Where are you based?Sydney
Bachelor of Science Architecture (1974) University of Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Architecture (1997 Hons Class 1) University of Sydney, Australia
Registered Architect, NSW Australia 4878 and Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects
Director of Healthabitat Pty Ltd
Principal of Paul Pholeros Architects since 1984
Paul Harris Fellow (awarded to a non-Rotarian)
Adjunct Professor of Architecture, University of Sydney, Australia
Vice Chair Emergency Architects Australia, Board Member Emergency Architects Australia
One of four members appointed by the Prime Minister to the National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing 2009, resigned after 18 months.
What do you bring to the HH work?
Architectural practice skills developed since 1976 and experience in Indigenous housing, health and environmental health work with the other two founding directors of Healthabitat since 1985. This work has involved exposure to, and learning from, a very large and talented team of people working nationally and internationally.
Years involved with Housing for Health work (including R&D work)?28 years
What have you learned from being involved in the work?
Change comes slowly.
The work must be built around people -those doing the work and those who we are working with.
Technical skill and raising the technical standards of all aspects of the work is important.
Good housing/ health policy ultimately comes from good work proven in the field not from government. Governments may occasionally adopt the policy direction well after it has been proven.
Local community people have the greatest interest in the principles and detail of the work as they have the greatest to gain by the work being successful.
Complex problems linking health and the living environment require multi disciplinary teams of people to provide the best solutions ….HH has assembled such a team of people
Myths are hard to dispel …despite hard data eg of over 265,000 items of work fixed, showing less than 8% of all work fixed by HH is due to damage, overuse or misuse - the myth of the 'people damaging houses' remains.
The lessons learnt developing the Australian work and many of the Healthy Living Practices are proving to be equally relevant in developing countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, South Africa and the USA. The problems are universally similar and the crafting of relevant solutions becomes the work of the local communities, skilled trades and professionals.
In an ideal world what directions, ideas, results would you like to see HH and the Housing for Health work become or achieve?
Ideally, within 5 years of the political will being activated, the day to day work of HH fixing houses would not be needed. This is not false optimism as it has been proven by over twenty five years of work to be financially, socially and technically possible. Given the resources of Australia and the proven Housing for Health methodology, it is a national disgrace that any citizens have to live in such poor conditions.
HH could then devote effort to radically improving the living environment not just making it safe and adequate.
The skills developed in Australia could then be used even more extensively overseas where at least 70% of the world's population would benefit from the introduction of some of the Housing for Health principles.