Much of our public housing stock is ageing and substandard. But we can learn from outstanding examples of retrofit projects that have transformed existing blocks into high-quality housing.
In a study of people receiving community care, home modifications liberated them to live at home safely and independently. Hours of care were cut by 42% and quality of life improved by 40%.
There has never been a better time for public money to go into improving the performance of Australian housing. We could have cut household bills and emissions, as well as saving construction jobs.
How many of us have recently wished we could partition parts of our home, even to have a small second house? Being able to do this on existing blocks would help meet the many needs of families today.
Months after Typhoon Washi tore through the Philippines in 2011, relocated residents were moving into newly built housing. They soon began modifying and extending homes that didn't meet their needs.
While a majority of householders over 55 have thought about downsizing, only one in four have done it. What's stopping them? Most simply can't find a home in the right place that meets their needs.
With space at a premium, robotic furniture can transform a room in seconds. How will this affect our sense of belonging and feeling at home, when everything can change with a voice command?
Australians' need for smaller and more diverse dwellings is growing. The planning system is not providing enough of this housing, and self-serving opposition to it should be resisted.
The research has been done. The evidence is in. We know how to create cities that are sustainable, liveable and affordable. But we have yet to apply that knowledge widely across Australian cities.
Almost half of apartment residents in Australia are families, but few high-rise dwellings were built with them in mind. Many find these apartments present barriers to building social connections.
Whether in Melbourne or in Paris, African immigrants face social and cultural challenges, which public housing can either add to or help overcome.
Air conditioning changed both building design and people's active management of home temperatures. A return to houses designed for our climate can keep us comfortable and cut energy use and emissions.
People living with the change and uncertainty of this century need flexible and adaptable housing. Here we look at a couple of examples of what's possible.
To deliver better housing for health, we must go back to what we know works, to the proven evidence-based solutions for design, construction, delivery and maintenance.
Being crowded into poor-quality high-density units harms residents' health, but design features that are known to promote wellbeing can make a big difference to the lives of low-income households.
Social housing can certainly have heritage significance. Over more than 100 years, it has been shaped by contemporary architectural and political ideas, sometimes in an exemplary way.
City dwellers are individually starting to do their bit to live sustainably. Now pioneering businesses are aiming to make ecological and social sustainability part of their bottom line.
People are taking on larger future risks and costs just so they can buy a house. Increases in new home owners are seen as a positive development, but what if they can't afford the ongoing costs?
Power-hungry houses that rely on air conditioning to make up for their bad design mean that the electricity grid has to cope with summer demand peaks – and everybody pays.
The stereotype of a dependent generation who won’t leave home ignores the many reasons adult family members choose to live together in the one house.