Case Studies

Case Studies

This page provides a selection of case studies showing how real people are making positive changes in suburbia by retrofitting their homes, gardens and habits. 

Each case study reflects the situation, values and aspirations of the residents but all illustrate a range of retrosuburban patterns and strategies across the Built, Biological and Behavioural fields of action. The summary and statistics for each study make comparisons easier for readers without any judgement about right and wrong. Most case studies have a blog or website for further information, and some are accessible through tours or volunteering, but please respect the privacy of our generous contributors.

We plan to keep adding case studies showing the diversity of retrosuburbia to inspire readers of the book and website to create their own. If you have documented your retrosuburban journey, please submit your case study to be considered for publishing here.

 

Please note

  1. Each case study has a self assessed Resilience Sun rating that evaluates the property (but not the people!) using the Retrosuburban Real Estate Checklist.
  2. The energy, water and resource consumption figures in some case studies may be higher than those of average households that outsource more of their consumption while at work, school and play away from home.
pear tree

Eco Resilient Case Study

Our quarter-acre plot, which we call Tree Elbow sits on the edge of town, the Central Lake Reserve and the Wombat State Forest. When we moved here nearly a decade ago the vacant swampy block had only two trees: an oak to the north and a willow to the east....

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Case-Study-Ecoburbia-feature-1500

Ecoburbia Case Study

Just what is it? It’s an alternative infill development, an urban farm, a demonstration sustainable house, an educational opportunity, a community hub and most importantly – a benevolent dictatorship!

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AGHF Feature

A Good Home Forever Case Study

I decided that I would need a one storey house on a north-facing reasonably flat block with space for a small vegie garden, fruit trees, three chooks, and land for the re-establishment of natural bush and corridors for wildlife. I also needed to have low water, energy and nutrient use

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Alistair-Christines-Feature

Alistair and Christine’s Case Study

In December 1998 Alistair Tuffnell bought a rundown workers cottage for $156,000. The cottage/house is extremely well located to all services. Alistair’s partner Christine Baro moved into the house in 2001.

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Eco Thrifty Retrofit - Feature

Eco Thrifty Retrofit Case Study

In June 2010 Dani and Nelson Lebo were looking for a ‘do-up’ property to demonstrate that ‘eco-homes’ aren’t only the domain of the wealthy, and that a sustainable lifestyle can be within reach of almost anyone.

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Abdallah House Case Study

In May 2008 Richard Telford was looking for a cheap property, close to the intentional community where he was living with his partner Kunie and Kai, their 8 month old son, to set up as a demonstration site for urban permaculture living. It was envisaged that the property would become

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Saba and Matt’s Rental Property Case Study

In early 2014, we relocated to Lilydale, Victoria from south-east Queensland to pursue new work opportunities. Our plan was to stay for around three years and use this period of settlement to learn to grow food.

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Under the Choko Tree - Feature2

Under the Choko Tree Case Study

Back in the late ‘70s I packed up my new bride and set off for the wilds of…Western Sydney! Well it was a little bit wild back then. The estate had no shops and no public transport but the housing and the loans were cheap and so we found ourselves...

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Case-Study-Watts-Permaculture-feature-1500

Watts Permaculture Case Study

Goshen & Katrina were looking for a small family home within walking distance to schools, transport and shops. In 2008 they found a renovated, 1950’s brick-veneer home on 1,000m² of land only 3 minutes walk from the high street.

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Sharehouse Case Study

In 2011, Theo Kitchener and Roger Sharp envisioned a permaculture and appropriate technology demonstration sharehouse to show how much could be done in a rental in the suburbs. They wanted somewhere affordable where they could settle in and stay long term, with a large garden, close to a train station.

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Case-Study-Good-Life-feature-1500

Good Life Permaculture Case Study

Our property is the result of a much longed for home. We were living in Melbourne for some years (me working for Cultivating Community and Anton working for the Alternative Technology Assoc.) and

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Teresa-and-Jakes-Feature

Gething Crescent Case Study

In 2000 Teresa and Jake were looking to relocate to Adelaide and they purchased an old bungalow in Bowden. Bowden is an inner city suburb approximately 3km from the GPO with interesting industrial and heritage influences.

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plummery-kat-with-produce

The Plummery Case Study

When Kat Lavers moved into The Plummery in 2008, the run down old house required substantial repairs but was well-located with plenty of potential. She wanted to design and implement a permaculture system and experiment with urban food production strategies.

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Feature-Tree-Elbow

Tree Elbow Case Study

Our quarter-acre plot, which we call Tree Elbow sits on the edge of town, the Central Lake Reserve and the Wombat State Forest. When we moved here nearly a decade ago the vacant swampy block had only two trees: an oak to the north and a willow to the east....

Read More
Connor & Martha feature

Connor and Marta Ryan Case Study

Marta and I first met in Daylesford in 2017. We were “SWAPs” with the incredibly inspiring “Artist as Family” and quickly grew in love with each other, this region and the beautiful people who inhabit it. We returned about a year and a half later, married and pregnant. Despite having...

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