Extract from an article by Suzanne Toumbourou, ASBEC
If you were asked to draw your home, what would the picture look like? Chances are you’d draw a standalone building, with walls and a roof, then add in some windows and doors – but does this picture really reflect how your home operates?
Unless you live in a very remote location, your house doesn’t function alone. It’s part of an interconnected system of energy and water supplies, infrastructure, transport, services like schools and hospitals, and social and professional connections with other people.
Too often, Australia’s growing housing crisis is mentioned solely in terms of what it costs to buy or rent a single home. While it’s true that Australian housing is becoming prohibitively expensive, solutions need to go beyond simply lowering rents and purchase prices.
Instead, the answers to Australia’s housing crisis need to work across the whole system. ASBEC has released a new policy platform on Improved Housing Outcomes – for affordable, sustainable housing, which sets out the many areas we need to address if we are to mitigate the worst effects of the housing crisis and ensure the best possible accommodation for all Australians.
First of all, homes don’t exist in a vacuum, but are connected to other places. Transport links, for example, are crucial. It’s no good building homes that have an “affordable” sticker price but are going to cost occupants impossible amounts of money for travel to work or to use health services. Without good transport, people can’t access jobs or health services – meaning “affordable” but poorly connected homes risk trapping their residents in poverty or ill health.
That’s why infrastructure plans need to be part of the solution. Victoria has a 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy, in which infrastructure plans inform housing plans and vice versa. Governments could go even further than this, conducting detailed cost-benefit analyses for new infrastructure and releasing funds to create it..(continues)
SOURCE: Suzanne Toumbourou, “Housing crisis solutions are all connected”, The Fifth Estate, 26 Sept 2017
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia