Density and Housing Condition

Danny Chun Yu Wong (2010). Density and Housing Condition PhD Thesis, School of Architecture, The University of Queensland.

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Author Danny Chun Yu Wong
Thesis Title Density and Housing Condition
School, Centre or Institute School of Architecture
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-03
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Greg Bamford
John Macarthur
Andrew Leach
Total pages 339
Total colour pages 221
Total black and white pages 118
Subjects 12 Built Environment and Design
Abstract/Summary Abstract In discussions of housing and ecological sustainability in the urban studies discourse, housing conditions and housing forms are commonly summarised by the measure of density. The paradigm has been questioned and disputed by authors within the housing discipline; however, in each case, there is no extensive research to substantiate the claims. This thesis examines in detail the representational value of density to housing conditions with reference to the context of Brisbane’s medium-density infill housing development. Density as a measure of land-use intensity is widely used by the housing industry, academics, and governments, as the nexus representing a range of urban propositions for ecological sustainability. It is argued along ideological grounds of high-density, medium-density, and low-density forms of city design. Therefore, aspects of the built environment including infrastructure, amenities, energy use, housing forms, and land use, are broadly discussed under the umbrella term of density. Perhaps most significant to this thesis, current discussions pertaining to housing forms and their attendant conditions, characteristics, amenities, and climatic responsiveness, are synonymous with types of density housing, labelled as ‘high-density’, ‘medium-density’, and ‘low-density’ housing. This is a paradigm evident in planning regulatory frameworks, including those by the Queensland State Government and the Brisbane Local Council, where regulations based on pre-determined density levels in housing represent the regulation of housing conditions. All this is to say that the general discourse on housing and urban studies perpetuates an assumed relationship between density and housing conditions – a premise which assumes the notion that increasing density, and therefore efficiency of land use, decreases the ‘quality’ of housing, and vice versa. Most significantly, there is very little evidence in existing literature that substantiates or disputes this assumption. This uncertainty is not limited to the urban study debate; it also affects the perception of density held by the general public, and this in turn influences government responses to issues of density and urban sustainability. This dissertation examines the relationship between housing condition and density through the disciplinary framework of architectural planning and design. It is based on analytical work of Brisbane’s medium-density infill housing type. The method of this dissertation involves (a) extensive original survey and documentation of housing models in key areas of Inner Brisbane, (b) the conceptualisation of ‘housing condition’ into four main aspects – site distribution, basic outdoor amenities, spatial conditions, building responsiveness to climate, (c) formulation of the analytics to measure each aspect of housing condition, and (d) analysis of each analytic and its relationship to density, housing type, and site condition. For each analytic, there are two analytical frameworks. First, the relationship between density and housing condition is examined using the collection of surveyed housing models. Second, the relationship is examined using medium-density layouts and higher-density layouts of the same models. The key communication tools throughout the analysis are (a) architectural documentation of housing models, (b) diagrams, (c) charts, and (d) tables. This dissertation asserts that the current use of the term density as an instrument to describe and also to control housing condition is misguided. It finds that, for most of the analytics, density is not an important consideration. Density-based discussions on housing condition are therefore misguided. On the other hand, the study finds that site condition and housing type are important indicators as well as determinants of the housing conditions. Given that the two elements are place-dependent, the outcomes of housing and the premises on which a project is based are complex and transformative. Thus, discussions about housing within a broader framework of sustainability and urban environments are inaccurate unless these considerations are taken into account. Furthermore, the very fluid nature of these considerations makes general discussion on the topic difficult and somewhat irrelevant. The significance of this dissertation is reflected in the wide-ranging misinterpretation of the term density in academic discussions about housing and sustainability, and in policy making by governments both nationally and locally. The finding in this dissertation directly refutes current concerns about higher density developments and poorer housing condition. Despite all the claims and assertions, this study provides thorough research that clarifies this uncertainty. It is a topic that relates to opinions about housing and density which, in turn, impacts on government policies about sustainability and local development. On a local level, South East Queensland is proposed to consolidate with higher density living for the next 20 years. The study of housing models, or housing typology, has been useful to measure, identify, and describe the components of housing condition. The documentation, the analysis, as well as the method of this dissertation are a significant resource for further examination, research, and discussions on densification and planning regulation in Brisbane.
Keyword housing
housing conditions
housing type
Additional Notes A4 Colour (pages) 21, 29, 49, 54-56, 58-65, 68, 71,75-80, 82-87, 89, 92, 94-100, 103-107, 109, 112-124, 126-128, 129, 133-138, 142-146, 150-159, 164-169, 172-174, 176, 179-189, 191-198, 200-203, 207-215, 217, 220-234, 237-251, 254-262, 264-267, 269, 271-272, 277-280 A3 Colour (pages) 291-314, 317-339

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Created: Wed, 13 Apr 2011, 13:07:21 EST by Mr Danny Wong on behalf of Library - Information Access Service