Accessible Housing: All words and no action

Picture of a grey tiled roof with roof trusses of another house behindPolicies that Fail – Words that Succeed: The Politics of Accessible Housing in Australia, by Margaret Ward and Keith Jacobs, provides a succinct analysis of why Livable Housing Australia and the Guidelines for accessible housing have failed to gain traction in practice, but have had a lot of words written and spoken which make them sound successful. 

While other papers have focused on the failures within the house building system, design deficiencies, and other practical matters, this paper draws attention to the background sleight of hand where policies are promoted as the success point and the actual ‘doing’ of the policy is becomes invisible. Governments are in charge of policy so they use words implying success. Meanwhile they distance themselves from those responsible for ‘doing’ and the policy itself languishes for lack of political action. 

If you are interested in why we still don’t have accessible housing design applied universally across all mass market housing, this article gives some additional and useful insights to the forces at play that go beyond codes and construction industry failures. Download the paper in PDF

Margaret Ward was recently interviewed on Radio National’s Blueprint for Living program. You can listen to the podcast.

More on the industry perspective of the issues can be found in the short version (2000 words) of my thesis. Jane Bringolf Editor.