Healthabitat link environmental conditions, and in particular the provision of adequate housing, to general health and well-being. Their work has especially addressed these issues in the context of the Aboriginal people of Australia whose living environment and health standards have been woefully inadequate in relation to white Australians. Established in 1985 by architect, Paul Pholeros, anthropologist, Stephen Rainbow and physician, Paul Torzillo, what began as a modest report on these issues for an Aboriginal controlled health service in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands, is now a national programme. The initial report's aim was to find out why sickness levels in the area were so high, even with sufficient healthcare, and found correlations with the state of the housing provision.
Healthabitat's projects mostly deal with the day-to-day maintenance and improvement of housing, including the provision of adequate washing and cooking facilities, sanitation, heating etc. The success of Healthabitat's approach lies in its simplicity and their commitment that for every research phase some action or material transformation should also occur. This pledge is especially important in a context where Aboriginal communities had failed to see any major improvement in their living conditions despite numerous reports, surveys and analyses. Healthhabitat's importance lies in their linking of design to health and well-being, a maybe obvious but often overlooked connection that has implications far beyond the aboriginal context.
Paul Pholeros, 'Fixing Houses for Better Health', Architecture Australia, 2002, http://www.architecturemedia.com/aa/aaissue.php?article=16&issueid=200207&typeon=2 [accessed 4 July 2010].
Paul Pholeros and others, Housing for Health: Towards a healthy living environment for Aboriginal Australia (Newport Beach, NSW: Healthabitat, 1993).
'Indigenous Australians housing money squandered', Radio Australia, 2009, http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/200907/s2635068.htm [accessed 4 July 2010].
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