times maximum densities allowed in major cities around the world.
The process revealed a somewhat polarised spectrum of views, with many arguing for tighter requirements but with industry groups cautioning that this could impact the flexibility required for the market to deliver not only the most appropriate solution for individual cases and developments but also a sufficient quality of affordable housing within reasonable proximity to transport and employment links.
According to the survey, space was the second most important issue in terms of the inquiry, ranking behind daylight and ahead of natural ventilation, noise, energy efficiency and sunlight.
There was also a strong belief that natural light is beneficial for the health and well-being of apartment residents and that minimum standards for daylight access were required.
In terms of terms of space, there was agreement among most participants about the importance of adequate storage and a need for minimum sizes for both rooms and apartments as well as for greater choice through the provision of a variety of apartments with different numbers of rooms.
There was also agreement on the need for apartments to achieve high Green Star ratings, the requirement for multiple design solutions to ensure effective natural ventilation and the need for strong noise mitigation measures.
Still, a number of areas brought mixed opinions, including the best method for determining appropriate minimum standards for daylight access, apartment size and ceiling height as well as whether or not minimum standards are required for noise mitigation and whether or not natural ventilation is required for areas that can be ventilated mechanically.
Finally, in terms of what people liked and disliked about apartment style living, low maintenance and transport costs as well as proximity to cultural, social and employment opportunities ranked among the key attractions. Limited storage space, noise and a lack of alternative housing choices which are affordable rank among some of the main turnoffs.