Abstract: The history of housing in Australia is a textbook example of socio-spatial exclusion as described, defined and analysed by commentators from Mumford to Lefebvre. It has been exacerbated by a culture of home ownership that has led to an affordability crisis. An examination of the history reveals that the problems are structural and must be approached not as a practical solution to the public provision of housing, but as a reshaping of lives, a reconnection to community, and as an ethical and equitable “right to the city”. This “Right to the City” has underpinned the Common Ground approach, emerging in a range of cities and adopted in South Brisbane, Queensland Australia. This paper examines the Common Ground approach and the impacts on its residents and in the community with a view to exploring further developments in this direction. A clear understanding of these lessons underpins, and should inform, a new approach to reconnecting the displaced and to developing solutions that not only enhance their lives but also the community at large.
Keywords: Australian housing; Common Ground; Great Australian Dream; public housing; social exclusion; socio-spatial divisions; urban disadvantage; urban marginalisation