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Published: 18 March 2013

Living up to adaptable housing benchmark

Accessibility and ‘ageing-in-place’ design are important but often overlooked aspect of sustainable housing. Two supported housing projects have become the first in Australia to achieve ‘platinum’ certification from Livable Housing Australia (LHA).

‘Universal design’ focuses on design concepts that create environments that are ‘livable’ for as many types of people as possible, not necessarily only those with disabilities. Increasingly, universal design is becoming aligned with sustainable design and green building.
Credit: Johann Dréo via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The two projects are Evolve Housing in Sydney and Yarra Community Housing in partnership with Mind Australia in Melbourne.

Yarra Community Housing (YCH) achieved its certification for a dual disability, housing and support project in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

‘We are delighted to be one of the first projects to achieve a platinum rating. This represents another significant step forward in our journey to design affordable housing projects that better meet the needs of a diverse range of people,’ says YCH’s Chief Executive, Rob Leslie.

Evolve Housing’s project in North Parramatta will deliver innovative supported accommodation for people with severe or profound disabilities.

‘We are proud that this certified livable housing development will give people with disabilities lives of independence and dignity, and improve their chance of employment and involvement with the community,’ says Evolve Housing’s CEO, Andrea Galloway.

Both projects were financed through the federal government’s Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund (SAIF).

LHA’s Livable Housing Design Guidelines outline 16 design elements, such as a step-free entrance to the dwelling, internal doors and corridors that facilitate comfortable and unimpeded movement between spaces, and a toilet on entry level, that contribute to a livable dwelling.

All 16 elements are required in order to achieve platinum level accreditation.

‘The Livable Housing Design Guidelines are based on practical, common sense livability principles. Both the YCH and Evolve Housing developments will be more livable, flexible and adaptable, but also better investments for the future,’ says LHA’s Chair, Peter Verwer.

‘Livable homes cater not just for those living with disability or traumatic injury. Livable homes work for pregnant mums, young families with kids, and seniors wishing to age in place. We look forward to certifying a range of projects as industry embraces the livable housing principles,’ Mr Verwer concludes.

The Livable Housing Design Guidelines can be downloaded here.

Source: LHA

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