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Seminar on house crowding among Australia’s Lebanese population

This presentation will examine the socio-spatial problems of house crowding among the Lebanese population in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects data regularly to produce quantitative indicators of the ‘housing utilisation’ of Australian dwellings and identify potential ‘overcrowding’ among Australian dwellings in general. However, the method adopted by the ABS is based on assumed cultural norms of the way people occupy their dwellings, which raises the question of its applicability to the distinct cultural needs of the variant ethnic groups composing Australia’s contemporary society. This presentation aims to reflect the extent of house crowding among Australia’s Lebanese population through a quantitative analysis of statistical data collected in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. However, the ability of quantitative methods to scrutinise the lived experience of crowding among the Lebanese population in Australia remains questionable. Therefore, the presentation demonstrates an architectural-based analysis of imperative cultural and social needs of the Lebanese population affecting their experience of house crowding. The findings are based on data collected through a series of eight in-depth interviews with members of six different households conducted in 2016–17. The results reveal that the methods adopted by the ABS to capture crowding among the Australian Lebanese community are insufficient to capture the specificity of crowding within houses which varies according to how they are used by residents.

Title: House Crowding Among Australia’s Lebanese Population: The Influence of Density, Culture and Architecture on the Experience of Crowding

When: 22 November 2018 12:00pm–1:00pm

Where: Room 318/319, Steele Building (#03)

Speaker: Maram Shaweesh is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, School of Architecture. Maram’s current research project titled “The mediating role of culture and architecture on the residential experience: The case of the Lebanese community in Australia” aims to elucidate the social and cultural factors that influence the experience of Australian Lebanese community members in mainstream Australian housing types. Her research interest includes housing, migration, ethnic infrastructure and residential concentration of ethnic communities.

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