Adaptive Reuse : Accommodating Canberra's Working and Ageing Poor

A new report into housing affordability has called for urgent action to develop and subsidise smaller housing stock in Canberra. The Safe and Well green paper revealed an estimated 20,000 Canberra households were experiencing housing stress, with rent consuming up to 70 per cent of incomes. Other contributors to the green paper see opportunity in some of Canberra's more than 100,000 square metres of empty office space. AMC architecture founding director Alastair MacCallum said Canberra's city centre was dying. Mr MacCallum said demolition of old buildings could be cost prohibitive and called for the ACT Government to partner with creative developers to transform vacant town centre offices into affordable housing. He said the units could be perfect rentals or purchases for low income earners or cash-strapped retirees.