Like many other countries, Australia is grappling with the issues around the future of large public housing estates. This paper explores questions about physical image construction in six estates undergoing regeneration. Whilst improved housing amenity and image of the areas are crucial components of estate regeneration, it is argued that these aspects will not automatically benefit existing socio-economically disadvantaged residents. In the current political context, three key questions are raised: (1) In whose images the estates are being recreated, housing authorities, private property developers or residents?; (2) Whether the physical images are being imposed or democratised and used for the purposes of community development?; and (3) What the overall consequences and housing policy implications are likely to be? It is argued that the entry of market capital and the buying and selling of place through physical image reconstruction, to attract more affluent residents to the estates, is likely to add to rather than ameliorate the inequality of current public housing residents.
Vol. 16, no. 6 (November 2001), p. 807-826