Projects per year
Globally, the rapid construction of apartments has ignited concerns about the quality and amenity of new housing, and the impact of poor design on residents. In Australia, different planning policies/guidelines for apartment development apply across states, however there has been no assessment of how these policies address health. We audited apartment design guidance for their inclusion of provisions that impact on health and wellbeing. Policies/guidelines (n = 10) were reviewed, including both current and proposed/superseded documents in states undergoing policy change to track policy progression. Requirements were extracted relating to health-promoting themes identified in the literature (e.g., daylight, ventilation, acoustic privacy, space). Each policy/guideline was scored based on the percentage of health-promoting design criteria addressed. Scores for current policies ranged from 83% (New South Wales) to 20% (Queensland and South Australia). Scores in states undergoing policy change increased, indicating a greater focus on health (e.g., 11% to 75% in Western Australia). Where minimum space standards were stipulated, there was a lack of agreement about where the standard should be set. Several states had policies that, if fully implemented, could promote residents' health. However, post-implementation evaluation is required to assess whether guidelines are applied as intended and provide evidence to inform minimum standards.