What is a master planned community?
A master planned community is a comprehensively designed residential area that encompasses a pre-planned mix of homes, recreational, cultural and retail amenities, and a strong, embedded sense of community.
They are intentionally conceived, self-sufficient locations that usually sit outside the primary CBD of a location, and combine housing, infrastructure, education, work and leisure - as opposed to residential suburbs that grow organically and reactively over time.
Many have a ‘resort’ feel, with built-in provisions a relaxed, healthy lifestyle that offer long term benefits to residents, sometimes across generations.
The operative word in master planned community is community.
The main reason people buy into these developments is the sense of community it affords them – the neighbourhood feel, sense of belonging and shared identity that helps them live a richer life.
Many have established clubs, programs of events and get-togethers for residents to connect, enjoy each other’s company and build lasting relationships. With social isolation on the rise, people are drawn to places with the promise of a thriving neighbourhood spirit.
Master planned communities are typically created by private developers, building on previously undeveloped sites, working on their own or sometimes in collaboration with jurisdictional governments and planning bodies.
Australia’s earliest foray into master planned communities was the Sydney suburb of Castlecrag, designed in 1925 by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. The first resort style master planned community, Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast, welcomed residents in 1986.
Mater planned communities have grown steadily in popularity as housing demand has accelerated, land surrounding major cities has become available for development, and buyers have enthusiastically shared the benefits of their master planned community experiences over the years.
Not sure which community to buy into? This checklist will help you choose the right suburb.
What makes a great master planned community?
What makes people love a place will always be subjective.
But there are best practices and inclusions that most agree make a top-notch master planned community – and give it an edge over others.
Here are some of the key ingredients:
- Spaces and places that promote community identity
- Well-designed built form, customised to suit the location and local atmosphere
- Access to transportation links that keep the community connected to the wider world
- Integration of essential services (e.g. doctor, school) for convenience, comfort and security
- Master planned leisure and recreation spaces and facilities
- Facilities and areas for family, friends and other social activity (e.g. BBQ, park)
- Cultural zones or precincts for creative expression and experiences
- Access to preserved natural environment to enjoy the benefits of outdoors
- Room to grow for future residents
Residents of master planned community Eynesbury in Victoria
Deciding whether to build or buy an established home? Our experts break down the options for you.