Sustaining housing through planned maintenance in remote Central Australia

Liam Grealy, Tess Lea, Megan Moskos, Richard Benedict, Daphne Habibis, Stephanie King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Once housing is constructed, its sustainability depends on the efficacy of property maintenance. In remote Indigenous communities in Australia, responsive or reactive approaches to property maintenance dominate over planned and preventive attention, leaving housing in various states of disrepair. By documenting an approach that is succeeding in this wider context, this article shows the commonplace situation of poorly maintained social housing is entirely interruptible. It does so by examining an alternative and exceptional approach taken on the remote Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia, where housing benefits from a planned maintenance program combined with an environmental health program. Through detailed empirical analysis of program datasets, interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork, this article describes the expert, systematic, and attentive work required to sustain functional housing in the wider context of undersupply, crowding, and challenging environmental conditions. We argue for the necessity of planned maintenance approaches as an essential component of sustainable housing, both to extend the life of housing assets and to ensure householder health and wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789–811
Number of pages23
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number3
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research draws from the project, ‘Modelling Sustainable Regional and Remote Indigenous Housing and Maintenance’, which was funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).


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