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|Consolidating the Australian Dream: reconfiguring the multi-unit housing network
|Palmer, Jasmine Samantha
|School of Social Sciences
|In promoting urban consolidation, Australia’s strategic urban plans have the unintended consequence of reducing, if not eliminating, an individual household’s capacity to directly engage with new dwelling production. Contrasts exist between the production processes of a free-standing home, typically constructed to contract, and that of a multi-unit building, typically speculatively designed and sold off-the-plan; with the latter removing the capacity for future occupants to directly influence dwelling function or design. Hence, in providing a vision of higher-density urban communities, Australia’s strategic urban plans arguably contribute to a disjunction between the function of higher-density dwellings and the individual households who seek to call them home. In response, a small number of Australian households and industry professionals have proposed alternative production processes to realise multi-unit housing suited to future occupants’ collective needs. This thesis examines the relational network of social and technical actors in existing multi-unit housing development. Structures of housing provision are visualised through an actor-network lens, and network relations are analysed to identify which (or what) network actors (or actants) influence design decisions, particularly regarding dwelling function and cost. The existing actor-network is compared with those of four alternative Australian cases. Employing both network analysis and primary interview data, impediments to collective self-organised housing in Australia are identified. Comparison of the actor-networks of the alternative cases recognises different types of network change in each case, reflecting participants’ motivations and resources, with associated variation in outcomes. Means of addressing the impediments identified in the Australian cases are drawn from two international cases, building groups in Berlin, Germany and collective custom build in the United Kingdom. The thesis argues successful consolidation of the Australian Dream advocated by contemporary urban planning policies requires that future residents be provided with greater capacity to influence design decision-making within the multi-unit structure of housing provision. Drawing lessons from the alternative cases, it proposes reconfiguring the actor-network of multi-unit housing to enable this to occur. The comparison of Australian and international case studies builds knowledge applicable to the development of policies and programs promoting collective self-organised housing in Australia, with relevance also to other dwelling densities. The actor-network visualisations developed to represent the structures of housing provision under examination in this thesis provide unique insights in these cases and, with further development, may prove equally useful to other research examining the complex web of social and technical actors in housing systems.
|Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2016.
|collective self-organised housing
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