1st Edition

Bluefield Housing as Alternative Infill for the Suburbs

By Damian Madigan Copyright 2024
    334 Pages 165 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    334 Pages 165 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Suburbanised cities share a common dilemma: how to transition to more densely populated and socially connected urban systems while retaining low-rise character, avoiding gentrification, and opening neighbourhoods to more diverse housing choices. Bluefield Housing offers a new land definition and co-located infill model addressing these concerns, through describing and deploying the types of ad-hoc modifications that have been undertaken in the suburbs for decades. Extending green-, brown-, and greyfield definitions, it provides a necessary middle ground between the ‘do nothing’ attitude of suburban preservation and the ‘do everything’ approach of knock-down-rebuild regeneration.

    An adjunct to ‘missing middle’ and subdivision densification models, with a focus on co-locating homes on small lots, Bluefield Housing presents a unified design approach to suburban infill: retrofitting original houses, retaining and enhancing landscape and urban tree canopies, and delivering additional homes as low-rise additions and backyard homes suited to the increasingly complex make-up of our households.

    Extensively illustrated by the author with engaging architectural design studies, Damian Madigan describes how existing quirks of suburban housing can prompt new forms of infill, explains why a new suburban densification model is not only necessary but can be made desirable for varied stakeholders, and charts a path towards the types of statutory and market triggers required to make bluefield housing achievable. Using Australian housing as an example but addressing universal concerns around neighbourhood character, demographic needs, housing diversity, dwelling flexibility, and landscape amenity, Bluefield Housing offers innovative suburban infill ideas for policy makers, planners, architects, researchers and students of housing and design studies, and for those with a stake in the future of the suburbs.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.

    Part 1  1. Being ‘Suburban’  2. An Appetite for New Forms of Suburban Living  3. On Character and ‘Fitting In’  4. Suburban Anomalies and Operations: catalogues of infill opportunities  Part 2  5. From Green to Blue: a new definition for suburban infill  6. The Seven Principles of Bluefield Housing  7. Lot-level Design Tactics  8. Design for Liveability and Sustainability  Part 3  9. From Top-down to Bottom-up: a deployable model  10. Single Allotments  11. Double Allotments  12. Multiple Allotments  Part 4  13. A New Normal: leveraging established conditions  14. Carrots and Sticks: incentivising bluefield housing  15. Financing, Operating, and Selling Bluefield Housing  16. Zoning Laws: enabling bluefield housing  Part 5  17. The Value of the Diagram and Studies in Rooms  18. Backgrounding Design Studies: a ‘designerly’ way of seeing  19. Generative Design Studies for Bluefield Housing  20. Housing for Whom? – Lessons from the Town Hall Floor



    Damian Madigan is a registered architect and Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of South Australia. A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and a member of the South Australian State Government’s Design Review Panel, he undertakes housing research through design, working collaboratively with academics, industry, and government to create suburban infill housing typologies that better suit changing demographics. As an individual and collaborator, his housing propositions have won design competition awards, shortlistings, and commendations from the City of Los Angeles, the New South Wales State Government, the City of Sydney, Architecture Australia, and the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation.

    "At a time where so much of the world is experiencing housing crises, Madigan provides a vision and guide for a much needed departure from Australia’s broken ‘business as usual’ for how we deliver housing. An essential read for architects, planners and developers alike, and anyone who thinks ‘housing’ could do better in supporting a future where we all thrive."

    Brugh O'Brien, Principal: Future of Home, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation

    “This book is both a grand vision for a future of housing and practical guide for how to achieve it. There are maps of global potential for transforming single family neighborhoods alongside ideas for how to manage suburban infill essentials such as laundry and garbage. It is an invaluable combination of speculative pragmatism and prosaic invention with tangible relevance for the suburbs of the United States and Canada – a key reference for researchers and practitioners alike.”

    Michael Piper, University of Toronto

    "More affordable, more diverse and more delightful housing? Seems like everybody is after it and we need it more than ever, but the inertia of established systems discourages change. This book takes a suite of practical and highly effective design ideas and runs them through a rigorous process addressing financial opportunities, regulations and community attitudes; showing how to move towards ‘win-win' scenarios that deliver more dwellings and retain the character of the cities and suburbs we love. A timely and valuable contribution to the housing debate."

    Nigel Bertram, Professor of Architecture, Monash University and Director, NMBW Architecture Studio

    “Bluefield Housing reminds us that our suburbs are not immutable, but ever-changing and malleable. It shows us why they can - and should be - altered and added to. This is design research at its best - useful, transferable, propositional – advocating a compelling alternative to planning metrics. Madigan’s incisive work ranges from acute observation and analysis to lucid propositions showing the latent capacity of suburban form to accommodate more – more trees, open space, connections, diversity, people: more good stuff.”

    Jennie Officer, Senior Lecturer, School of Design, University of Western Australia, and Director, Officer Woods Architects

    “In the face of dynamic global demographics we urgently need imaginative, land-efficient, habitat-protective, cost-effective housing solutions. Damian’s concept of "Bluefield Housing” is an exciting proposition and, in truth, common sense."

    Naomi Cleaver, designer, author and TV presenter