|dc.description.abstract||Subdivision in the rural environment has become apparent over the last fifteen years (43) especially around the major cities. (31) Growth in the number of small rural properties and their extent has been promoted by affluence (3) and the desire to live outside the urban environment. (23) Demand for small rural lots around cities threatened to engulf agricultural and horticultural land, as farmers sought the fast financial return given by subdividing their land.(5) A minimum size restriction of ten acres was introduced as a measure to impede subdivision, but resulted in the "ten-acre-block syndrome". (49)
The rural environment is the main motivating influence in the purchase of a small rural lot. (21) Other important factors are the potential to carry out agricultural activities (42) and generate additional income (20) to be able to keep ponies or pet animals (43) and to use land purchase as a means of investment. (55) Lifestyles of the owners vary from the low technology alternative lifestyle people who are very independent on their land, to those who wish to farm on a small scale using conventional techniques and various levels of capitalisation, to those who regard their property as the location for their house.
An ownership trend shows an increase in the higher income urban worker who desires a house in the country and the opportunity to pursue farming activities as a hobby. (43)
These people do not rely on any income that is generated from farming activities and are often highly innovative. (20) Generally, there is an amount of agriculture carried out on all small holdings (42) some achieving up to 20 times production per hectare compared to conventional farming with the average production per hectare marginally above full-time farms. (16)
The visual effects of subdivision vary depending on the landscape and any change in land uses which accompanies development. In areas where the dominant land use is unchanged, the visual effect is restricted to the noticability of additional buildings, roads, and fences; for instance, a bushland environment can hide the introduced elements and appear unchanged. In many other cases, especially where farmland is subdivided, the environment is changed by the mixture of different management practices and land uses within an area that was previously homogeneous. The additional buildings, fences, roads and tree plantings serve to reinforce the patterns and the subdivision area acquires a character separate from its origin.
Aesthetic qualities in the rural residential scene can be attributed to natural features in the landscape, the buildings and tree plantings introduced, and their ordered relationships. (34) Where unities exist, they evoke a high aesthetic response. By sensitive response to the underlying topography, the layout of subdivision patterns can spring from the natural boundaries and features of the landscape, reinforcing the character of the site and strengthening its identity. The buildings, fences, roads and planting areas are the framework of the subdivision which can either be reinforced by the natural topography or act in opposition to it – as an arbitrary pattern superimposed on variable natural features.
Rural subdivision can, therefore, be visually acceptable where the layout is designed as a response to the natural environment. In designing subdivision layout, there are practical problems to overcome, e.g. services, ownership patterns, land uses, maintenance levels and detrimental environment impacts.
This study aims to bring the basic information together and suggest principles on which
subdivision may be successfully integrated into the rural environment.||en