Opinion

Are Australian planners ready to embrace communal living options?

When people live in a communal like situation they have happier lives.  And interesting they also tend to be more caring of their ecological impact.  Hmmm.  Not a surprise here. Quality of life and happiness in Intentional Communities.

Yet why then is the range of modern communal living such as ecovillages, co-housing, co-living, co-operative houses so limited in Australia and in many localities actually prevented from being developed?

The momentum for people seeking this way of living is growing and daily reported in mainstream media Co-livingCo-housing in Denmark, WA Frankstown CohousingCo-owned housingThe ecovillage people and many many others.

And when I looked over the Shaping SEQ – Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan October 2016, I saw more of the old- school planning that is focused upon single family ‘detached’ dwellings, ‘apartments’ and ‘units’ all of which increase social separation, ecological over consumption and unlike the heydays of ‘The Great Australian Dream’ are becoming increasingly unaffordable (Demographia international housing affordability survey.  I am happy to provide a whole lot more articles and references to highlight this issue. Communal living does not even get a mention.

Yet my purpose for posting is – what are we as planners doing to be aware and also accommodate this growing movement?

And in the face of social happiness, is it not our learned duty to plan for more socially connected pro-choice communal housing?

Contact Jason Hilder (j.hilder@uq.edu.au), UQ|UP PhD student.