-Elevated Architecture Resonates Through Holistic Environmental Design (EARTHED) PART 2 Reset

1.2 Socio- economic sustainability

The design journey continues on from ‘rungs’ of PART 1 –Green circular economy (See Sourceable Article 1) and in a continuum with PART 3 Holistic environmental design (See future Sourceable Article 3).

Post Covid -19 cultural change could be reset, as we can’t continue to produce as ‘I’s if we don’t have the ’We’s, i.e. the income earners, as customers, and don’t have a stable/secure environment, as the result of climate change. Both these aspects will reset our architectural response, post pandemic, to rebalance the social and economic sustainability realms i.e. the Real Economy.

Moving along our journey, from the Rung of ‘Green circular economy’ we can envisage how the architecture can now respond and be informed by the local social, economic and community realm..

It is critical that the architecture derives from harmonising the benefits of the ‘market’ and ‘state’ driven forces. For example, the ‘market’ of building material and component items should provide a choice of a recycled component within the main building materials to be consumed e.g. steel and concrete. The ‘energy’ component could be provided, at the outset, as an operational cost (OPEX), not as a capital cost (CPEX). Such a third party provided energy system can be installed, operated, maintained and billed  as part of the initial set up.

‘Constructing’ the architecture will involve the innovation of both on -site and off-site construction techniques.

Our architectural response, after ’listening’ to the project’s ‘founding’ (basic needs) and the site (i.e. natural heritage and cultural heritage) is a fulcrum of ‘harmonising’ and balancing ‘constructing’ and ‘communing’ actions.

‘Harmonising’ will be partly informed by reviewing both ‘waste’ and ‘energy’ in the selection of building materials and the ongoing operation of the building.

‘Constructing’ will be reviewed by how efficiently it is constructed, e.g. maximising through ‘innovation’ how the labour and material resources can be best be sustainably employed.

‘Communing’ is equally important in reviewing  what the benefit of the building facility is to the local  ‘community’  (i.e. cost analysis benefit)  from client,  building  users and  the general public perspectives. In other words, in ‘collaboration’ with all the stakeholders.

The objective is to balance construction and community expectations within a ‘harmonised’ solution.

 ‘Centralia’ project example

‘Constructing’ the sport development centre at Alice Springs will utilise the benefits of both off-site and on-site construction techniques. The Stadium will be a staged construction process, utilising a scaffolding type bleacher system, which can be easily extended and the existing parts disassembled and reassembled in Stage 2.  The sports accommodation, could also be staged, using the Wikihouse.cc  Blackbird 2 system, consisting of  CNC cut parts supplied and  assembled on site, with some assembly achieved by indigenous community ‘barn raisings’ to save labour cost and train indigenous people in this disruptive new construction method, a skill they can take back to ‘Country’.

Community benefit-The Redtails FC

The Redtails FC’s aim to create a Football Club incorporating the Right Tracks Program to drive change in the community of Central Australia.

“It’s main aim apart from participating in the NTFL competition in Darwin, is to create a team that gives strong healthy pathways in behaviour, job readiness programs, healthy living and bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Central Australians creating unity and pride throughout Central Australia and beyond.”

This team allows it’s players to participate only if they are employed, studying or in the Right Tracks Program.

The Cost Benefit Analysis (Urbis-2016) report summary:-

The net benefits of the proposed (Sports Development) precinct are $19million in gross value added (GVA)  present value terms and with a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of 1.6.

Other benefits include:-

29 permanent jobs and temporary employment on game days plus 7 additional permanent indirect jobs

The expanded program will support 2000 participants across NT.

Social benefits include:-

  • increase in education attainment and long term,  the increased earnings associated with higher  education
  • reduced interaction with the justice system including reduced rates of recidivism
  • Health benefits, such as improved diet and reduced alcohol and drug consumption.


For the socio economic benefits of any project to be realised, it will require a collaborative approach, not only in the design and construction phase, but also in the Centre’s operation, from all of the stakeholders.  In the case of the Alice Spring’s project, the operation of the facility will require the input and interaction with the local economy by way of food supply, catering ‘local food’, laundry/ cleaning and local flora provenance landscaping propagation, planting and maintenance. The success of the building construction phase will depend on the innovation of the best of on-site and off-site construction methods and harmonising these within community expectations.  As this design journey continues it will be continually informed by the ‘rungs’ of PART 1-Green circular economy and PART 3 -Holistic environmental design (See PART2 1 and 3 respectively).