Planning for (or against) affordable housing in Australia: What can be learned?

May 28, 2014 | Events

Nicole Gurran, Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning

Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney

When: Tuesday 10 June, 12 noon – 1pm

Where: Fisher International Building, level 9, 18 Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland


Cost: Free public seminar, seating limited

Australia’s housing market has become one of the world’s most expensive and least affordable. Over the past two decades the proportion of households in social housing has fallen from six per cent to just over three per cent, while the supply of low cost housing stock in the private market has not been adequate to meet increased demand. Current estimates suggest a national shortage of over half a million affordable homes (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2013). In this context, there is increasing debate about the role of the planning system and whether regulatory barriers have impeded housing supply across the market, thus exacerbating housing affordability pressures generally, or whether planning systems should do more to preserve and secure new affordable homes for target groups. A number of Australian planning agencies have experimented with inclusionary housing measures over the past decade, and this presentation reviews these experiences. It draws on research primarily conducted for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute to explained key programs in South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and New South Wales, some of which have begun to deliver a pipeline of affordable homes for target groups and others which have stalled in the face of community and market pressures. The presentation highlights what might be learned from the successes and failures of inclusionary housing schemes in Australia, particularly in relation to selecting and designing specific approaches in a variety of market contexts, and in implementing measures under what are often antagonistic conditions.


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013). Housing Assistance in Australia. Canberra, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


Associate Professor Nicole Gurran is an urban planner and housing policy analyst. She is Co-Director of the University of Sydney’s multi-disciplinary City Network, and on the Executive Board of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association. She teaches several postgraduate subjects on urban planning and housing within the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. She has written numerous journal articles and reports on aspects of planning and housing policy, and is the author of the book Australian Urban Land Use Planning; Principles Systems and Practice, now in its second edition.

Dr Gurran has also undertaken several studies for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) on housing and sustainable urban development, planning for affordable housing, innovation in the affordable housing sector, and measuring planning system performance in relation to housing provision. Other work, funded by the Australian Research Council, investigates relationships between planning, housing supply, and affordability.

Transforming Cities is pleased to host Nicole Gurran’s visit to Auckland, in association with Lincoln University who will host the Canterbury phase of her visit to New Zealand.

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