Pete and Beth Clark wrote…”I wish our son could have a childhood like mine, with an empty block next door to roam in with hours and hours of outside time, riding our bikes with gangs of neighbourhood children with no sense of time and no parents hovering. If we got hungry we’d go home for food, or as Mum described it – “you must came home when it gets dark” Now it will be car-ferrying all the way, for fear of the “stranger danger”, to and from school and sporting activities, at least while he is young”.

Saving Space in 1937 Click to Enlarge

Saving Space in 1937
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Children Play Outdoors Click to enlarge

Children Play Outdoors in Parkland
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Many specialists in the field of child development and urban psychology say that life in high-rise apartments can present hurdles to a toddler’s psychological growth, particularly to the young child’s need to develop a sense of autonomy. And high-rises are exactly the kind of buildings that are being built on Doncaster Hill.

This kind of vertical existence also changes the traditional idea of  “going outside to play”, even in cities. The hallways and elevators that connect high rise buildings to terra firma exert their own intimidating force.  A recent study found

that housewives who live in a high rise plan their days so that they need to go out as little as possible or not at all.  Children will thus also be less inclined to go out, since their mothers won’t insist on it.

Children isolated in high rise apartment towers can have the very loneliest of parents, who,  before their children were born, might have held jobs outside the home. Those who leave work for a time to stay at home with the child have no cultivated friends in their building who would otherwise be their natural companions during the day.

Margaret a single mother with a 5 year-old son said that living in their high rise apartment was like living in a prison. He was like a confined animal in a cage, he broke every appliance we had;  he tore down items from the shelves in his bedroom. He would run out into the hall and it would take me half an hour to coax him back.

Margaret, who preferred not to give her last name, and her husband soon learned, living in an apartment with a child can be difficult. While play dates, preschool centres and playgrounds can provide a social life for toddlers, living high above a cityscape often defeats the spontaneous play and exploration that young children thrive on.

The current high rise boom on Doncaster Hill is driven almost entirely by overseas investors coupled with loose restrictions on minimum size of apartments which  has given the green light for overcrowding in these over developments. This has resulted in up to 40% apartments being built as tiny one bedroom units averaging less than 50 Sqm with the majority having only one window.

Overcrowding is occurring because there are very few three and four bedroom apartments being built. There should be a maximum of two people per bedroom; single parents an unmarried persons aged 18 and over should have a separate bedroom and; children aged 10 to 17 years to share only with the same sex. By these standards the majority of high rise families are living in overcrowded conditions.

Some couples with children who have purchased an apartment on the basis of affordability so as to get a foothold on the property ladder. The whammy is that they could be in a financial trap because there is no capital gain on the local market fort he resale of high rise apartments in outer areas such as Doncaster Hill. While local detached and semi detached housing is booming apartment prices have remained stagnant which is why the prospect of owning a proper home will be very difficult if you are locked into a high rise apartment.







  1. Bashafileka says:

    There is no local demand for apartments on Doncaster Hill because most of them are too small for couples let alone families.There is no employment and they are too far from the City. This is reflected in the high number of apartments currently listed for resale. The current boom in purchasing off the plan is entirely due to overseas investors taking advantage of FIRB regulations which allows foreigners to buy new properties in Australia. Overcrowding in slum like conditions will occur if the overseas investors rent these properties and the tenants sub let them similar to what is currently occurring in inner Melbourne.

  2. Cramped says:

    385 apartments are to be built, together with a Bunning store, on Doncaster Road between the primary school and the Westfield shopping centre. The majority will be one-bedroom apartments (generally sized between 43sqm and 48sqm), plus very small balcony and lobby areas. The apartments appear to be aimed at singles or professional couples but the worry is that young families could be attracted on the basis of affordability
    Manningham council have no concerns about these under sized apartments. Recently a government spokesman said it wanted reforms that would “enhance livability but not compromise affordability” which is like “having a bob each way” because affordability could only be associated with the asking price of more smaller, lower quality apartments.

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