Where is the sustainable buzz? : design and liveability of higher density urban housing in inner Sydney
Authors: Rashid, Mamun; Ara, Dilshad Rahat
Sustainable design is now a growing trend within various fields. However the most common response to sustainable design continues to be ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘economic’ designs while social factors incorporating users’ design satisfaction and connectivity with place have been currently downplayed. Although measuring users satisfaction has been one of the popular areas of inquiry for housing environment researches, in architecture little attention has been paid so far to successful design factors that are sustained by the users. No matter how energy and water efficient a building might be, it becomes a waste of resources and potential detriment to the community if no one wants to occupy it. With this presupposition the study investigates, what is sustainable design taking into consideration a designed setting where architects’ and users’ approaches and needs are constantly negotiated. This issue is very important for medium to medium-high density residential forms as these are gradually increasing in numbers in inner Sydney, where space/ land is at premium. Results from an investigation into a master planned medium-high density brown-field development at an inner area of Zetland are presented in this paper. In this highlighted context, the designs are not apparently ‘green’ but to some extent sustainable parameters were considered when these were designed. Residents’ views of dwelling and neighbourhood in form of household surveys are taken as primal consideration when assessing design issues. Factor Analysis was used to represent variables relating to the residents’ assessments of residential and neighbourhood features. Secondly, the emerged factors along with objective features and person characteristics were used in a multiple regression analysis to identify subset of independent variables that would be most useful in predicting the dependent variable ‘overall satisfaction’ with living environment. The results show that architects’ design intentions and approaches, in line with socio-psychological design issues, are not always in conflict with the users, on the contrary users – aspiring for a particular urban lifestyle, are happy to pursue design cues to fine-tune in a ‘particular setting’.