Designing the Next Generation of affordable housing for Australia: the socio-cultural transformative capacity of architecture.
Australia currently has the least affordable housing of anywhere in the world and a patchy record with urban design. The era of fat plots of land for single dwelling urban homes is long over, but badly designed higher density apartments have resulted in ugly, ill-considered schemes, poor neighbourhood integration and a lack of vibrancy. Broadmeadows is a site of ‘affordable’ housing but much of the housing stock and amenities are of low quality. There is also much vacant or underused land where major industrial sites have shut their doors. The most striking examples of housing in Australia show ingenuity, but NextGen will tighten up and hone the argument, both in terms of the urban rationale and the passion for the home. A better design approach engages with the many relevant issues: socio-economic and neighbourhood, materials and technology, mass production and mass customisation, the environment, and aesthetics. These projects experiment with design typologies, materials and construction, density and vibrancy, cultural shift strategies, modes of ownership, amenities, actionable neighbourhood design and city integration.
The hypothesis of NextGen is that design can only address the issue of affordable housing in Australia by evolving a design thinking that extends into, and embraces multiple criteria with a trans-disciplinary design-led approach.