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Do Australian cities stand a sustainable chance?

Do Australian cities stand a sustainable chance?

The following article “Archicentre seeks green laws on house sales” appeared yesterday in The Age.

Great start! But is it realistic and can this be effective in reducing our greenhouse gases?
Archicentre managing director Robert Caulfield said: "Clever and smarter environmental design of buildings, backed by legislation and government policy, will need to be introduced on a national level for Australia to play its part."

But he warned that the current "red tape maze between government departments" and differences from state to state threatened the chances of the new laws coming into effect. Australia has 7.2 million homes, with houses being sold on an average every seven years.

Mr Caulfield called for every house sold to be subject to basic climate change certification, which would include having a water tank connected to the toilet, dual-flush cisterns, insulation in the roof, water-efficient shower heads and taps, and solar panels for power.

He said home owners who did the work on their homes should receive a 50% tax deduction.

A national policy approach such as this would improve Australia's housing stock over the next decade. A similar policy should be implemented for commercial properties, he said.

One of the first steps should be legislation for compulsory eaves to shade houses and keep them cool.
"Historically, the eave was a fundamental part of Australia homes. However, in the last decade, its removal for fashion and mock building design has seen the building of hundreds of thousands of homes poorly equipped to cope with climate change," Mr Caulfield said.
There are a few important issues that need to be discussed around this interesting initiative:
As far as I know, Archicentre speaks for architects. Architects are responsible for less than 10% of housing design (upper market sector / the elite)

Archicentre proposal does not involved subdivision, this is today the developers role—for how long can we afford to leave this important decision to the market?

There has been already a shift toward adding ‘sustainable’ features to housing. Nevertheless, our greenhouse contribution continues to rise.

Should an effective policy include aspects such as: apartment living, higher density, inner city developments, an effective public transport that would make car dependency a thing of the past?
Shane Murray had this to say about housing in Australia (Shane Murray, "Housing", Architecture Australia, May/June 2007):
“It is very easy to understand this disengagement. Seventy-nine percent of Australians live in detached dwellings, nine percent live in attached dwellings (terraces or duplexes) and only around 12 percent live in apartments. The public sector funds less than 1.5 percent of housing, leaving the market to provide the remaining 98.5 percent or more. Less than ten percent of housing in Australia has architectural involvement and many observers consider the figure for architectural involvement in new housing to be much less.”

• 79% detached dwellings
• 9% attached dwellings (terraces or duplexes)
• 12 % live in apartments
• Less than 1.5% of housing is funded by the public sector
• 98.5 percent or more is provided by the private market
• Less than 10% of housing in Australia has architectural involvement (many observers consider this figure to be much less)


  • edited January 1970
    My views on this are well represented in bits and pieces all over this forum and elsewhere, so i won't repeat myself, but i have to say that if architects want more of a say and maybe they don't but if they do, i think the future of housing in this country would be considerably enhanced by it.
    If more architects got involved in policy making perhaps more architects would have better paid jobs, there might be more jobs and more importantly the standard of the Australian built enviroment would be considerably improved. Doctors have the AMA. What is the RAIA for if not to improve the lot of architects and hopefully the broadening of the client base aware of how good an architect can do it for them.?
    This new Government might be very interested to hear what architects have got to say about achieving climate change goals from a proffesional organisation that says anything but "ESD is irrelevant". Someone quoted that in a post of a departing RAIA chief. Who was it and are they long gone. If I stand corrected, so does John Howard.
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