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    Survey shows Australian apartment dwellers don’t want to live in shoe boxes

    Geraldine Chua

    A new research survey carried out by architects Atelier Red + Black has shown that being able to entertain guests at home is as important for apartment dwellers as those living in detached houses.

    These results, based on 217 responses to the website ratemybuilding.com.au and analysis from an independent mathematician, could lend weight to the argument for minimum apartment standards in safeguarding living standards – an issue that has cropped up in recent years with the rise of smaller, micro apartments that have been said to compromise occupants’ amenity and quality of life.

    Pointing to the common assumption that because apartments are typically located near centres of urban activity, which means occupants do not require substantial living or kitchen spaces in their homes, Co-Director of Atelier Red + Black Michael Smith says it is “time to stop treating apartment dwellers as second class citizens”.

    “This research shows that Australians want to entertain guests in their home, regardless of whether that home is a single bedroom apartment or four bedroom house,” he argues.

    “Architects, property developers and local councils need to ensure that all dwellings they are creating are genuinely suitable for the lifestyles that Australians want to lead.”

    Survey responses were received from postcodes in the ACT, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia, with the most common postcodes in Victoria. According to the independent mathematician, there was sufficient data that the two separate groups – the house dwellers and apartment dwellers – were statistically no different in their responses despite the moderate sample size.

    Although there was generally a diverse spread of apartment types in the responses within the apartment survey, both in terms of the number of bedrooms and estimated age of the building, Atelier Red + Black does note that the low number of respondents living in studios proved to be a limiting factor to the test.

    “As Australia becomes increasingly urban it will be imperative that our new higher density building stock meets the needs and wants of the community. High quality design will be crucial to this process,” the practice said in their Data Sheet.

    “Whilst the free market may apply significant pressure on the reduction of apartment sizes, Australians will not be satisfied with apartments where the kitchen and living spaces are so small that they cannot accommodate guests.”

    The impact minimum apartment sizes could have on housing affordability was, however, not touched upon in the research – a concern faced by some industry bodies following a recent ruling on minimum apartment sizes from the NSW Land and Environment Court.

    “Some councils have argued for larger apartment sizes than the Government’s minimums and included these in their Development Control Plans,” Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said in response to the ruling.

    “All this does is increase the cost of apartments by up to $200,000 in some areas. Sydney is already one of the most expensive cities in the world for housing and the NSW Government must do all it can to minimise costs.”

    To participate in Atelier Black + Red’s survey, please click HERE.

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