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Design Strategies for Affordable and Sustainable Housing

Roger Fay

Recently, affordable housing has become an issue of considerable concern in Australia.  Governments at all levels, together with public housing authorities and social welfare organisations have expressed concern about the affordability of housing for people on low incomes and first-home buyers.  To varying degrees, these same organisations are also concerned about sustainability.  While a considerable amount of research has been undertaken into affordable housing, much of it has been directed at housing policy, models of financing, planning regulations, land supply, infrastructure funding and taxation.  Little has been written about the role of design in the provision of affordable and sustainable housing, though design is one of many factors influencing these critical issues. Design is a key factor in affordability and sustainability.  This Note addresses design strategies that will assist in the delivery of affordable and sustainable housing in Australia.  Necessarily, it also addresses potential conflicts between affordability and sustainability.  The Note concludes by presenting winning designs from the 2005 VicUrban Affordable Home Design Competition.

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