Australia's public housing is not adequately providing safe and secure housing for the disadvantaged and needy. This paper will demonstrate the issues that arise from the poorly planned public housing developments, particularly the issues concerning spatial concentration of commission homes in low socio-economic areas. Australian government agencies are currently exploring solutions to the problems caused by public housing estates, developed primarily following World War II to address the shortage of housing. These homes built around the period of 1940-1960 have created 'stressed' suburbs (National Archives of Australia, 2011). The physical problems of aged infrastructure and inadequately designed housing reflect only part of the issues faced by tenants who are increasingly characterised by poverty, high unemployment and low education levels. Moreover, “within some estates crime and incidences of violence are increasing and tenants are more likely to have involvement with crime as a victim and/or offender” (Athurson, 2002, p. 3).
This essay will reveal the need to create a more balanced social mix throughout suburbs and regions in Australia to stop the cycle of disadvantage. Moreover, it will provide information on the current issues surrounding social housing, the authorities’ proposals for a resolution and the expected benefits that should result from the new approach to public housing developments. Various strategies are being tested throughout estates in Australia to resolve the issues manifested in large social housing estates. The Carlton High Rise Renewal is an example of a successful approach to public housing regeneration and this should be incorporated in more public housing estates such as West Heidelberg's Olympic Village. However, this method is costly and often developments are faced with delays. This paper suggests reforms for developments to incorporate broader selections of estates that will be helped, which also should include low cost private rental areas. Moreover, it demonstrates the need for urgent media attention on this issue to generate more funding towards these projects.
Concentrated Public Housing Concerns
Research has shown that there is a cycle of negative effects that result from highly concentrated public housing which further impacts on disadvantaged tenants (Baum et al., 1999). Within this research, those residing in public housing estates and areas of concentrated low income private rental housing were identified as the most disadvantaged, in terms of employment, income levels and education opportunities ( Arthurson, 2008, p. 1). Public policy in the field of housing needs to address the balance of social mix within older public housing estates to prevent this continuous cycle. In the urban studies literature, this concept is variously referred to as ‘social mix’, ‘tenure mix’ or ‘residential mix’ (Athurson, 2002, p. 22). “Housing tenants from areas of high...