Achieve Australia is currently receiving Commonwealth funding for a large-scale research project titled Beyond the Group Home.

This project is being led by Dr Phillippa Carnemolla – an industrial designer and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney.

Dr Carnemolla is evaluating the physical and operational differences between the Crowle Estate apartments and group homes (the predominant housing model for people living with high support needs in Australia) where four residents and live together with support staff around the clock.

Specifically, she is reviewing how independent living impacts the wellbeing and social interactions of people receiving support, the model’s effect on staff practices, and if the Crowle Estate apartments represent a sustainable and scalable solution.

“One of the really interesting questions that my research will hopefully unpack is how apartment living impacts people’s social participation, sense of place, and ownership of place,” said Dr Carnemolla.

Crowle Estate was completed and the first Achieve Australia apartments were occupied in December 2016. Prior to their move, Dr Carnemolla interviewed key stakeholders including people with disability, families and staff to build an understanding of the benefits and challenges of group home living. This research will serve as a comparison point for her findings at Crowle Estate as she continues her work through 2018.

Achieve is proud to have built a strong research partnership with Dr Phillippa Carnemolla. She has a long-held fascination with the role of good design in enabling people with disabilities to participate in their local communities.

Her PhD, which she completed in 2016, showed that even simple design modifications could significantly impact the health-related quality of life for people receiving care.

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