Culture

Coastal homemaking: Navigating housing ideals, home realities, and more-than-human processes

As urban populations expand, high natural amenity locales—forests, bushland, and coasts—are being transformed into highly desired, lucrative locations for new housing. This paper examines what it means to live in such an environment, tallying between the realised dream of that lifestyle and the everyday challenges (financial and labour) of navigating the elements at home. To do so, we bring two conceptual approaches into conversation: cultural geographies of home and homemaking, recognising home as a more-than-human process; and architecturally inflected geographies of buildings, attendant to building materials and socio-technical practices of maintenance and repair. Drawing on semi-structured walking interviews with 24 residents of a new coastal housing development in southern Sydney, Australia, the paper examines how coastal conditions and elements accelerate material decay, inciting and directing everyday homemaking practices: both proactive, in material selection, and reactive, in cleaning, repairing, maintaining, and replacing. We conclude by considering the differing economic rationalities of navigating the elements, and subsequent implications for household sustainability.

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Volume 37 Issue 1