Smith Collective: realising a neighbourhood

A year on from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, our athletes’ village is well into its long-term life as Australia’s first build-to-rent community.

The project formerly known as Parklands is now called Smith Collective. It’s part of the health and knowledge precinct that also includes the Gold Coast University Hospital, the new Gold Coast Private Hospital and Griffith University.

It has 1,252 apartments and townhouses and a shopping precinct with cafés and restaurants lining the village’s garden heart. There are seven hectares of outdoor space, which the City of Gold Coast will manage for the public.

Unlike most residential tenancy models in Australia, Smith Collective offers long-term leases to tenants who can hang pictures on the walls and have pets. Corporate ownership means tenants won’t be evicted by landlords wanting to sell their investments or move in.

The land was originally owned by the Queensland government but has been sold to a confidential investor, and held in a trust managed by UBS.

“Smith Collective will be home to…people, from academics, students and healthcare workers engaged in the neighbouring tertiary and hospital precincts to young professionals, families and downsizing retirees searching for an active lifestyle.”

—Michael Woodrow, UBS Asset Management Executive Director

We had always thought of Smith Collective in its post-games career, rather than designing it for the Games then converting afterwards.

This thinking has already earned it four urban-design awards: the 2018 Karl Langer Award for Urban Design (AIA QLD) 2018 Minister’s Awards for Urban Design (QLD), the Excellence in Urban Design Award and the Helen Josephson Award for Urban Design Leadership (both 2017 Gold Coast Urban Design Awards).