Originally developed in California, earth-work terracing has proliferated worldwide as an expedient method for grading terrain for subdivision development. In Western Australia, terracing is now entrenched as conventional practice for facilitating suburban development on highly malleable coastal dunes. Although the adoption of international urban design models was partially intended to reduce topographic modification, retaining walls continue to increase in height and extent. To address this disjunction between theory and practice in current suburban development, this article tests landscape-based urban design mechanisms for improving the conservation and expression of natural topography on a coastal site in Perth, Western Australia. With the international growth of coastal suburbanization, the article contributes to the establishment of more topographically sensitive suburban planning practices on steep coastal settings.


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pp. 15-36
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