POSTED May 28, 2020
Master developer and home builder Sekisui House Australia is challenging traditional conventions of masterplanned communities following the successful launch of the $1.5 billion Ripley Town Centre in June last year.
Almost one year on, Sekisui House Australia continues to make inroads with key partners to elevate the standard of economic, social and environmental sustainability, ensuring Ripley Town Centre is future-proofed for the projected growth of the Ripley region—approximately 133,000 new residents by 2036.
Having developed sustainable communities on a global scale, Sekisui House Australia is now leveraging its strengths cultivated in Japan and around the world, and planning to design and introduce a number of unique initiatives to Ripley Town Centre.
The masterplan vision draws on the 20-minute neighbourhood philosophy to create a low-carbon, connected community, with major facilities and amenities all within a 20-minute walk.
Life’s necessities—healthcare, education, commerce, parks and public transport—are all on the doorstep, allowing the community to truly live locally, and ultimately reduce everyday expenses.
The developer has partnered with WINConnect to build a private, community-embedded energy network, allowing Ripley Town Centre to generate and use power within the masterplanned community and purchase any additional energy required at wholesale rates.
This concept allows profits to be injected back into the community, through discounts in electricity costs and for the maintenance of existing and future public space landscape infrastructure.
While the concept of embedded networks is nothing new the sheer scale of Ripley Town Centre’s network, once complete, will set a new benchmark for Queensland and feed into to the community’s “circular economy” model.
Sekisui House Australia senior development manager Taku Hashimoto said Ripley Town Centre will provide residents, workers, partners and visitors with opportunities to claim their share and play their part in a vibrant circular economy.
“Our aim is to enable residents and commercial partners to reduce their costs and save money on not just utility overheads, but also on commuting costs and unnecessary infrastructure,” Hashimoto said.
“In turn, residents, retailers and commercial operators will reap the benefits of a greater local spend, shared sustainable infrastructure and affordable utilities.
“Our ultimate aim is to achieve a net zero energy community where residents, retailers and commercial operators can sell excess energy to other players within the community and capitalise on another income stream.
“Similarly, it is through other initiatives such as a private car share scheme and residential guest apartment scheme that the community will realise considerable savings and benefits, while also reducing their carbon footprint.”
An added benefit of the implementation of these initiatives is an increase in asset value, meaning commercial partnerships are both sustainable and financially viable.
In addition to a self-sustainable economy, Ripley Town Centre is also set to become socially self-sufficient, by fostering human connections and nurturing health and wellbeing.
Residents will thrive together in a strong, safe and secure environment, supported by a thriving Civic Heart with cultural institutions, education and retail experiences.
During a time when people are increasingly losing touch, these key pieces of infrastructure will promote positive social encounters to create a stronger sense of belonging and community for residents.
Importantly, Ripley Town Centre will feature parkland and green open space, including walking tracks, cycle paths, playgrounds and dog park, to promote walkability and healthy living.
Urban developer and placemaking partner RobertsDay continues to build on the masterplan vision while challenging conventional standards of urban design.
“For so long, we have taken the approach in design that the street grid is king because it’s incredibly efficient,” RobertsDay principal Craig Christensen said.
“It has some benefits, but it’s also incredibly boring. What’s different about Ripley Town Centre, including its residential areas, is that it has been designed around the experience of walking and cycling.
“As a result, we have created all these exciting ‘moments’ along the journey, like big, iconic fig trees planted on street corners and creative sculptures, for example”.
“What looks like a random combination of geometry is actually about focusing on particular corners—creating view lines and changes in direction as you move through the space so you’re constantly experiencing a different character.”
Sekisui House Australia is also prioritising the environment over short-term growth, allowing the Ripley Town Centre community to live lightly and in harmony with nature.
Intelligent design features will be incorporated throughout Ripley Town Centre to reduce the community’s carbon footprint, and improve the quality of life for residents, commercial operators and visitors.
Several initiatives, already in place as part of Ripley Town Centre Stage One (targeting a 5 Star Green Star Design and As-Built v1.1 rating) will be carried over or reimagined as part of subsequent stages, including solar energy, energy efficient glazing, shading and insulation, raw material use, and water sensitive urban design principles.
Key to the success of the masterplan vision will be the delivery of the Ipswich Central to Springfield Central Public Transport Corridor, which will seamlessly link the region and provide
much-needed connectivity to Ipswich, Springfield, Brisbane and beyond.
Early provision of the rail line in Ripley will be vital to lead and sustain communities in the growing region, providing them with affordable transport choices that improve people’s access to services and employment, enabling the creation of a significant economic cluster in the growth corridor.
As the only major designated retail and business hub earmarked for the Ripley region, Ripley Town Centre caters for one of Australia’s fastest population growth areas through a truly unique approach to urban design and sustainability.