Chinese Migrants in Melbourne and their house choices
Meanings behind the choice of the migrant house are explored through an examination of twelve houses of migrants who emigrated from mainland China to Melbourne during the 1990s and 2000s. A qualitative investigation shows that there are three interconnected meanings behind the choice of houses in Melbourne: a desire to counter past experiences of housing in China, a desire to improve future opportunities through housing, and the wish to blend into Australian society. While much literature claims that migrant housing represents the ethnic character of their owners through architectural features, these Chinese houses do not resemble past houses in China in any physical way. The location of the house in a ‘good’ suburb was the most important factor when choosing the house. The house should be located near good educational, transport and shopping services before the built form becomes important. Chinese migrants wish to assimilate into Australian society through their choice of ordinary houses that do not communicate their ethnic identity through their external facades, while also adopting Australian ways of living that are focused around gardens and backyards.