building an inclusive community and the joy of a walkable neighbourhood
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Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Bowden
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Nightingale Housing worked with Housing Choices South Australia and Renewal SA to deliver our first Adelaide project, Nightingale Bowden. 50% of homes in this project were sold as affordable housing to owner-occupiers, and 50% are leased as affordable rentals.  

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a documentary producer. I run a production company called Think Films. We make documentaries, impact films and purpose-driven productions.

What was your journey to living at Nightingale Bowden?

When I found out that there were ballots coming up to purchase homes, all my work had just completely dried out because of the pandemic. So I thought, ‘I won’t even put my name down because this ain't ever gonna happen. I'll just watch from the sidelines.’ 

Then last year, the owners of the house I was renting were selling it, so I had to find somewhere to live. I attempted the private rental market for a while and got completely disillusioned. 

Eventually I got an email from [community housing provider] Housing Choices South Australia saying, ‘You're eligible to rent a Nightingale Bowden home.’ 

I've only been here for about five months. It's completely confirmed for me that, yes, this is a place that I could live for the rest of my life.

How have you experienced the creation of a new community at Nightingale Bowden?

The connections I've formed have been really great. I love the fact that I can maintain my own privacy, but still be part of a community. I think that balance is really beautiful.

I had an issue with my door, so I put a call out in the Slack channel, and one neighbour who's tall came and helped. I'm on my own here, but if I'm stuck with something I know there's always someone available to help. That is wonderful.

When we had our first community meeting, one of the homeowners said, ‘We really want this to be an inclusive community; it's not about us owners and ‘them’.’ That is a really big focus from the owners there. No one's trying to create a divide. That's a beautiful thing about having like-minded people together in the same space. 

What has been surprising about living at Nightingale Bowden?

This is my first time living in an apartment. I thought, ‘How will I go with this?’ Well, I've slotted into it so easily. I've become used to having a balcony, and things are a bit smaller, but it’s all workable. Before this, I was in a house - it was a small house, but on a big piece of land - so I was just one person on this fairly big property. Now I feel like I have a smaller footprint. 

In fact, what being in an apartment has taught me is that I had way too much room before that I didn't need. It's lovely having all that space and the big garden and everything, but really, when you think about it, how much does one person need? Not that much. Here, I have more than enough.

How do you think living at Nightingale Bowden will help you live more sustainably?

I think it's about having a smaller footprint, and the ability to use public transport more. The fact that there's a free tram right outside my door means that I'm absolutely taking that tram wherever and whenever I can. On really good days I'll get on the tram, jump off at the last stop and then walk through the parklands to work.

What are your favourite local spots?

There's the Loose Caboose Cafe close by. This morning I caught up with an old friend at My Grandma Ben - I love that cafe. There's the Afghan sweet place Shirni Parwana. Bobibao, the Taiwanese street food restaurant, is definitely one of my favourites. 

I was down the road at Radio Italiana recently, talking on one of their shows. My father was the first ethnic voice on the radio in South Australia, and that Italian community radio station which has been part of my life growing up is now literally down the road from me. 

At Bowden you're in an apartment, and you feel like it's a bit urban, but within two minutes you're right in the middle of parklands in the city. I go walking or jogging every morning along the walking track, and use the bike track in summer. Being able to jump on my bike and ride to the beach, or just walk straight into the city… It's glorious.

Find out more about
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Bowden
First published in
June 2023