Agile housing for an Ageing Australia

By 2055, Australia’s 65+ population will have doubled and, if current strategies are followed, it is likely that the housing available will be inappropriate. Today’s housing stock will still be in use yet few developers and designers are capitalising on the potential of agile housing and, more broadly, the creation of age-friendly neighbourhoods. Current changes in design and prefabrication technology, along with government initiatives for ageing at home in preference to institutional care, have the potential to transform the way we consider housing design to support changing demographics. This research considers agile housing for an ageing population from the perspectives of urban planning, design, prefabrication, sustainability, life-cycle costing and social gerontology. We highlight the need for interdisciplinary perspectives in order to consider how entrenched policy, planning, design and construction practices can be encouraged to change through advocacy, design speculation and scenario testing to deliver right-sized housing. A cradle-to-grave perspective requires the exploration of the social and practical benefits of housing in multigenerational communities. This research links to concurrent work on affordable housing solutions and the potential of an industry, government and academic partnership to present an Australian Housing Exposition, that will highlight the possibilities of a more agile housing approach.