Sustainable Futures- Nomadism

For task 2, our group scenario envisioned Australia in 2050 as a ‘Sustainable Superpower’ with high surveillance and no border control. Our scenario design originated from the growing issue of climate refugees, in an attempt to respond on a humanitarian level by accommodating for such people in Australia. As stated in my previous blog post about the Anthropocene with focus on climate refugees- scientists predict the number of people displaced by natural disasters could range from at least 50 million to 200 million by 2050. It is therefore fundamental to the welfare of humanity that we begin to seriously consider how to help these people affected by accommodating for more people in Australia in the event of extreme displacement.

Hypothetically speaking, after a series of natural disasters that devastate surrounding Asian countries, Australia opens its borders to refugees providing aid shelters for those displaced from their country to stay in. This then transfers from an initial temporary service to a state of permanent citizenship. Due to the no border control and consequential significant population increase, we wanted to design a form of dwelling and lifestyle that would encourage people to move away from coastal areas and occupy more rural, inland areas. Nomadism was something that we decided to look into as a central point of research as focus to this idea.

Author Paul Memmott in his book “Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: the Aboriginal Architecture Of Australia” discusses the complexity of Aboriginal-designed dwellings in a science of ‘ethno-architecture’ of which ranges from minimalist structures that articulate well defined places and spaces, versus various types of permanent houses and villages. The architecture of Aboriginal houses built prior to the British invasion was dependent on climate, natural environment, resources available, family size and specific needs of the Aboriginal people of that area.

We wanted our product to fit somewhere in between this idea of semi-permanent living whilst remaining sustainable, practical, and affordable for immediate use rather than requiring to be built and established in a fixed environment.

British-based designer Lucy Orta is a contemporary artist who has investigated into the ideas of mobility and survival through sculptural works, which examine the complex relationship between architecture and the human body. Her 1993 sculpture ‘Refuge Wear- Habitent’ notably demonstrates a well-considered manifesto of the human body, and its relationship to a certain space including that of it’s own. Orta developed the Refuge Wear series in coincidence with certain homeless people whose movements she had followed over a number of years.

Images of Lucy Orta's 1993 sculpture 'Habitent' from her 'Refuge Wear' series.

Images of Lucy Orta’s 1993 sculpture ‘Habitent’ from her ‘Refuge Wear’ series.

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Perhaps it is an unrealistic vision for 2050, but nomadic, sustainable dwellings such as Lucy Orta’s ‘Habitent’ are prime examples of a potential direction the human sheltered experience could take, not only as a sustainable form of living, but as a method of accommodating incoming climate refugees in emergency instances- very probable scenarios for the future of Australia.


Korff, J, 2014. Aboriginal Houses, Creative Spirits, viewed 22 October 2014,

Memmott, P. 2007, Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: the Aboriginal Architecture Of Australia, University of Queensland Press, Queensland

Studio-Orta, 2014. Lucy Orta, viewed 22 October 2014,

Studio-Orta, 2014. Refuge Wear- Habitent, viewed 22 October 2014,


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