Sustainability and Aboriginal Housing
This chapter compares traditional and contemporary Australian Aboriginal housing in terms of sustainability. The case of Aboriginal housing demonstrates that sustainable design requires an integration of economic, social and environmental factors. Traditional camp dwellings were built afresh each time an Aboriginal group moved, although occasionally old dwellings were renewed when areas were revisited. The history of Aboriginal housing provision is one of the policy trade-offs between houses which are cheap in capital cost but poor in design, and houses which are intensive in consultation, design and materials, and thus cost more. The economic aspects of Aboriginal housing are poorly integrated with environmental and social aspects. Sustainable Aboriginal housing requires the integration of social, economic and environmental analysis and design. In remote areas, much Aboriginal housing is designed for a high degree of dependency on environmental services such as water and fuel; these often strain local capacity.