A group of researchers in Queensland have developed a liveability framework for social and affordable housing. They interviewed key stakeholders from industry and government who make decisions about housing and housing policy. But will it work? With significant industry resistance to regulation changes, it will take more than an academic exercise to improve matters.
Researchers tested the elements of the draft framework by interviewing stakeholders. They claim the framework has the potential to drive the adoption of better outcomes for whole of life solutions.
The five elements of the draft framework are:
- Liveability – place based and community focused
- Accessibility – person centres and community focused
- Social, environmental and economic value – building the value equation
- Regulatory and policy environment
- Improving adoption
The case study used for testing the framework was based on an existing medium density development with access to transport and services. Twelve representatives from community housing, state government, advocates and industry associations were participants in the study.
The social and affordable housing sector is a very small percentage of housing in Australia. The key issue is to gain adoption in stand-alone homes in master-planned sites which is 70% of all housing.
Upcoming changes to the NCC
The accessibility aspect of housing should be solved with the 2022 edition of the National Construction Code. This edition includes the key elements of the Silver level of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. The housing industry continues to resist the adoption of these changes.
Editor’s comment: The framework is specific to social and affordable higher density housing, but offers nothing new to the this field of work. Similar frameworks attempt the same thing – trying to find a way to encourage implementation. Frameworks are clearly not the answer. This is a policy issue and not a design issue. Good designers are able to design out the problems, including cost, or at least design around them.
From the abstract
Ensuring liveability and accessibility in medium to high density urban housing and precincts is critical to maximise investment and minimise future risks to our community. This research investigates and develops our understanding of liveable and accessible social and affordable housing, with a focus on medium- and high-density urban precincts. The paper presents the findings of a case study undertaken in the Green Square Close precinct in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
Findings are derived from a literature review and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders from the housing industry and government. The results inform a liveability framework for social and affordable medium to high density housing utilising five key elements.
These elements include; 1) Liveability – place-based and community focused, 2) Accessibility – person centred and community focused, 3) Value equation – cost benefit, 4) Regulatory and policy environment and 5) Adoption and overcoming barriers.
The liveability framework also establishes sub-elements across these five elements to improve understanding of whole of life needs. The development of a liveability framework for social and affordable medium and high-density housing presents opportunities for decision making in the co-creation of, and investment in this critically needed housing.