Changing landscapes: Gold Coast residents and the impacts of rapid urban development
With a population of half a million people, the Gold Coast is already far larger than some of the state capitals and it remains one of the fastest growing cities in Australia. Its population continues to grow, with many migrants from the eastern states of Australia and elsewhere in Queensland having previously visited the Gold Coast as vacationers. There are significant differences between the migration cohorts of the decades between 1950 and 1990, and the current influx. The early years swelled the city’s entrepreneurial, professional and business cohort. Growth today reflects a steady stream of baby boomers moving to the Gold Coast to retire – the ‘sandrush’ as Brendan Gleeson (2007) calls it – along with people aged 20–25 who seek part-time work, mainly in the tourist and hospitality industries. These two population groupings constitute the largest sectors of the Gold Coast City population growth pie. Who are the residents of the Gold Coast? This chapter addresses this question in order to highlight links between demographic cohorts and real estate, planning and development. In doing so I present a demographic account of the Gold Coast, describing the forces that shaped the city’s permanent, semi-permanent and short-term populations at key moments in its history. I consider the Gold Coast through the lens of its long-term residents, their quality of life, needs and requirements, rather than through its transient tourist population. I discuss the long-term consequences of rapid urban change to the residential population and the effects of planning policies that are predominantly orientated towards tourist populations. I conclude by emphasising, as others have done before me, the importance of acknowledging local residents in urban planning and decision-making processes.
Off the Plan: The Urbanisation of the Gold Coast
Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified