Defining Cultural Sustainability in Multicultural Built Environments

By David Beynon.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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

The Australian built environment is an arena where multicultural identity and difference are tangibly negotiated. What occurs on a daily basis in its cities is a complex series of negotiations between multiple communities, all of whom adapt their own cultures, as well as adopting elements from their surrounding environment. This paper investigates these issues by comparing the physical development within a contemporary Australian city with the social and cultural changes that have taken place in it. It asks the question. Whose culture should be sustained in this context, and on what basis? To what extent should the urban environment be reflecting of the changes, as much as the origins, of a relatively young settler society (notwithstanding the fact that its original inhabitants have a history that predates this settlement by thousands of years). More broadly, what constitutes cultural sustainability in a multicultural society, and how is, might, or should this be reflected in its built environment?

Keywords: Cultural Sustainability, Built Environment, Multiculturalism

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.255-266. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.982MB).

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 writing includes ‘Architecture Ex-Patriota’ in the journal Interstices (2008) and ‘Melbourne’s ‘Third World-Looking’ Architecture’ in the book suburban Fantasies: Melbourne Unmasked, (2005). He has also recently completed in an ARC Discovery Project ‘The Influence of Indian Antecedents on the Geometry of Southeast Asian Temples’ and is currently involved in 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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