Village Life Nundah Style
Since moving to Brisbane at the start of 2017 I’ve been telling everyone I meet about the great place I live – Nundah. I’ve been seduced by Nundah, which feels more urban village than typical Australian suburb.
Located on a train line, approximately 8kms from the Brisbane CBD and 6kms from the airport, with a solid foundation of community infrastructure and open space, Nundah has ‘good bones’. Nundah Village as it’s known, has a great little main street with a supermarket and shops, public services, cafes and restaurants, pubs and even a funky rooftop bar. There’s a good mix of housing in the area with apartments and medium density around the village, plus plenty of open space and recreation areas nearby. For the many families in the area there are a couple of schools, including the Nundah State School, which is one of the oldest in the state and attended by the three kids in our household.
I describe Nundah as a planners’ dream, but it wasn’t always this way.
One of Brisbane’s oldest settlements with a proud history, Nundah became a rundown suburban business district in the 1990’s. The life was sucked out of the strip by neighbouring big box centres and the area was exhibiting signs of social decline. The stars aligned for Nundah in the 2000’s when its fortune turned. The short bypass tunnel was constructed in 2002 to reroute through-traffic from the congested main street, Sandgate Road. This transport infrastructure investment was followed by a program of precinct amenity improvements by the Brisbane City Council and planning policy changes to reinforce the designation of Nundah Village as a combination Major Centre and Suburban Centre in the City Plan. A developer with vision, Property Solutions Group, saw the potential in Nundah and secured a large site adjacent to the train station in order to deliver a multi-building, mixed use development. Importantly throughout this process, there was an engaged community including the Nundah District Development Association, who fought for the future of their suburb and generally supported the Council and the developer in their quest to make Nundah a great place to live, work and shop.
The development that ensued, and that is still underway, has created a high level of activity, amenity and quality of life in Nundah, with a mix of residential, commercial and retail uses. Good quality urban design and street activation has reinforced the Council’s improvements and built on the positive features of the area. Community activities including the annual Nundah Village Street Festival, arts and film festivals, a weekly farmer’s market and a range of other events and activities put on by local schools, clubs and the Council foster a sense of community. It is also a diverse community, with a mix of housing and an accessible location that has attracted a wide range cultures – there are families from 54 nations at the Nundah State School.
I could go on and on about the great place that Nundah is to live. I am grateful for the power of that initial foresight and planning that went into the infrastructure and policy changes that supported the transformation of our urban village. What really speaks volumes though, is the economic impact. In the report recently launched by the Suburban Alliance, prepared by Urban Economics, it highlighted that the initial investment by the Council and the State totalling around $55 million in hard costs of infrastructure and publics works (plus the planning policy changes), has leveraged more than $800 million to date in new private investment in the area. There have been benefits to the community in the greater level of services and amenity, as well as a substantial increase in residents (around 5,000), the number of businesses in the area, local employment opportunities and school enrolments.
The urban renewal of Nundah is a great success story, and one that is still unfolding. There are more residential developments underway and new small businesses setting up in Nundah. The influx of people living, working and visiting Nundah has brought in more traffic and created parking concerns. There is potential for local active travel to be improved, particularly improving the safety and amenity of cycling and walking. There is a new, engaged community, who are love their suburb and are protective of the amenity and access that Nundah delivers. With more development on the horizon, the challenge for Nundah, the Council, and the developers will be to continue to deliver good quality outcomes that further add to Nundah’s features, while enhancing those that Nundahners already value.
It is an exciting time to be in this great place, where there’s plenty of options for a good coffee or a cold glass of wine. So, come on over and visit us in Nundah.
For more information on the Nundah Study visit the Suburban Alliance website: https://www.suburbanalliance.com.au/research-projects
Thumbs up for #Nundah!