High-rise living in the middle-class suburb: a geography of tactics and strategies
AuthorDorignon, Louise Berenice
AffiliationResource Management and Geography
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
Completed under a Cotutelle arrangement between the University of Melbourne and President of Universite Lumiere Lyon
© 2019 Louise Berenice Dorignon
Within new configurations of the ‘Great Australian Dream’, high-rise living in Australian cities has become not only an acceptable housing configuration for the middle classes but also a desirable one. Enquiring deeply into the tactics and strategies that building inhabitants use to live vertically in the city, this thesis explores the ways in which the design, inhabitation, and maintenance of middle-class high-rise developments are negotiated in Melbourne inner-suburbs. It explores dwellers’ agency in the negotiation of design choices and co-production of high-rise spaces, using mixed qualitative methods combining walking tours and semi-directed interviews. Drawing on the new geography of architecture and on a relational approach to housing and home, the research engages with a theory of practice acknowledging tactical and strategic actions in the city. It argues that dwellers reshape the socio-material configurations and spatial relations of apartment living set by designers, developers and housing technologists. Explicitly recognising of the role of social class in high-rise living, the research suggests that apartment developments are highly contested sites where intended lifestyles and aspirations are negotiated by varied institutions and actors, through a distinctive set of temporal and spatial actions. It finds that competing actors all work towards the co-production of high-rise living spaces and cultures. However, the thesis also shows that housing relations in the practice of middle-class apartment living outline an uneven and changing distribution of power between those who develop strategies and those who craft tactics. More broadly, this research opens up a deeper understanding of how this new kind of vertical city reflects and transforms configurations of status, power and identity in the Australian suburb.
KeywordsMelbourne; high-rise living; middle-class; tactics; strategies; housing; power; co-production; social geography; cultural geography; urban geography; suburb
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