Virginia Jackson - Town Planner
In the last decade, Australians have embraced apartment living. What was once a pipe dream of all Australian governments is now an obvious reality. Pet owners have been part of this trend. Many are not willing to give up the companionship of their pets – nor should they be forced to, in my opinion, given the now-proven health, companionship and community benefits of owning pets. These benefits are especially important for empty nesters or those who live alone.
What is required to make this a reality? First is a change in mindset – about what is an appropriate environment for keeping pets. Animal behaviourists will tell you that a loved pet can live just as well in an apartment as in a house with a large backyard. Second is a change in unreasonable rules imposed by landlords and owners corporations. And third is a willingness by developers to instigate the principles of pet-friendly design. These principles do not require wholesale change to the way we build apartments. Little things like accessible window sills, for example, can make a big difference to the life of the indoor cat.