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December 9, 2011 / usydney

2011 APRU Paper by Anir Upadhyay

Does sustainable housing contribute to a better Quality of Life to the residents? A study of the Ecovillage at Currumbin. By Mr Anir Upadhyay et al. 2011

Presented in 2011 at the Association of Pacific Rim  Universities (APRU) Undergraduate Summer Program at Zhejiang University  in China.

ABSTRACT: Sustainability aims to achieve environmental and human well-being together. Quality of life is an approach commonly used to access human well-being. However, QoL metrics do not include environmental features, although QoL and sustainable development share common components to access well-being. Hence including the environmental factors, the QoL approach has been adopted to measure the social needs and sustainability at local level. Environmental QoL (QoLe) examines people –environment congruity. A high level of people-environment congruity most often corresponds to a high QoL. Sustainable communities are aiming for high quality of life by providing physical infrastructures necessary for objective living standards, and also through well-developed relationships with their environment, neighbours, and personal requirement necessary for subjective well-being. For subjective evaluation, an environmental feature is added in a pre-validated Perceived Residential Environmental Quality (PREQ) and neighbourhood attachment questionnaire. The research framework allows understanding and investigating whether sustainable development contributes towards a better QoL of the residents. The subjective and objective evaluations also allow exploring any misfit between objective environmental quality and satisfaction associated with them.

This paper takes a case study of the Ecovillage (an example of sustainable community) at Currumbin near Gold Coast in South East Queensland. Objective analysis of the residential quality illustrates high level of integration between natural and built environment which corroborates with respondents satisfaction of the environmental consideration in planning and design of buildings. However, residents are bothered by high reliance on cars to access basic services such as café, shops, schools which they think is contradictory to the very objectives of sustainable communities.

Keywords: Sustainable housing, Quality of Life (QoL), people-environment congruity