Project premise Australian cities are forecast to grow substantially over the next half-century. The vision that they can 'get better as they get bigger' (Committee for Melbourne 2010) will ultimately depend upon how and where this growth is directed. The planning logic applied to urban development in Australia over much of the past 60 years was based on low-density 'garden city' greenfield expansion; a regime that was highly car-dependent and perpetuated the industrial era's restrictive zoning of land uses. It was a period when practitioners and populations alike foresaw little in the way of resource or environmental constraints upon urban development. A future logic for urban development is required: one that can significantly reduce our ecological footprints as well as enhance city productivity, competitiveness and social inclusion, thus enabling Australian cities to get better as they get bigger (see Figure 1). Exploring pathways for such a transformation is the focus of this AHURI Investigative Panel project. The research recognises that future metropolitan growth and investment will need to be redirected inwards rather than outwards, into precincts and regions of the middle suburban greyfields. Greyfield residential precincts are defined here as under-utilised property assets located in the middle suburbs of large Australian cities, where residential building stock is failing (physically, technologically and environmentally) and energy, water and communications infrastructure is in need of regeneration. Greyfields are usually occupied and privately owned sites typical of urban development undertaken from the 1950s to the 1970s (Newton 2010). The project investigates the processes required for an effective development model capable of delivering more affordable and sustainable medium-density housing through the regeneration of greyfield precincts in Australia's capital cities, with a particular focus on Melbourne. It targets the middle suburbs as the key areas of investigation for new urban policy (Major Cities Unit 2010). While the middle suburbs show evidence of prior patterns of densification, including the walk-up flats and post-strata-title townhouse development of the 1960s and the 1970s, the prevailing housing typology remains a detached dwelling on a single lot. This represents a nominal density of eight to 15 dwellings per hectare, and is widely accepted as unsustainable. Formal strategies for urban intensification have involved the redevelopment of large land assemblages in activity centres and more recently, the examination of transport corridors (Adams et al. 2009). However, as much as 35 per cent of infill redevelopment in middle suburbs takes place informally (Goodman et al. 2010) so it is surprising that there has been little detailed examination of this small-scale redevelopment activity, or the possible contribution it could offer intensification efforts. Regeneration of residential greyfield precincts is not proposed in opposition to existing state government policies, which appropriately aim to increase population density around transport corridors and activity centres. However, these strategic areas have been very slow in generating new housing, with fragmented infill continuing to be the major provider of new housing in the middle suburbs. Because this informal infill generally falls outside of the government policy-focused areas, it has been neglected as an issue for investigation. This project aims to bridge this research gap by considering how infill redevelopment could be undertaken more effectively through a precinct approach - this could contribute to a range of strategic city planning objectives within an emerging national urban policy (Department of Infrastructure and Transport 2010). As distinct from its greenfield and brownfield counterparts (Newton 2010; see Figure 2), greyfield redevelopment lacks an established model to drive the process, resulting in fragmented and sub-optimal development. This project aims to identify the innovative policy directions and associated organisational and technical processes needed for an effective development model in greyfield residential precincts. Sustainable urban development (that addresses environmental, social, economic and governance dimensions as envisaged here) will not be achieved without fundamental transformation of the greyfields in the middle suburbs. Melbourne is the focus of this study, but the findings are applicable to other major Australian cities. The greyfield precincts proposition This research focuses on the informal infill that clusters around two to seven dwellings per development, undertaken mostly by small developers (Phan et al. 2008). The project explores how this kind of informal development could be strategically managed. By exploring a range of issues - including how parcels of land could be assembled for higher-density redevelopment at the scale of precinct and how innovative design and construction methods could make these developments more socially and environmentally sustainable - this research aims to develop strategic management models for infill developments. For the purposes of the investigation, a precinct has been assumed to consist of 10 allotments. However, a larger or smaller number may be more viable. It is proposed that a precinct of 10 suburban lots could be sufficient for up to 40 dwellings. It is highly unlikely that housing provision in areas of greyfield regeneration will be provided by high-rise high-density apartment typologies. While such typologies are mandated for activity centres and transport corridors, in a greyfield suburban setting they are unprofitable and undesirable. However, a combination of dwelling types may be feasible. These would include four storey buildings - prefabricated or timber-framed, and delivered by the domestic residential sector - along with a variety of other typologies, to create a mix of detached, semi-detached, row and apartment housing. The precinct level design model also provides for high quality shared spaces, concentrated car parking solutions and a finer grain to pedestrian circulation and interconnection paths beyond the line of the street. It also offers opportunities for non-traditional suburban forms - offices, shop frontages, studio spaces - and ancillary community services. Such diversity could assist in accommodating the rental market displaced from inner city and activity centres (Wood et al. 2008) and the expected baby-boomer 'relocation within region' (Olsberg & Winters 2005). Three types of precinct were considered, as follows (see Figure 3). Consolidated precinct This precinct type consists of a large parcel of assembled land enabling high-density built outcomes suitable to large-scale development. Development sites of this type can produce high yield and construction efficiencies, and have the potential to achieve high quality design input and provide precinct based infrastructure. Dispersed precinct This type consists of small suburban parcels dispersed over a 400 square metres area. Based on current infill development patterns, this model is based on a single developer working over a number of non-contiguous sites.