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Curtin researchers’ regeneration concept to breathe new life into old Fremantle port

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Researchers at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute have revealed their vision for the redevelopment of Fremantle’s Container Terminal and surrounding land on the Leighton Peninsular.

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Peter Newman said a new discussion paper, being circulated ahead of the Future of Fremantle public engagement process in April,  outlined an innovative approach called ‘regenerative development’.

“The regenerative development approach argues that traditional methods of planning cannot produce truly sustainable cities and enable the net zero agenda of the future economy let alone deal with the multiple local issues that are on the agenda. It suggests that a regenerative development transition needs to take place at a mainstream and precinct level with new approaches that repair the damage already done to the environment, to communities, to the local economy and to the physical and natural heritage of the area,” Professor Newman said.

“For more than 60 years, the North Fremantle and surrounding communities have been seriously impacted by the Container Terminal that is now proposed to be relocated to Kwinana as part of the Westport program.

“This paper looks at what is needed to successfully implement a Future Leighton Peninsular Regenerative Urban Precinct. Preliminary conclusions suggest that not only do local residents want to have a significant stake in the design of their future locality, but that it must exhibit certain place-specific and regenerative features that more wholistically align with the unique ecology of the area and its heritage.”

The discussion paper builds on two dissertations that were written by Richard Storey and Tyler Hudson as part of their Masters in Environment and Climate Emergency studies at Curtin- supervised by Professor Newman.

“The reality is that the ideas of how to make any place regenerative, let alone an old container port site, are very new,” Professor Newman said.

“However, we can see that the area of North Fremantle, where this site sits, is very special. It has a strong local community and a  unique environment that need to be very high on the planning and development agenda as the old container port and its associated land uses are phased out and rebuilt.”

While the contents of the paper are not endorsed by those involved in the Future of Fremantle planning process, the exploration of ideas has been done with their knowledge and encouragement.

Strategic Advisor to the Future Fremantle project Nicole Lockwood has welcomed the paper.

“We hope it can complement the many planned activities being set up to help with the redevelopment of the Leighton Peninsular,” Ms Lockwood said.

The paper authors will now seek feedback on the concepts raised in order to enable the Future of Fremantle process, and other projects in WA, to be planned and assessed with greater awareness of this new concept of Regenerative Development.

The discussion paper is available here.

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