While the environmental and economic pillars of holistic sustainability have long been understood and explored, the social pillar is finally gaining recognition, resulting in great benefits to the built environment.
The newly certified Common Ground Sydney development, which has just achieved a 5 Star Green Star Multi –Unit Residential v1 rating from by the Green Building Council of Australia, serves as a prime example of a project that places a priority on social sustainability.
The project is the first of its kind to be certified in New South Wales.
Described by designing architectural firm HASSELL as adopting a ‘street to home’ approach, the high quality permanent social housing development takes its foundations from a model developed in New York. Common Ground offers a high standard of living for the homeless, providing them with housing units that meet far higher standards than stereotypical social housing.
Built by developers Grocon on a pro-bono basis, the $1.4 million NSW housing project not only satisfies the basic need for shelter, it also offers a positive lifestyle for those who reside in the 104 units, with on-site support staff, security and many other services provided.
In terms of the building’s environmental elements, natural ventilation offers to passively increase the interior airflow, thus lifting Interior Air Quality (IAQ) and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) while taking pressure of energy reliant systems.
Further reducing the site’s reliance on on-grid energy, solar thermal panels provide 50 per cent of the units’ hot water needs. On site community worm farms, composting facilities and food-growing planters help to promote a community-based sustainable lifestyle while offering sustainable food options.
The development has been strategically located close to public transport and this does not include car parking facilities for residents.
Long have the links between social housing stigma and social issues been known.
Common Ground removes that stigma for residents, and in offering a low-energy type of living that promotes community-based support, proves that living can become more affordable, while also being more enjoyable.
The development serves as a true example of social sustainability at its finest.