Towards sustainable housing provision in Queensland rural and remote Aboriginal communities

Boamah, Samuel (2003). Towards sustainable housing provision in Queensland rural and remote Aboriginal communities PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland.

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Author Boamah, Samuel
Thesis Title Towards sustainable housing provision in Queensland rural and remote Aboriginal communities
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2003-09-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor -
Total pages 251
Language eng
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Formatted abstract The provision of adequate shelter for Aboriginal people has received considerable attention by successive governments in Australia through the delivery of a variety of policies, programs and projects. These targeted policies, programs and projects have ranged from self-help, to direct government intervention, to self-management style approaches. Over the past three decades, the Commonwealth government alone has invested nearly one billion dollars towards provision of housing for Aboriginal communities. Despite this, there remains a chronic housing shortage and significant socio-economic problems in Aboriginal communities.

A critical review of various housing policies, programs and projects implemented shows that housing delivery has been undertaken within a perfunctory framework. There has been a failure to effectively assess the housing needs of Aboriginal communities. There has been limited integration of socio-cultural, economic, environmental, demographic, infrastructural and institutional elements in housing provision. The consequence of this is a dysfunctional housing delivery system, which is unsustainable.

This study focuses on developing a framework for sustainable housing in Aboriginal communities. It examines past and current housing policies and programs during three time periods namely; pre-European contact; European contact and Post 1967. An analysis of housing philosophies underpinning policies, programs and projects was undertaken during these periods. Housing delivery systems and theories underpinning the concept of sustainable development were also examined. Field investigation was then carried out to assess current housing processes against a proposed framework for sustainable housing delivery in Aboriginal communities.

This involved a three-phase approach. The first phase involved an extensive search of published and unpublished literature on sustainable development and housing delivery in Aboriginal communities. This led to the development of a sustainable housing framework called SEEDII (which incorporates Socio-cultural, economic, environmental, demographic, infrastructural and institutional elements). This framework was used in conjunction with a statistical package to assess the sustainability of Aboriginal housing. The second phase involved a systematic identification and classification of institutions and key stakeholders involved in the provision of housing in Aboriginal communities. Included in this was a field study undertaken in Cherbourg through the device of a community survey. The third phase involved analysis and synthesis of the results of the survey using SEEDII, a statistical package and a modified project evaluation review technique designed to assess the sustainability of Aboriginal housing.

Analysis of the results revealed that, during the pre-European period, provision of housing was guided primarily by a set of socio-cultural principles and a limited integration of housing within the physical environment based on traditional management practices. Although socio-cultural and environmental elements were considered in the provision of housing, economic considerations were not considered to be a primary element in the housing delivery process.

During the European period, housing provision was pursued through a "product approach". Consequently, socio-cultural principles of Aboriginal people, which played a vital role during the pre-European period, were neglected. Emphasis was placed on "what housing ought to be". Infrastructure and economic principles were not priority issues that guided housing policy, program and project processes. This led to limited consultation of Aboriginal people in the provision of housing, which, in turn, led to widespread abandonment and neglect of their housing. Provision of
housing during this period thus became unsustainable.

During the post 1967 period, attempts were made by successive governments to involve Aboriginal people in policy, program and project processes. The main thrust of housing provision, however, continued to focus on the "product approach" instead of the "process approach to housing". There have been attempts at the project level to involve residents in the implementation of housing policy and programs. This, however, has been limited by the "top-down" approach to policy and program formulation.

It is recommended that, to ensure that provision of housing becomes sustainable, socio-cultural, economic, environmental, demographic, infrastructural, and institutional processes be integrated to ensure that Aboriginal people can meet their present and future housing needs without compromising their own ability to translate their aspirations into reality.
Keyword Aboriginal Australians -- Housing
Additional Notes The author has given permission for this thesis to be made open access.

 
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