Affordable Housing Solution Australia Study paper by John Sparks


After talking with many people and homeless groups we formulated a simple brief which went straight to the core of the issue of affordable housing.

All people wanted was a place that was warm, dry and private for a rent they could afford.

The simple answer to this is the basics of our brief which is to find a 100 acre (40.5 Ha) block of land, build 300 small, prefabricated modular houses on it and rent them for $200 a week.

This is the proposal we then established as the basis for this study and the purpose is to outline a method that could then be used as a standard template for the many variables in the application of these principles.

The lot could be bigger or smaller than 100 acres, the number of houses could be more or less and the rent could be more or less and the rent would vary with the accommodation provided.


Based on an ideal lot with few environmental constraints, the following master plan concept shows how simple it is to fulfil our brief. The 100 acre lot was selected because this is a standard rural subdivision and there are many lots available at this size.

The 300 houses represent a density of 3 houses per acre (7.2 houses per Ha) which is half the normal low density of 6 houses per acre in many existing residential areas with 600 m² lots.

The individual building lot size in this concept master plan is 300 m² (30m by 10m) which again reflects half of the old 600 m² lot size.

The rent of $200 a week would be for a studio house to provide a basic shelter for a single occupant or married couple. This is affordable, even for people on a pension, part-time income or Centrelink payments and is a reasonable proportion of their income.

Residents could also offset additional ongoing maintenance costs by giving 6 hours per week of their time to reduce site expenses. Alternatively they could pay an additional $100 per week to cover these expenses.

To satisfy the many accommodation needs, a range of houses would be needed and it is envisaged that 4 standard house plans would be designed to meet these needs. Specifically the plans outline a studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom layouts which would then be rented for $200, $220, $240 and $260 per week respectively.

The standard plans would then be varied or reversed on each particular lot depending on orientation and access.

The house lots in the overall plan have been designed in 10 groups of approximately 30 houses because this is considered an ideal social grouping with the 4 house plan types available in each cluster to ensure diversity.

There is a central common open space within each cluster for social interaction, a safe play area and each lot also has access to the general site open space.

The Master Plan is self-sufficient in energy, water, waste and food and is zero carbon with the carbon footprint largely contained within the site boundaries.

The community of 300 houses would accommodate approximately 500 people with no restrictions on age, socio-economic status, race, creed or employment who would generate a demand for the community facilities provided on site.

Community facilities include open space play areas, forest discovery trails, walking and cycle trails, a food hub, craft hub, community meeting centre, shop, café, child care centre and administration facilities.

These are all outlined in the following schedule;



75 x studio units @ 50 m² 3,750 m²
75 x 1 bed units @ 60 m² 4,500 m²
75 x 2 bed units @ 75 m² 5,625 m²
75 x 3 bed units @ 90 m² 6,750 m²
6 respite units @ 75 m²     450 m²
Total residential floor area

(not including garages)

21,075 m²
Affordable Housing Solution Masterplan


Community Centre

Child Care Centre




Discovery Centre

Craft Village

Food Hub

Waste Processing

Sewer Treatment


Total site facilities

  500 m²

300 m²

200 m²

300 m²

300 m²

300 m²

500 m²

575 m²

500 m²

500 m²

3,975 m²


Total building coverage                             25,050 m² (2.51 Ha)

Site area                                                        40.5 Ha (405,000 m²)

Floor space ratio                                         .062:1


Total site 100 acres                                     405,000 m² (40.5 Ha)

306 unit lots @ 300 m²                                91,800 m² (9.18 Ha)

Total building coverage                             25,050 m² (2.51 Ha)


Common open space                                              28.81 Ha                     71.7%

Private open space                                      6.85 Ha                     16.9%

Total open space                                            35.66 Ha                     88.0%


Affordable Housing Solution
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