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A university can best be compared to a small city, with elements of retail, commercial, residential, sports/cultural amenities and green spaces all needed to support teaching research.
A modern university consists of more than just lecture theatres and research spaces. There are many uses critical to the running of a university within a broader precinct that are not considered under the traditional education based understanding of what a university is.
The University and surrounding areas are coming under increasing pressure from development markets other than education. There has been a marked increase in demand for residential and office space and ultimately the University will be competing with the market for building sites. The acquisition of properties in the land between campus and Broadway, a farsighted program begun in the 1960s, means the University now holds 40 per cent of the land area and will play a key role in determining the future of Crawley.
As part of becoming a sustainable hub and fulfilling the objectives of a primary centre (Directions 2031), the UWA/QEII land area will likely have a population by 2020 of 50,000 staff, students and visitors. The population of the area is comparable to the City of Albany and comes with the recognition that the area will require the services of a regional city, without compromising the viability of the University or QEII.
The University is a popular venue for conferences and seminars. With the addition of the University Club, the campus now offers a range of venues competing with the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre and other conference facilities in Perth. While the campus offers good connectivity to the central business district, there is demand for visiting delegates, as well as guest lecturers, scholars and artists in residence, and parents of students, for accommodation on campus.
Many university campuses including the Australian National University in Canberra and many overseas offer on-site, short-stay accommodation. This is in addition to the student colleges, which are used for accommodation outside of the academic year. These facilities could also be used for crisis-care accommodation, for newly appointed staff and for people undertaking continuing professional development and skills ‘top up’ courses.
There are opportunities to develop an integrated urban retail centre adjacent to campus to cater for the daily requirements of University/Hospital people and residents. Such a centre would complement the existing Broadway Fair centre and could be located centrally between UWA and QEII. A mixed-use development would follow the principles of public use on lower levels, with much needed accommodation being incorporated on upper levels.
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