Developing Resilient Housing for Low Socio-Economic Older People

An older man standing in his kitchen pouring hot water from a kettle

As people age, they face increased vulnerability to a range of physical and health related issues. This can be exacerbated by extreme weather events and other critical situations such as the recent worldwide pandemic.

Vulnerability increases when the indoor environmental quality of housing is not conducive to support wellbeing and when people have limited disposable income to improve their living environment. This research aims to advance the current knowledge about housing design and indoor environment to improve the wellbeing of older people, including those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Participate in the research

  • About the project

    Funded by the Australian Research Council (DP220103213), we are undertaking a multidisciplinary study, involving the School of Architecture and Built Environment, The School of Public Health, and the Adelaide Medical School, to advance the current knowledge about housing design and indoor environment to improve the wellbeing of older people, including those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

    We are looking at the ways older people keep warm in cold weather, cool in hot weather, and aspects of house design and technology that can make the homes more resilient to extreme weather, in order to develop affordable improvement strategies.

    The study is a continuation of a recently completed project which produced the Thermal Comfort at Home: A guide for older South Australians, which was able to capture the living environments of a portion of the older population in South Australia. Our research team is now seeking people who are 65 years or older and live in the council areas of Charles Sturt, Playford, Salisbury, Port Adelaide Enfield and Murray Bridge to participate in the research.

    Through a series of focus groups and house monitoring surveys, we aim to gather information about the indoor living environments and relationships with health and wellbeing of older occupants, household energy use and operational costs.

  • Meet our team

    Professor Veronica Soebarto - lead investigator

    Professor Soebarto has conducted environmental monitoring studies and thermal comfort research in buildings in the past 20 years. She has published her work in numerous journal articles and book chapters. She has led several research projects which involved fieldwork, survey questionnaire, and interviews. She has supervised more than 30 research students, many of which involved interviews with householders and environmental monitoring of their dwellings.

    Adjunct Professor Dino Pisaniello

    Adjunct Professor Pisaniello is an experienced researcher and has conducted research projects relating to occupational and environmental health. He has published numerous papers on a wide range of topics including climate change impacts on older people, thermal adaptation, and indoor air quality, which are relevant to this research. He has supervised more than 30 PhD students, one of which involved monitoring of the indoor quality of houses and was co-supervised by Prof Williamson.

    Adjunct Professor Terence Williamson

    Adjunct Professor Williamson, BE, BArch, PhD has been conducting research in the field of building thermal performance at the University of Adelaide since 1980. Much of this research has involved the physical monitoring of building performance and investigating occupant/user perceptions and expectations through focus groups, interviews, and surveys. He has supervised/co-supervised around 30 PhD students to completion.

    Professor Renuka Visvanathan

    Professor Visvanathan has an international reputation in the research area of nutritional frailty. She is especially interested in the provision of quality health care to prevent the impact of frailty (e.g. falls and fracture) as well as improve the wellbeing, function, and quality of life of frail, older people and consumers with dementia. She has conducted as well as supervised numerous research projects relating to frailty. Professor Visvanathan has been Clinical Director of the Aged & Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (& Basil Hetzel Institute), Central Adelaide Local Health Network since 2005.

    Dr Larissa Arakawa Martins

    Dr Arakawa Martins is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and holds a Double Degree in Architecture/Urban Planning and Civil Engineering, and a PhD in Architectural Sciences from The University of Adelaide. She has experience in thermal comfort modelling, BIM (Building Information Modelling), machine learning and data analysis, and architectural and engineering sciences teaching and research. 

  • Get involved

    We are currently seeking participants for this study.

    Participant information


    For further information about the project, please contact:

    Professor Veronica Soebarto

    If you would like to participate in this research, please contact:

    Dr Larissa Arakawa Martins
    Phone: 0406 574 404

Our supporters

This research is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (project DP220103213).