Design to thrive: Environmental and Urban Design at Alkimos Beach
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Indian Ocean, with the region’s premier swimming beach at its doorstep, there is a clear vision for how Alkimos Beach interacts and connects with nature.
Supporting a diverse range of flora and fauna endemic to Perth’s northern coastal region, Alkimos Beach integrates parkland, open space, and conservation areas throughout the community. Key design considerations have included landscaping, road orientation, positioning of community facilities and lot design, to ensure the community retains its unique sense of place through retention of, and respect for, the undulating coastal landscape.
Central to this design vision was the retention of the parabolic dune system that runs through the community.
Ryan Darby, urban designer, and Partner at Hatch RobertsDay explained the parabolic dune is an ancient landform that can be seen throughout the community, as it slopes toward the beach. A six-hectare conservation reserve exists along the coastline at Alkimos Beach, protecting the foreshore from excessive development and supporting native flora and fauna.
“The retention and rehabilitation of portions of the parabolic dune and foreshore, in addition to the linear park network that has been planted with native plant species, is an element of the development that I am proud of,” said Ryan. “The conservation reserve has recently been rehabilitated and forms part of an important biodiversity corridor.”
The landscape design of Alkimos Beach uses the natural topography of the area to create interesting walking trails and lookouts, while native plants help to preserve the dunal landscape.
Emma Carr, Senior Landscape Architect at Emerge Associates, explained how endemic plants support liveability and sustainability at Alkimos Beach.
“The selection of native plant species increases biodiversity and creates habitat for native fauna, as well as increasing the likelihood that the plants will survive as they are adapted to the local conditions. Green open spaces contribute to a greener environment, with a tree canopy, and help reduce the Heat Island effect, meaning the neighbourhood will likely feel cooler than areas that have limited green space,” said Emma.
A network of trails exist within the community, designed as both recreational and educational opportunities to understand themes such as Whadjuk Noongar heritage, recent history, sustainability and flora and fauna. “The Interpretive Signage Trail provides signs for wayfinding, fitness circuits, interpretation and exploration of themes pertinent to the area,” explained Emma.
The landscape is further preserved by limiting the installation of retaining walls, where possible, and minimising visible retaining walls throughout the development. Limestone rock batters with endemic planting are used on sloping frontages, resulting in a coastal feel that blends with the surrounding landscape.
Two additional dunes within the community are planned to be retained and rehabilitated as part of future stages, while several landscaping parametres have been introduced to support the environment:
- Over 85% of plants in the community’s public realm are native species, and the planting of invasive plant species is prevented
- More than 50% of all street trees and street planting has been established with native species
- Native and drought tolerant landscape design principles are incorporated in the Landscape Design Guidelines for new homes, and no turf is permitted on verges
- Local provenance seed propagation is included in revegetation planting
- The use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers is minimised
- More than 1,500 Carnaby Black Cockatoo habitat trees will be planted throughout the community over its development lifetime
Creating a connected, engaged, and safe community has been at the forefront of the design of Alkimos Beach, including the delivery of an integrated access network of walking and cycling paths, road networks and open space corridors to facilitate movement and promote active travel.
This understanding, appreciation, and respect for sustainable development outcomes contributed to development partners DevelopmentWA and Lendlease being recognised for their commitment and leadership in environmental and social sustainability at Alkimos Beach.
Alkimos Beach was the first development in Australia to be named a 6 Star Green Star Community (representing world excellence) by the Green Building Council of Australia, and the first in WA to receive all six leaves of the UDIA EnviroDevelopment accreditation. Together with the range of open spaces and parkland, the easy access to the beach, schools, shops, restaurants, childcare, services, and community facilities, has created a neighbourhood lifestyle for residents, with many conveniences right on their doorstep.
Living at Alkimos Beach means more than choosing a welcoming beachside community to call home, it’s an opportunity to live well in a sustainable, integrated neighbourhood that’s designed to thrive.