Why don't small households live in small dwellings? — disentangling a planning dilemma

Maryann Wulff is Associate Professor, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Ernest Healy is Research Fellow, Centre for Population and Urban Research, and Margaret Reynolds is Research Fellow, Centre for Geographical Information Systems, all with Monash University. Advocates for the compact city often suppose that smaller households mean people will want smaller dwellings. This paper analyses the growth in lone-person households in Australia and shows that most people who live alone prefer detached three bedroom houses and that many of them are able to realise this preference. Planners have too readily assumed that the demographic shift to smaller households will facilitate a shift to more compact cites. There is very little evidence to support this assumption. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s