Housing Challenges and Innovations for the South West of Australia

In the next three weeks, I’ll be speaking at two conferences in the South West region of Australia – just “down the road” from where I live in Perth.

One of these is the Critical Horizons conference, which this year has a focus on housing the South West in the future.

In the next 20 years, the South West region of Australia will attract international interest – not just as a place to visit, but a place to live. I wonder whether the people of the South West realise just how attractive their region will be!

For a long time, we have been separated by the tyranny of distance. But now we’re reaching the end of distance, and it will transform the region. Driverless cars will make travel easier and safer, drones will deliver products 24/7, 3D printing will simplify supply chain management and reduce costs, virtual reality will bring the world to our homes, telecommuting and freelancing will give us flexible work options, and the sharing economy will reduce ownership and cut expenses.

That doesn’t even take into account regional infrastructure projects, such as the upgrade to Busselton airport (and the effect on international tourists and domestic business travel, for example), the upgrade to Bunbury Port, a high-speed rail link from Perth to the region, and improved road facilities.

The population will boom – and the demographics will change

As a result, the South West region will grow dramatically, with a population booming from about 160,000 now to 500,000 by 2050. The mix of the population will change as well:

  • The ageing population means we will have more seniors retiring to the region
  • Singles and young couples who can work independently or as telecommuters will move to the region as a lifestyle choice
  • The creative industries (already worth $350 million) will continue to grow
  • And, of course, there will be more people working in hospitality, travel and tourism

This creates challenges and opportunities for housing

This obviously creates a huge demand for more housing in the region – and not just more of the same, but innovative options to meet the challenges and take advantage of new technology.

Here are just a few examples …

Creating housing fast and to order:

Better energy use aligned with the green, environmentally friendly philosophy of the region:

To cater for seniors and the ageing population:

  • Co-housing for seniors, to balance the needs of independence and support
  • Customised seniors housing, to allow active seniors to live in one home even as their mobility and health decline
  • Smart homes, with a range of interconnected sensors and monitors to improve living conditions and alert authorities of problems

Join me at the conference!

If you have any interest in these areas, join me at the Critical Horizons conference in Bunbury on Friday 1st April.

Housing the South West in the 21st Century

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