The project examines the interplay between apartment design policy, design outcomes, and residents’ health and wellbeing outcomes in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

  • Project dates: 2017

Apartment buildings are being built across all major Australian cities, however different policy requirements apply and some states have minimal guidance.  Could this have implications for the quality and equity of the housing provided, and for the health and wellbeing of residents?  This project compares apartments developed in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney in the last decade to assess whether more comprehensive apartment design requirements improve dwelling and building amenity, and in turn positively impact on residents’ health and wellbeing.  Within each city, apartment residents in diverse neighbourhoods will be surveyed, and objective measures of apartment design and neighbourhood liveability generated to answer four research questions:

  1. Are apartments in Sydney, where a comprehensive design policy has been in place since 2002, of a higher quality than those in Melbourne and Perth, where there is relatively limited design guidance?
  2. Is area socio-economic status associated with poorer apartment quality, and which design requirements are less likely to be delivered in lower socio-economic areas?
  3. Do residents living in apartments with greater overall design quality report better health and wellbeing, and which design requirements are associated with health and wellbeing outcomes?
  4. What are the wider neighbourhood contextual features (e.g., access to shops, public open space, public transport, traffic minimisation) that, when paired with apartment living, are associated with health and wellbeing outcomes?

The projects findings will have the potential to identify the key health-enhancing design requirements that should be mandated or preserved in future apartment design codes.

Key People

Lead researchers

Dr Sarah Foster

Dr Sarah Foster

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship

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Alexandra Kleeman

Alexandra Kleeman

PhD Candidate

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