Hobart: 2050

The 30-year Greater Hobart Plan, a first for the city, has now received the tick of approval from all four Greater Hobart Councils and from the state government. With this plan comes a detailed projection on what the city can expect in terms of growth and what the plan hopes to anticipate.

The plan, expected to commence in 2023, is projected to add an additional 60,000 future residents calling Hobart home. This boost in the estimated population will require an additional 30,000 dwellings, while the median house price in the local market is expected to reach $790,000.

Of the estimated 210,000 inhabitants of Greater Hobart, the plan states, it is expected that only 130,000 of these residents will be of working age (15-64), while the median age is expected to drop only slightly to 40. Speaking to the plans, State Development Minister Guy Barnett said, “Our city is growing and changing and a proactive plan will guide this growth and help us retain the Greater Hobart we know and love.”

Along with these developments in housing, to accommodate over 55,000 household families with children and 77,000 Tasmanian residents over 50, factors such as childcare, public schooling and aged care will be required to grow in stride. Infrastructure will also need to grow, as the vast majority (62%) of people will continue to travel to work by car.

Addressing these concerns, Clarence Mayor Alderman Doug Chipman said, “This plan will help to guide development and urban growth in the future. It will help us to ‘future-proof’ our city, by ensuring that there is greater interconnection through infrastructure and transport, as well as more diverse housing options.”

Incorporating feedback from the community was also a major consideration, as Mr Barnett said, “Overwhelmingly, feedback received through the consultation process reinforced the need for increased housing diversity, more dwellings closer to activity centres and maintaining and increasing parks and green spaces, all of which are central to the final plan.”

While many have become accustomed to working remotely in recent years, there will still be the issue of employment. Where will future Hobartian’s work and in what industries? Will the work from home trend continue and could the CBD suffer due to this fact? While this may be a matter of time, direction from the government as it relates to employment will be vital. Will we see a continued growth of the Tasmanian tourism sector? And where will these visitors spend their time and their money?

More questions have been raised around where this increase in population would be encouraged to live, however. Would Hobart’s inner urban suburbs continue to grow while maintaining the desired slowed down Tasmanian lifestyle? Or will our rural outer suburbs be developed as migrators seek outdoor space and prioritise lifestyle?

The first time collaborative strategic planning has been undertaken for Greater Hobart, Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said, “I hope that it helps us to guide change in a sustainable way that protects the character and environment of our special city.” While Kingborough Mayor Paula Wriedt said the plan showed how transport, housing and precinct development could work together to accommodate projected population growth and residential demand.

With 85% of Hobart’s population expected to continue the trend of seeking single detached homes, renters unfortunately can expect the market to maintain its competitiveness. With an expected weekly rent of $530, it remains uncertain how Hobart will attempt to battle housing for non-homeowners.

The proposed plan will require all hands on deck, as Glenorchy Mayor Alderman Bec Thomas said all four councils have a pivotal role in taking care of the needs of the city’s growing population.