Affordable and Sustainable Housing: An Empirical Study of Options for Redevelopment in Central Australia

By Yvonne Maher and Lynne Armitage.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There is a huge unmet demand for affordable housing in Australia, and the severe shortage of such accommodation has led to persistent long term homelessness for many families and individuals. Whilst the shortage is nationwide, the situation is particularly severe in regional Australia and, for indigenous people, their plight is even more extreme. Whilst all Australian states and territories have a statutory responsibility for housing provision, the Australian federal government is also adopting a range of strategies to address this critical situation, with indications of successful outcomes providing hope for long term amelioration of this pernicious problem. Within the context of the partnership framework, this paper reports on an initiative in Alice Springs which is proposing an affordable housing development project catering to the needs of indigenous communities, is environmentally conscious, and provides investment opportunities for the potential partners. This vision is shared by many community-based and non-government organisations as well as by the Australian government, and all parties are very sensitive to the urgent attention demanded by this growing problem. After reviewing economic, environmental, and social indicators framing the need for affordable housing at the national scale, the study applies these metrics to a property in Alice Springs which the current owners, the Anglican Church, are keen to redevelop in a manner consistent with socially responsible outcomes. More specifically, the paper reports detailed proposals for indigenous community housing and applies a financial model to test the financial viability of the proposals. This exercise is not only providing a financial feasibility of the specific proposal and site, but offers an economic model that focuses on all three aspects of sustainability and is of more general potential application for indigenous community housing.

Keywords: Community Housing Models, Indigenous Housing, Northern Territory Australia, Sustainable Affordable Housing

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.1-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.896MB).

Yvonne Maher

Senior Teaching Fellow, Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture, Bond University, Robina, Queensland, Australia

Having practised as a property valuer (appraiser) in Australia for over ten years, Yvonne Maher is now an early career higher education teacher. She developed an interest in addressing the need for affordable and sustainable housing initially during an earlier position with the Department of Social Security, and later during post-graduate studies in urban development and sustainability. Yvonne currently teaches in the field of property at Australia's only private university, Bond University on the Gold Coast in Queensland, where she currently lives with her family. Soon, Yvonne hopes to commence a higher research doctorate comparing compensation paid to land holders affected by shale/coal seam gas exploration and mining in Australia and the United States of America.

Dr. Lynne Armitage

Head of Property Department and Associate Professor of Urban Development, Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture, Bond University, Robina, Queensland, Australia