Elizabeth, Australia, Australia
Year1954latitude: -34° 42'
longitude: 138° 40'
Planning organizationThe South Australian Housing Trust (Henry Smith)
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)
Design organization
Inhabitants952 (2006)
Target population
Town website
Town related linkswww.housingtrust.sa.gov.au/resources/SAHT_Chronological_History.pdf
Literature- Mark Peel, “The Rise and Fall of Social Mix in an Australian New Town”, in: Journal of Urban History vol. 22 1995, SAGE Periodical Press;
- Susan Marsden, Business, Charity and Sentiment: The South Australian Housing Trust 1936-1986, Wakefield Press, South Australia 1986 p. 265-307;
- Hugh Stretton, Ideas for Australian Cities, third edition, Transit Australia Publishing, Sydney 2001 (1970) p. 145-156;
- Walter Jordan, "Die Trabantenstadt Elizabeth (Süd-Australien) im Vergleich mit europäischen Trabantenstädten", Technische Universität Berlin 1962

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy
South Australia's low unemployment rates, the lowest in Australia after the war, led to more postwar new town developments, of which the largest is Elizabeth, planned by the state's public housing authority, the South Australian Housing Trust (SAHT). The SAHT was established by the Parliament in 1936. Construction of houses and shops at Elizabeth started in 1954 and continued throughout in the 50s. It is situated 28 km north of Adelaide. Migrants were encouraged to settle, and by the early 60s Elizabeth had become an immigrant and working class town. By the late 60s the population exceeded 40,000. Elizabeth has residential suburbs configured as local communities around a small shopping centre. Originally each unit contained its own supermarket, bank, hotel, service station and more shops. Facilities and physical appearance were better than other Australian housing projects for workers.

Aiming, as the British example, at a vital community life, Elizabeth's planners believed that this could be ensured by the adequate urban design. Plans based on the interpretation of community as social mix sought to shape the city promoting an increased class contact. But class distinctions were built into the housing pattern: Rental houses were mainly placed close to the factory areas, and there were clear separations made between detached sale and semidetached rental dwellings within the neighbourhoods.

Economic decline and social change brought high youth unemployment and single parent households to the city. From the vision of a socially mixed town Elizabeth developed to be to primarily a working class town. Today Elizabeth has a ca. 25% unemployment rate, unusually low female workforce participation, and a low car ownership - although car is the absolute dominating means of transport all over Australia.

Elizabeth was part of the "Better Cities" program 1991-1996 initiated by the Commonwelth government's Department of Housing and Regional Development. The city has been redeveloped with improved street scapes and some medium density housing provision.
The shopping centre has been renovated and extended in 2004.


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