Environmental problems affect all forms of life on Earth and are of increasing concern to its human inhabitants. Growing urbanisation confronts many nations, with evidence showing that this is especially so for Australia. Moreover, the environmental impact associated with urbanisation in the areas of urban planning for new development is particularly significant. Such concern is the main driving force for the need for new urban developments to incorporate the principles of Ecological Sustainable Development (ESD). This research therefore assesses how effective designers have implemented the strategies of environmental sustainability in what they regarded as a good ecovillage and ecohouse. Case studies of North Lakes, an urban development and the Prosser house on the Gold Coast are assessed by well respected assessment tools and methodology to determine their levels of ESD strategies applied.
The assessment of an ecovillage and ecohouse illustrate their characteristics as well as depicting their strengths and weaknesses in different aspects of ESD. An ecovillage is clearly more appropriate for implementing large scale environmental strategies involving the work of infrastructure, such as renewable solar strategy and grey water recycling. An ecohouse is most suitable for the management of smaller scale environmentally sustainable strategy such as passive design and use of material. An ecohouse is thus a point of control for reducing the use of energy, while an ecovillage is the provider of clean and renewable energy. As a result, an inseparable relationship exists between the two housing models.
The significance of the findings is the most appropriate for new urban residential developments. Analysis shows the intertwining of both housing models offers the most sensitive result for residential developments, with each complementing the other on various aspects of environmental sustainability. This research contributes to architects and urban developers, on whom the development of future environmentally sustainable housing depends. It provides crucial information on the essential aspects of design needed in the process of becoming more environmentally sustainable.