Sustainability in housing is a crucial issue in this day and age, but the definition of sustainability goes a long way beyond the actual buying price of a property. Although housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne have risen to very high levels over recent years, resulting in a housing affordability crisis for first home buyers trying to enter the housing market, there is more to consider beyond price alone.
The location where a home is constructed is important, is it near public transport for example, will the residents of the home be able to afford to get to and from work, can they access hospitals and other health facilities? If houses are built in locations without good transport where people can’t access jobs or health services there is a very high risk of creating a poverty stricken, sick community. Victoria’s 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy informs developers of infrastructure plans, so these anomalies can be avoided.
Good urban design is essential to the creation of successful communities. With a growing population the need for high and medium density housing is changing our suburbs. Where once the family home stood alone on a large block of land with a big back yard and hills hoist clothesline, the blocks in Melbourne and Sydney are getting smaller and the need to build units and townhouses is increasing.
It is essential that the local community is involved in the decision making where their suburbs are changing and best practice urban design is used. Creating Places for People: An Urban Design Protocol for Australian Cities (the Protocol) provides a toolkit for planners and architects.
Sustainable housing design helps address the affects of climate change and the escalating energy prices being experienced already with the threat of rising energy costs. Building a home that runs on low energy consumption yet is comfortable in summer and winter ensuring lower energy bills to householders also goes a long way to helping reduce the housing crisis by creating sustainable living once a house is purchased. After all, a home owner must be able to afford to live in their home!
The Finishing Touch supply lightweight, decorative mouldings to the building industry and take a keen interest in sustainable housing construction.