Is urban planning the problem or the solution with regard to affordable housing? What is good urban policy and what is good housing policy? Will reducing supply-side constraints to new dwellings be sufficient to address the housing affordability problems of lower-income households? Craig Johnston in this Shelter NSW Update looks at policies on urban growth and affordable housing in New South Wales and Australia.
Shelter NSW staff member Craig Johnston has analysed the Draft metropolitan strategy for Sydney to 2031 in terms of provisions that have an impact on affordable housing. There are two key mechanisms that might make a real difference in encouraging the provision of affordable-rental housing through the planning system: having targets for affordable housing as a subset of the dwelling targets in the metropolitan strategy and the subregional delivery plans; and having a mechanism for value capture, rather than relying on the fraught mechanism of ‘incentives’ and looser development controls, in local environmental plans. Both are absent from the draft strategy.
Shelter Brief 50, commissioned from consultant Jack Barton, looks at the building standards and development controls that help to make life more amenable for those residents — specifically, those standards and controls that protect and promote audio privacy and visual privacy. This report supported our submission on a review of the State Environmental Planning Policy 65 and the Residential Flat Design Code, which we released in February 2012.
Shelter Brief 49, by Craig Johnston, investigates debates around the siting of affordable housing — in the context of vocal opposition to a small minority of new affordable-housing developments over the last few years. This report calls for community engagement to be valued in the planning system (there is no reason to believe that what property-developers and governments do is necessarily always the right thing). However the report notes that reasonable objections can be raised in tandem with unreasonable objections (depending on your point of view). The report suggests that objections against dwellings because they are to be used for rental as against owner-occupation are unreasonable, as they undermine the egalitarian nature of our society.
Shelter Brief 48 explores how housing policy and urban policy can be better linked to promote social inclusion. The private-housing market in New South Wales is becoming increasingly polarized along socio-economic lines, especially in the greater metropolitan region. This report, prepared by consultant Dr Tony Gilmour looks at how social inclusion could be enhanced through the provision of affordable housing in locations where market forces would not be providing it. Dr Gilmour says: ‘Promoting opportunities for different socio-economic groups to access housing opportunities within new and changing areas of a city is an important way of achieving social equity in urban development.’
With more Australians living in higher density housing, Shelter NSW commissioned a report examining the issues faced by residents, drawing on a wide range of research and the experiences of people living in higher density, including public and private housing tenants and resident-owners. Shelter Brief 42 was written by Hazel Easthope and Sarah Judd from the City Futures Research Centre at University of NSW.
The ‘Affordable rental housing State Environmental Planning Policy’ comment was written by Craig Johnston.
Shelter Brief 27 was written by Craig Johnston.
Shelter Brief 24 was written by Melanie Hughes.