Work, home, and community project


This three year study by the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia researched how Australians are 'putting together' their jobs, homes and communities, and was jointly funded by the Australia Research Council, Lend Lease Communities and the Innovation and Economic Opportunities Group.

The study collected qualitative and quantitative information from adult and teenage residents, workers, business owners and community service providers across ten suburban and urban communities in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. The selected communities included four new master-planned communities, four relatively low income, older established working class communities located adjacent to the planned communities and also, two harbour-side inner city developments.

Research findings

Individuals and families around Australia are struggling to integrate the demands of work with the needs of home and community life. This project sheds light on why this is becoming an increasing problem in suburban Australia by drawing together the views of residents (both adults and teenagers), workers, business owners and community service providers. The findings of this research have implications for employers, educators, businesses, developers, community organisations and urban planners.

The researchers call for a more holistic approach to urban planning that considers the daily activities of residents across the lifespan, and which acknowledges the space, time and power effects of urban design on different groups of people. The quality and location of work and essential services were found to be particularly significant to people's ability to live sustaining lives and to build socially robust communities.

View video of the summary of the main research findings and recommendations (presented by Dr Pip Williams and Professor Pocock). 

Reports from this project:

These four reports are now available for download following the launch of the research at CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) in Adelaide on 2nd December 2009. Speech notes for the launch by the Hon Julia Gillard MP, Deputy Prime Minister are available: unfortunately due to events in Canberra, the Deputy Prime Minister was unable to give the speech in person.

Linked Up Lives: Putting Together Work, Home and Community in Ten Australian Suburbs: Overview Report  (PDF 1.6mb)

Sustainable Lives in Sustainable Communities? Living and Working in Ten Australian Suburbs  (PDF 1.4mb)

Mobility, Mothers and Malls: How Home, Community, School, and Work Affect Opportunity for Teenagers in Suburban Australia  (PDF 0.8 mb)

Work, Home and community: findings from the household survey  (PDF 0.9mb)

Additional information

Dr Pip Williams, Research Fellow, was project manager for the study and Professor Barbara Pocock, Ken Bridge and Dr Jane Edwards have been researchers for the project.

News items

Mobility and malls ABC Radio National, 'Life Matters', 24 May 2010

"New housing estates are mushrooming on the edge of our capital cities. These new suburbs are attractive to families but the tyranny of distance can make it hard to balance work and family life. Dr Phillipa Williams has looked at how these outer suburbs shape the lives of women and teenagers in the Grace Vaughan Memorial lecture at the University of Western Australia."

Philippa Williams, 'Linked Up Lives - Putting Together Work, Home and Community in Australian Suburbs', 2010 Grace Vaughan Memorial lecture 24 May 2010,  Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Western Australia

Teenagers' lives limited by adult constraints Media Release 2 December 2009

Work, Home, Community essential to urban planning Media Release 2 December 2009

ABC Radio National Life Matters Linked up lives 30 November 2009
Guest: Dr Pip Williams Centre for Work + Life

Hard times for easy-living communities The Age 28 November 2009

New communities need good planning The Sydney Morning Herald 28 November 2009

Rich or poor, youth stranded in outer spaces The Age 28 November 2009

How we've forgotten our teens The Advertiser 27 November 2009

Planning for people October/November 2009 edition of UniSANews

What teens want: respect, mobility and a place to go, The Age, 12 July 2008.

Articles, presentations and other reports

Williams, P. Pocock, B. Bridge, K. & Edwards, J.(2009). Sustainable Lives in Sustainable Communities. Living and Working in Suburban Australia. Presented at Privatisation, Security and Community: How Master Planned Estates are Changing Suburban Australia,  Academy of Social Sciences in Australia workshop, 28th - 29th September 2009, University of Queensland.

Williams, P. & Pocock, B. (2009). Building community for different stages of life: physical and social infrastructure in master planned communities. Community, Work & Family: 2009: 1-17 (iFirst article).

Williams, P. Pocock, B. Bridge, K. (2009). Kids lives in adult space and time: How home, community and work affect opportunity for teenagers in suburban Australia. Health Sociology Review. 2009:18: 79-93.

Williams, P. (2009). Mobility, Mothers and Malls: How home, community, adult work and school affect opportunity for teenagers. Community, Work and Family III International Conference 'Making the Connections in a Global Context', 16 - 18 April 2009, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Williams, P. (2008)Kids lives in adult space and time How home, community and work affect opportunity for teenagers in suburban Australia  Presented at the 10th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne 9-11 July 2008.

Supplementary/earlier project reports (may be made available on request to the Centre):

Sustainable Lives in Sustainable Communities: Supplementary report: Qualitative Findings from Eight Australian Suburbs and ,

Fitting it all together: Work, Home and Community in two Australian Master Planned Communities.