It's sort of good that several government agencies in Perth are exploring frameworks to deliver housing in more affordable ways. The City of Fremantle has invited expressions of interest for a site at 7 Quarry Street, which council owns and which it hopes will be inspired by the German Baugruppen model of co-operative housing that is so popular in Berlin.
And the WA government's LandCorp is partnering with the University of WA to explore co-housing solutions for White Gum Valley, also in East Freo, where SpaceAgency architects has already built the very successful Knutsford Medium Density housing (which was an idea with a long gestation: it's roots lie in the firm's About Face competition entry from 2010).
But on the flip side, a group of architects in Melbourne - under the banner of Nightingale (which was founded by visionary architect Jeremy McLeod of Breathe, with support from Six Degrees, Austin Maynard and Clare Cousins Architects) - has devised an open-source financial and design model that fulfils the brief of the WA agencies.
Here's some info from the Nightingale website:
"We catalyse industry change through creating demonstrative projects that are fairly and transparently priced, designed for people, community and the environment. We want to redefine the meaning and quality of city life by establishing a development model that is easily replicated and benefits the communities in which they are located.
We use a deliberative development model where the purchasers (the future residents) have agency in decision-making. For too long our cities have developed based on financial interest rather than human well-being."
So far there are four Nightingale projects in various stages of development in Melbourne. The movement started with the award-winning The Commons, completed in 2013, and subsequent projects are underway in Brunswick, Fairfield and a yet-to-be confirmed site. There are more projects on the drawing board in NSW.
In fact, there are more than 15 projects currently in development under the licensed Nightingale Model, and there is no major impediment to its adoption in all Australian states. So why is the development / design / construction community in Perth trying to reinvent the wheel?
Can't some Western Australian architects just ring Jeremy McLeod, obtain a license for Nightingale, and get on with the job of producing affordable and sustainable homes?
Here's the details, if you'd like to get involved:
Nightingale is at http://nightingalehousing.org
City of Fremantle's EOI closes 7 December. See http://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/7quarrystreet
LandCorp and UWA will hold an information evening on Monday 12 December 2016. Click here to register your attendance: http://baugruppen.com.au/index.html.