‘Homes for Life’: A critical ecological study of an Independent Living Project

Main Article Content

Jill Franz


In this paper, an ‘ecological’ lens is applied to an independent living project aiming to provide ‘homes for life’ for adult children with disabilities. The qualities of the project as ecological praxis are highlighted along with the implications for an open-ended enquiry into ecologies for and of the interior. In terms of the ecological concern for intimate modes of being, interior design is shown to be well placed through its association with environments in which people spend most of their life and through powerful concepts such as ‘interiority’ and ‘home’ which link to fundamental existential notions of ‘self’ and ‘identity’. However, despite the interior being a significant generative force, this has not happened to the exclusion of other disciplines. Ignoring territorial urges to claim areas and concepts as one’s own, the paper describes how the project has actively encouraged design disciplines to trespass in each other’s territories. Ecologies for and of the interior, while recognising the need for discipline emphasis, also demand an integrated and collective approach through what is in effect transdisciplinary practice.

Article Details

How to Cite
Franz, Jill. 2010. “‘Homes for Life’:: A Critical Ecological Study of an Independent Living Project”. idea journal 10 (1):128-37. https://doi.org/10.37113/ideaj.v0i0.133.
text-based research essay
Author Biography

Jill Franz, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Jill Franz is a professor in the school of Design, Faculty of built Environment & Engineering, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. she has extensive experience in senior management at the discipline, school and faculty level as well as in design research, curriculum development and teaching. she has successfully supervised 3 PhD students and 3 Masters’ students to completion and is currently supervising 11 PhD students undertaking research in a range of areas including: design and healthy environments; architectural design methodology and practice; universal design and design for disability; work environments and productivity; design discourse and education; library environments and education; domestic violence and the built environment. In terms of her own practice, Jill has approximately thirty years in design and design research, focusing on socially responsible design and the experiential relationship of people and environment. Specifically, she has had extensive involvement in various design practice and research projects to do with developing design interventions to support independent community living for people with disabilities and the development of participatory and consensus approaches to design and design education. Through this research and community-based project work, she has worked with a broad cross-section of stakeholders including public sector and private sector groups, local business people, academics, professional designers, consultants from a variety of disciplines as well as the end-users of specific project outcomes. Jill has also just completed several terms as Executive Editor of the international IDEA Journal (ErA ‘A’rated).