Architecture, Multiculturalism and Cultural Sustainability in Australian Cities

By David Beynon.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The way that the built environment represents and accommodates people of different cultures is an important facet of developing a holistically sustainable future. Architecture intervenes, maps and signifies and in doing so it constructs identities. It helps to shape how we know the world by mediating power, social relations and cultural values. Events such as the settlement, inhabitation and establishment of diasporic communities involve the occupation of space. Architecture provides the armature of this space, its form and its image. Building is a potent means by which identity can be formed. A most significant part of people’s well-being and capacity is their participation in literally building communities. This paper will illustrate this issue through discussion of contemporary Australian cities. The buildings of a wide variety of immigrants to Australia have since the 1950s contributed greatly to the changing nature of its cities. They are the physical manifestation of the great demographic changes that have occurred across the nation during this period. The combination of people of different backgrounds and cultures lends a unique quality to Australian built environments, and this needs not only be understood but celebrated, as they are contributing to the development of Australian urban culture. Increased knowledge and understanding of the impact of immigration and multiculturalism on our built environment will add substantially to understanding of the diversity of Australia’s cultural heritage, and the potential of future planners, architects, and members of the general public to create inclusive and dynamic Australian cities.

Keywords: Architecture, Built Environment, Migration, Multiculturalism, Urban Culture, Cultural Heritage

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.45-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.960MB).

Dr. David Beynon

Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Building, Faculty of Science and Technology, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Dr. David Beynon’s current research involves investigating architecture as a social and cultural practice, particularly in the context of Australia’s engagement with Asia and the architectural implications of migration and hybridity. His recent writing on these subjects includes ‘Melbourne’s ‘Third World-Looking’ Architecture’ in the book suburban Fantasies: Melbourne Unmasked, (2005).He is also currently engaged in an ARC Discovery Project ‘The Influence of Indian Antecedents on the Geometry of Southeast Asian Temples’ and the ARC Linkage Project ‘Strategic Assessment of Building Reuse Opportunities’. Dr. Beynon lectures in the areas of Architectural Design, Architectural Practice and Asian Architecture. He is also a registered architect. He received his B.Arch (Honours) from University of Melbourne in 1990, and has practised in Melbourne, Brisbane and Singapore. He maintains a link to practice through AlsoCAN Architecture and Interactive Design, which investigates the design of insertions, adaptations and urban interventions, including shopfront-grafted home-offices, East-West hybrid courtyard buildings, and mobile office-dwellings.


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