Design critical in social housing

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Leading architects are working on balanced, sustainable and integrated projects, writes Mary Costello.

The ambience of our homes directly affects the quality of our lives, so the design of public housing for the disadvantaged is critical.

The housing division of the Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for developing living environments for those most in need of support. It provides more than 77,000 residences, including public, community, Aboriginal, crisis and transitional housing.

In the past, public housing has been decidedly basic — Soviet-style, concrete high-rises marooned in bleak, urban gulags where no one would choose to live. The future of public housing looks considerably more appealing for tenants, with the government taking a more enlightened approach.