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Use of indicators to assess the sustainability of housing developments in Australia

Version 2 2024-06-17, 15:10
Version 1 2015-08-10, 11:34
conference contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Robert Fuller
Most new housing in Australia is occurring on greenfield sites on the edges of the capital cities. These housing developments are often criticised for their social and environmental unsustainability. These unsustainable suburbs are a legacy for future generations. They will create dire social and environmental problems if a serious economic downturn was to occur or a resource shortage e.g. oil was to make accessibility impossible. Coupled to these threats is that of the social ‘undesirability’ of isolated suburbs where only those on low incomes made their home. Most of those on higher incomes seek established suburbs which have ‘character’, social amenities and ease of access. Typically, these are in older suburbs close to city centres. This paper describes a methodology that has been developed to analyse past and future housing developments. The results of the analysis can provide a guide to improving the sustainability of these suburbs. The methodology uses several criteria to reflect the fact that no single criterion is adequate to describe or analyse the sustainability of a housing development. Sustainability should embrace social and environmental perspectives, so a multi-criteria analysis is appropriate. The theoretical framework for this methodology has been described elsewhere. However, in this previous work only five criteria were considered: energy use, resource use, neighbourhood character, neighbourhood connectedness and social diversity. In each case, high and low sustainability practice has been identified so that ranking is possible. This paper initially summarizes the way in which these previous five criteria are assessed but then adds a sixth criterion (social connectedness) because of a perceived gap in the previous assessment. The results of an analysis of three suburbs reported in the previous work are updated. They score poorly in terms of social connectedness underlining the need to ‘repair’ these suburbs in order to improve their overall sustainability.



International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference Tipping Point (21st : 2015 : Geelong, Vic.)


1 - 10


International Sustainable Development Research Society


Geelong, Vic.

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[Geelong, Vic.]

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E Conference publication; E1 Full written paper - refereed

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2015, ISDRS

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ISDRS 2015 : Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity. Proceedings of 21st International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference

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