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Ideas for affordable housing

- Government needs to take a role in buying and developing land into mixed use communities, particularly around existing railway stations. The development can be built by the private sector but should remain in government ownership and provide housing and jobs for a diverse range of socio-economic groups.

- Individual house lots should have much smaller yards but each community should provide more public open space with tennis and basketball courts, walking trails, cricket nets, a pool, community gardens and outdoor performance areas. This reduces duplication between households.

- New communities should also have a community centre with a library, computers, meeting rooms and entertainment rooms to again reduce the need for private space within each household and reduce the need for everyone to own the same things.

- Rather than each house having a garage communal parking facilities should be provided, and small vehicles such as golf buggies can be used if people need to drive to their property. Again this would reduce the cost of a house by more than $5,000 because there is no need to build a garage.

- Some parts of a new development should also offer shared kitchen, laundry and other facilities to reduce living costs for each individual household.

- Each development should have a car sharing scheme in place and a small fleet of car share vehicles to reduce the need for each household to have their own car. Obviously developments should be serviced with quality public transport from the outset.

The more we can share the less we need to do unnecessary work.


Some very positive ideas here, Tristan. The concept of shared facilities is one that should be seriously considered as a way of providing a high standard of living to people at lower cost - and with a reduced environmental footprint.

Another strategy worth considering is that of decentralisation. Many rural towns have been in decline for years, leaving empty houses that can't be sold. In addition, lots of these towns have vacant blocks that have been cleared and serviced - but never built on.

Providing incentives for businesses to move to towns in decline would protect them from becoming ghost towns and take some of the pressure off housing in the metro areas. Moving Public Service Departments to rural centres would have the same effect. The NSW Dept of Agriculture moved from Sydney to Orange in 1991, benefiting Orange and a number of the small villages in the area.

Of course, in the long run we can't have affordable housing if demand keeps outstripping supply and we can't sustainably keep building more new housing. There's no substitute for a relatively stable, sustainable population; but until that's achieved the kinds of ideas you propose would help to provide affordable housing in an ecologically sensitive way.