The great Australian nightmare? The problem of escalating housing aspirations and expectations and adaptation to climate change

Maller, C, Strengers, Y, Moloney, S and Nicholls, L 2013, 'The great Australian nightmare? The problem of escalating housing aspirations and expectations and adaptation to climate change', in Nick Osbaldiston, Catherine Strong and Helen Forbes-Mewett (ed.) 2013 Conference Proceedings: Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations 50 years of Australian Sociology, Caulfield, Australia, 25-28 November 2013, pp. 1-13.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

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Title The great Australian nightmare? The problem of escalating housing aspirations and expectations and adaptation to climate change
Author(s) Maller, C
Strengers, Y
Moloney, S
Nicholls, L
Year 2013
Conference name 2013 TASA Conference
Conference location Caulfield, Australia
Conference dates 25-28 November 2013
Proceedings title 2013 Conference Proceedings: Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations 50 years of Australian Sociology
Editor(s) Nick Osbaldiston, Catherine Strong and Helen Forbes-Mewett
Publisher The Australian Sociological Association
Place of publication Caulfield, Australia
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Abstract The dominant trend in Australian cities towards large, detached, energy intensive dwellings in poorly serviced, low-density, urban fringe locations, leaves governments, households and communities more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and does little to aid mitigation. Given the multiple and competing objectives of the stakeholders involved, reducing domestic energy consumption is more complex than attempting to change what Shove (2010) refers to as the ABC ('attitudes, behaviours and choices') of individual householders. What is needed is a better understanding of the dynamic and integrated processes resulting in escalating expectations and aspirations for Australian housing. Along this vein, we suggest the 'great Australian dream' is actually becoming a great Australian nightmare. In our critique we investigate what is meant by a 'normal' home and how aspirations and expectations for housing have changed over time. Drawing on theories of social practice we look at what goes on inside homes to explore how everyday practices and the design of houses are mutually constitutive. In our analysis we find that seemingly common-place aspirations for housing are the result of changing practices, such as cooking, eating and entertaining, which are resulting in escalating trajectories of consumption. We conclude by suggesting how policy attention could be refocused on transforming the relationship between house design and everyday practice to address climate change.
Subjects Land Use and Environmental Planning
Keyword(s) policy
housing design
everyday life
theories of social practice
Copyright notice © The Authors
ISBN 978-0-646-91126-7
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