Many Australian households believe that “No man is an island” no longer applies. Experts have stated that the number of people who live alone has increased in recent years. Cities must adapt to this trend in order to meet this growing population.

2016 saw over 2 million “lone-person houses”. Early this year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published projections that indicated this number could reach 3.5 million by 2041. Poppy Johnston, market watcher, says that housing markets need to be able to meet growing demand for single-person households.

Gunning for bigger homes

Johnston mentioned an Arup study, which highlighted the biggest challenges facing single people. One of the biggest concerns is inefficiency in terms of space — the study found that many solo dwellers are still living in big homes with up to three bedrooms.

There seems to be a shortage in smaller homes and studios. 72% of housing stock includes detached dwellings.

Johnston stated that singles who live in large homes use more energy per capita, such as heat or cooling, Johnston said.

Inefficiency can lead to policies that encourage sharing. She suggested that apartment dwellers could share facilities such as laundry and parking spaces.

Security and safety are important.

Another concern is safety and security. Johnston stated that this concern extends beyond the investment of locks and other security measures.

It is essential that people have safe places outside their homes to interact with their neighbors and their friends. It is especially important for people who live alone, and those who are less likely to own a car, to be able walk in safety on the streets.

It is crucial to provide safe spaces for solo-leaders in order to make connections with others. While living alone does not necessarily indicate loneliness, those who feel isolated by life’s unpredictable events will feel more alone than others.

People may not be able to afford to live near their loved ones and so are forced to relocate. Spaces like dog parks and community libraries can be a way to help alleviate this problem. They provide informal spaces for people to meet up and allow them to share their experiences. She said.

The right solution for everyone

Single-person dwellers come in many different demographics. These people include both retired and young professionals. Johnston said that it is impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution.

These single-household households must have a wide range of choices on the housing market.

She explained that it is possible to design cities that can accommodate single-person households. This creates safer community spaces and increases walkability.