Providing a sustainable living environment in not-for-profit retirement villages: A case study in Australia

Xin Hu*, Bo Xia, Martin Skitmore, Laurie Buys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: As a viable housing option for older people, retirement villages need to provide a sustainable living environment that satisfies their residents’ needs in terms of affordability, lifestyle and environmental friendliness. This is, however, a significant challenge for not-for-profit developers because of the high upfront costs involved in using sustainable practices. The purpose of this paper is to identify the sustainable features and practices adopted in not-for-profit retirement villages. Design/methodology/approach: Because of the lack of quantitative historical data, a case study approach was adopted to identify the sustainable features and practices used in a not-for-profit retirement village in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Data were collected based on interviews, direct observation and documentation, and collected data were analysed by using content analysis. 

Findings: The research findings indicate that similar to private developers, not-for-profit developers also have the capability to make their village environment sustainable. In this case, the sustainable practices cover various aspects including the selection of village location, site planning, provision of facilities and services, social life and living costs. Although the associated costs of adopting sustainable features is a concern for both developers and residents, some of the identified sustainable practices in this case do not result in significant cost increase but can improve the residents’ quality of life substantially. 

Practical implications: The research findings provide a number of practical implications on how to deliver sustainable retirement villages in a not-for-profit village setting. 

Originality/value: This paper provides a first look at sustainable features and practices adopted in both the development and operation stages of a not-for-profit retirement village.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-290
Number of pages19
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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