Affordable innovative housing models support diversity, change and renewal in the EBD community.
The latest ACUR / Melbourne City Council Community Profile reports that EBD residents top the state in all measures of wellbeing. The community also has higher than average education levels, even with our highly diverse demographics. ACUR, our TAFE programs, our schools and our renowned culture of experimentation seems to have made the community one of the smartest in Melbourne. Average wages across the neighbourhood are on par with greater Melbourne, which is a reversal of the trend at the turn of the century, when only high income earners or tourists could afford to live in the city. Housing affordability has been the key to EBD being able to maintain its diverse community.
Since the development began, trials of a number of innovative housing schemes (community ownership / leasing models) have been important in attracting different investment to the area. Most of the housing developed by the Ports Authority has been based on new ownership and leasing models. EBD has many examples of 3 generations of families living together in larger apartments; shared houses for those not yet settled into family life have become common, as have retirement units – smaller spaces that enable seniors to live independently for longer. The district has had a reputation for experimentation in ownership and leasing schemes to assist low income earners and renters to experience a more secure position in the community. The eco-credits system introduced to allow people to be paid for local work and community service in reduced rents and utility bills has been very successful after many years of refinement.
Multiculturalism is now a key characteristic of the EBD community with 50% of residents being able to speak more than one language. This cultural diversity is evident in many of the community activities, for instance in the herb selections in the community gardens and in the intranet recipe archive. EBD has been able to offer temporary and semi permanent housing and assisted work to a number of humanitarian refugees. These refugees arrive in Australia from many neighbouring countries which have been hit hard by the effects of climate change and sea level rise. This program is supported by a dedicated group of community volunteers.
EBD diversity is further reflected in the age-range of our community. Our “Able Seniors” group is reporting their 300th member, which is not bad for an exclusive 70yo+ group. The EBD community services have announced that the mothers’ club has also reached record numbers with new clubs meeting at 6 different locations throughout the neighbourhood. The youth club is continuing its arts festival and the youth theater had just put on its 30th production. The entire cast is under 23 years of age.
Here are some key characteristics from the EBD community wellbeing report. EBD rates highly, well above the state average from the Victorian Government LGA Wellbeing Index.
Many residents feel volunteering also provides good opportunities to socialize with the diverse sectors of the EBD community.
Residents say that their wellbeing is often linked to community participation. Many of the systems on-site are driven by community and voluntary participation. A popular slogan for these community members is “do-it-yourself and do-it for others”. For example, those who work in the community garden have a higher awareness of healthy food, are able to reduce food costs by participating in the as a producer in the EBD Food Depot (see New Food Solutions annex), and maintain fitness through regular gardening activity. Other examples of community participation include the social mothers club, which is a group of mothers who cut down on child-care costs by using a roster to organise child minding, whilst creating a social network for stay-at-home and working mums.