Village creation is a very complex activity, but in more recent years there has been a renewed understanding of what lies at the heart of great places, great villages and great towns. Gifford Hill's design will be based on the principles of New Urbanism, which unlike its name actually refers to a design concept which takes us back to more traditional forms and ideals.
The core of the concept of New Urbanism and Place making is really that neighbourhoods should be designed for people with real needs. A simple philosophy is that you should not have to walk more than 400 metres to buy a carton of milk. In the case of a village like Gifford Hill which could eventually accommodate a population of approximately 7,000 to 10,000 people, a key element of the philosophy is that it should have an obvious village centre that should provide all of the core services that people need on a daily basis. This town centre should be safe and vibrant and be rich in culture and atmosphere.
Like in more traditional villages, Burke Urban hope the Gifford Hill town centre will become the heart of the community over time. The buildings will be denser around this zone. Within a 5-minute walk the housing mixture will be a range of town-houses and detached dwellings on more compact allotments. A mix of retail and office space will eventually cater for the day-to-day needs of the community, while schools and playgrounds will be located within easy walking distance.
We believe this mixed use model is better than the 'urban sprawl' model of the last 30 years as it caters for a diverse range of cultures, age groups and socio-economic backgrounds. Further from the town centre the housing will become a more standard form, with larger allotments for the traditional family unit, but with community infrastructure within walking distance. This is what you might find in any of our great Adelaide Hills villages like Stirling, Strathalbyn, Hahndorf or Port Elliot.
Importantly a great village should also provide a range of third places. Places outside of home and work where people can meet, connect, rest, play or relax in a safe environment. These places are where community really comes together. It may be a park bench under a shaded tree, a place to drink good coffee and watch the world go by, pottering around the Community Garden or watching a great sporting event on the big-screen in the village square.
These are the visions Burke Urban and its team have for Gifford Hill; an integrated culture of living, commercial and recreational activities, 'Live, work, play'.