Perth architect Meriam Salama tells RAC's breakfast how to reduce family home without leaving


"This is a way to allow people to modify existing houses so that there may be several people in it, not intended as an arrangement of shared houses, it is more about giving people their independent spaces, but also spaces they can share . Salama said.

"The idea is that people could share property ownership through a model of co-ownership, but it is not essential, for example, it could be the case of a single woman living at home who used to be the home of her family. and she wants to keep her property – she can still modify the house and rent parts of it, rather than selling it.

"Through the co-ownership model, it has the opportunity to release part of the equity by selling a portion of the property."

The spaces of coexistence would allow private spaces, as well as some shared areas.

The spaces of coexistence would allow private spaces, as well as some shared areas.Credit:The Henry Project

Salama said co-living had the ability to provide retirees and homeowners the first choice of best housing options, but it also had the potential to have positive impacts on increasing Perth's density.

"It's like a sneaky density approach, you're increasing density, but from a planning perspective, you're keeping the house as a single dwelling," she said.

Speaking at a RAC breakfast in Perth on Monday, strategy and ideas expert Barrie Barton said Australian cities needed to think differently about how to achieve a higher density of life.

"The population is like a hockey stick at the moment, it's moving so incredibly fast and much of our infrastructure in our cities is not fit for purpose, they can not handle that number of people," he said.

"We need to improve a lot with less space, we need to be much more economical.

"The huge towers, are of your time … the new future of high density of life is not high architecture."

Neville and his wife Christine, both in their 60s, live in a joint ownership agreement with a couple of 40 and two children for more than 17 years.

The group shares a five-acre pastime farm.

"Neither of us could pay for the property at the time, but we were able to raise the loans for half the property," Neville said.

"So the girls bought their horse farm. They also got company, particularly in the case of my wife when I was away at work most of the time.

"Christine has an occasional medical condition that means it's comforting for her to have company – something I could not provide when I was working out."

The three generations shared a four-bedroom house on the estate until the younger couple's children reached adolescence.

When that happened, Neville and Christine built a grandma's apartment on the property for additional space and reached an agreement on how to split the cost of construction.

Salama said the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčcohabitation is still relatively new in Perth, but that his company, The Henry Project, has been in discussions with landlords to optimize their residence to co-live.

Heather McNeill is a journalist for Fairfax Media based in Western Australia, passionate about covering breaking news, crimes and courts and Aboriginal affairs.


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