Date : 15th November, 2023
- Brisbane faces major housing supply, quality, and affordability issues.
- Purpose-built student accommodation can ease pressure on the broader rental market.
- PBSA provides tailored housing that meets student needs.
- Australia has an influx of returning international students, with Brisbane student housing at total capacity.
- Scape and “Plus Architecture” discuss designing quality PBSA to support students.
- Key priorities include creating community, diverse spaces, and adaptability.
- Well-designed PBSA can be part of addressing Australia’s housing shortages long-term.
- Government support is needed to facilitate more PBSA development to meet sustained demand.
News In Details:
With Brisbane facing acute housing supply shortages, unaffordability, and issues with rental stock quality, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is being re-examined for its potential to alleviate wider housing pressures.
PBSA provides tailored housing solutions specifically for students that meet their unique needs. This takes pressure off the broader residential rental market also struggling with low vacancy rates.
The CEO of student housing provider Scape, Anouk Darling, notes Brisbane PBSA is already at 100% occupancy. The impending arrival of 40,000 more international students over the next year will further stretch inadequate supply.
Scape collaborates with architecture firm Plus Architecture to create thoughtfully designed PBSA. Principal Chrisney Formosa says PBSA represents a crucial part of addressing Australia’s lack of housing diversity for different demographic groups.
For PBSA, a key priority highlighted is facilitating social connections and community through intentional design. This includes diverse indoor and outdoor communal spaces for students to interact.
Adaptable buildings that can serve additional uses over time also provide long-term value. The potential to repurpose commercial assets for student housing in urban areas offers sustainability.
Given its 17-storey height, Plus Architecture’s design for Scape Toowong was centred around the idea of creating vertical communities to facilitate social interactions. Key features include amphitheatre-style steps which connect to all levels of the building, a densely landscaped courtyard close to the main double-height lobby creating a calm oasis for students to connect and unwind, and a communal lounge and coffee shop.
While PBSA solves an immediate student housing need, the sector can pioneer new models to tackle national housing shortfalls. But greater government support is required through policy and financial incentives.
Experiencing the strongest growth of all Australian cities, Brisbane currently has 17,251 beds with an additional 2,700 in the pipeline for 2026 and beyond – 400 of which will be built and operated by Scape. The Gold Coast is also fast emerging as a key market with Bond University driving the need for additional housing supply.
Amid the pressing need for more rental housing, Anouk adds that it’s time for the Government to start taking seriously the role student accommodation providers can play.
The vision put forward reimagines PBSA as part of a broader solution to transform housing availability in Australian cities for students and beyond. By innovating on PBSA, providers can drive positive change.