WIT Press

Equity In Density


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WIT Press


J. S. Palmer


Current development plans for numerous Australian cities are founded within the premise of urban containment, encouraging redevelopment, infilling and densification of established activity nodes as a means of improved future urban sustainability. Such propositions of future urban form challenge the existing ‘Australian Dream’ of single-family home ownership and prompt the exploration of not only physical alternatives to current development but consideration of the subsequent influence on future urban social sustainability. With housing affordability at an all time low property ownership becomes a major component in a new social divide. In recognition of the intrinsic link between the physical and social aspects of sustainability this paper draws together a range of data and discussions on current higher density housing in Australia and speculations regarding the social impact of current urban containment policies. In doing so it aims to provide an overview of potential concerns related to social sustainability and equality to be addressed by developers and architects as these planning policies are implemented. This overview is seen as essential in the successful translation of planning policy to built urban form to ensure they are accepted by the broader community and maintain the potential to achieve intended environmental benefits. Keywords: social equity, urban consolidation, higher density housing, housing affordability, Australia. 1 Introduction The vast majority of Australian urban landscapes are composed primarily of single family dwellings located on individual allotments. Under the influence of post war government policies encouraging home ownership our cities progressed rapidly into surrounding landscapes and continue to do so. During the decades of expansion around eighty percent of households attained the Great Australian


social equity, urban consolidation, higher density housing, housing affordability, Australia.