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Pockets of Brisbane have changed dramatically in the past 15 years as prestige central suburbs have lost their status and young migrants bring different needs to middle and outer suburbs, a Queensland demographer says.
Elin Charles-Edwards, speaking at the University of Queensland’s Placemaking Summit on Tuesday, presented fresh analysis showing that long-standing central Brisbane addresses such as the leafy western suburbs have lost some of their reputation as the city’s centre of wealth.
Studying suburban change across the city, Dr Charles-Edwards analysed age, income and diversity, discovering large change in multiple suburbs.
“MacGregor has become six years younger in the past 10 years, that’s absolutely extraordinary,” she said.
“We’ve had a large, large growth of young adults transforming the service needs, the housing needs ... the general vibe of the place.
“Nundah [is] three years younger, another extraordinary change.”
In contrast western suburbs such as Westlake and Chapel Hill have become older and less wealthy, Dr Charles-Edwards said, their growth stalling compared to startling transformation in several north-eastern and southern suburbs such as Nundah and Sunnybank.
Dr Charles-Edwards said while some suburbs such as Indooroopilly were forging ahead due to the influx of students from the University of Queensland, other western suburbs were stalling.
“Some of that [stalling] I put down to Moggill Road,” she said.
“The transport problems we have out there are leaving those suburbs behind.”
Other inner-city suburbs such as Newstead and Kelvin Grove were losing their high-income status as younger and more diverse populations moved in.
Unexpected changes were also taking place in the formerly grungy inner suburb of West End, where incomes were skyrocketing above the Brisbane median income, but diversity had diminished over ten years.
“West End ... used to be a real hotspot for diversity and has fallen behind in terms of change,” Dr Charles-Edwards said.
Meanwhile dramatic population change on a par with global booms were being reported in suburbs such as Sunnybank and Nundah, as temporary migrants formed their own communities.
Sunnybank was also the only suburb in Australia that matched the requirements to be an ‘ethnoburb’, she said, a definition of multiple ethnicities living and working together in the same suburb to create an entirely new form of place.
What does this mean in planning when 40 per cent of suburban residents can’t vote?
Forty per cent of Sunnybank’s residents are now temporary migrants who are predicted to stay up to six or seven years, she said.
Likewise Taigum-Fitzgibbon has seen a 21 per cent increase in temporary migrants, or non-citizens without voting rights who could influence the changing faces of their Brisbane homes.
Looking closer at the causes of population change, Dr Charles-Edwards said a population boom of Indian migrants from 95 people in 2006 to 1055 in 2016 was attributable to a Sikh temple in the suburb, creating an “enclave” that was particularly welcoming to one community.
“What does this mean in planning when 40 per cent of suburban residents can’t vote?” Dr Charles-Edwards said.
“We need to make sure this population is not being exploited and we need to make sure we’re planning for these people who are going to be here for 6-7 years.
“Something is going on here that we haven’t planned for before.”