Good design for social housing creates neighbourhoods where people feel they belong. The NSW Government has produced a four page brochure outlining their goals for social housing. Wellbeing, Belonging, Value and Collaboration are keywords. There is no explicit mention of universal design principles in this document, but there is in the one that links with it. This is the one on dwelling requirements for good design in social housing.
The more detailed document of dwelling requirements leads with legislation and codes. It follows with Universal Design Principles. They require all new stock to apply a minimum level of Silver as outlined in the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. Each development may require a percentage of Gold level as well.
The document goes on to provide unit and room dimensions. If the NSW Government can design Silver and even Gold into these relatively small areas then everyone else can too. There’s more detail in this 5 page document that covers siting, gardens, utilities and more.
The documents are titled, Good Design for Social Housing, and Dwelling Requirements.
The NSW Government Architect has also introduced a universal design approach into its overarching document, Better Placed. While the term “universal design” is not used explicitly, it is inherent in the way the document is written.
The 2022 edition of the National Construction Code includes the new Livable Housing Design Standard. The accessible features are based on the Silver Level of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. There are two handbooks: one for the minimum requirements (silver) and enhanced features (gold).
As of May 2023 NSW and WA remain uncommitted to adopting the new standard into their building code for mainstream housing.