Perry Lakes is founded in the urban environment arising out of the modern town planning movement that developed as a response to the terrible conditions of the Industrial Revolution.
The beginning of the modern town planning movement was the model towns of the late 18th century (1784 – New Lanark, Scotland) to the turn of the 19/20th century (1903 New Earswick, Yorkshire, UK). Great industrialists commissioned architects to create these model towns using architects. Therefore ‘design’ was an integral element of these model towns.
With the model towns as examples, the second phase developed out of the Garden City movement, from 1903 (Letchworth) up to the Great Depression of 1930 (1929 Wythenshawe).
The third phase emerged in the post WW2 British New Towns initiative (Milton Keynes, et al) that morphed into what we generally consider as standard 20th century practice.
New Urbanism now reminds us of the values of the Garden City movement and Ellenbrook is WA’s first example.
This overview provides us with an understanding of why urban design has revived to become a key component of our practice here in Australia today.
The architects who designed every model town of the first phase not only designed housing and factories that were aesthetically pleasing but also healthy and safe places with significant improvements to the quality of life of the inhabitants. This design approach was applied to the public realm in the form of parks, gardens, street style and land use relationships.
Floreat/City Beach: Through the energy of Town Clerk W E Bold in 1917, the Perth City Council purchased the Lime Kilns Estate in what is now the Perry Lakes general area to add to its endowment land holdings in this location. A 1925 design competition was disappointing and Hope and Klem were commissioned to prepare a new approach using Garden City principles. This design has now become an illustrative icon for Western Australian planners.
Planning delays saw Daglish planned and developed by the State government (1929) prior to Floreat (1934), and thus Floreat lost the cachet of being “the first Garden City”. It was not until the worst impacts of the Great Depression had been overcome that housing lots became available in Floreat.
Post World War 2, the scarcity of building materials limited development until local production of bricks, timber, roof tiles, etc, caught up with peacetime demand, around 1960. However, planning took longer to respond to post-war development as there was a great need for planners and WA lacked qualified professionals. It can be argued that this critical shortage of skilled planners allowed the design element of planning to diminish. The development pressure saw the subdivision of land as an exercise of maximising lots at the expense of good design and civic values.
This approach distanced the detail of land development from design, as the planning agency of government saw planning as a simple subdivision exercise without aesthetics or social values. Despite this, Floreat matured with private gardens, street planting and parkland improvements reinforcing the basic design perception of a garden setting. It is now considered a highly desirable suburb.