Conference paper

How Green is my subdivision? 'Green' Marketed Subdivisions: the nexus between sustainable urban planning and energy efficient housing.

02 Dec 2011

This PhD research examines, in particular, the inclusion of sustainability features into ’green’ marketed subdivisions currently available in the Perth housing market. The data collected will help to understand how, and how well sustainability is being implemented in niche subdivisions, the houses built in them and the lifestyles of the householders. It will also provide an understanding of the current gaps in implementation, barriers to implementation, and the areas where improved government policy is required. The type and form of residential subdivisions and housing is having an important impact on the state of the environment. In Australia, there has been an escalating level of residential energy use per person and the factors influencing this include the increasing average size of dwellings despite the decreasing number of people per dwelling, changes in consumer preferences for housing design, increases in consumption patterns more generally and changing expectations about personal comfort. Using an Holistic approach embedded in an environmental axiology, the research involved examining indicators of sustainability from four case study subdivisions in the Perth area that are currently being marketed as ‘green’, ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ or similar. The criteria for which the case studies have been examined come from widely agreed sustainability and energy efficiency outcomes to be expected from ‘green’, ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ houses and subdivisions as found in the literature. It is clear from the data and review of the literature that there is a considerable gap in the way in which the subdivision has been designed and the energy efficiency of the houses; and the recent media attention regarding the efficacy of the energy efficiency ratings tools would appear to support this research finding. There is a need to increase the energy efficiency of houses as energy costs continue to increase.
The State of Australian Cities (SOAC) national conferences have been held biennially since 2003 to support interdisciplinary policy-related urban research.This paper was presented at SOAC 5held in Melbourne from 29 November – 2 December 2011.SOAC 5 was hosted by the University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology and Latrobe University as well as the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and the Grattan Institute, the Victorian State Government and the City of Melbourne.Three plenary panels brought researchers from across the country to address ‘big issues’: place-based disadvantage, the design and form of Australian cities, and metropolitan governance. Over 175 papers, in 46 themed sessions, cover topics ranging from planning and governance for environmental sustainability, to housing affordability and adequacy in the context of an aging population. Healthy communities, better public transport, high quality open space, participatory planning, and issues affecting the peri-urban fringe are also strong sub-themes within this conference.All published papers have been subject to a peer reviewing process.

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