2: What do the experts say?

Post 2 – Building your expertise using scholarly secondary sources
Angela Tam

Housing affordability, central city economic productivity and the lower income labour market

Ryan van den Nouwelant, Laura Crommelin, Shanaka Herath, and Bill Randolph (UNSW) 

This report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited (AHURI) is written by Ryan van den Nouwelant, Laura Crommelin, Shanaka Herath, and Bill Randolph. Among them, they are a group research associates, professors and housing planners with many years of expertise in this field and involvement in key organisations such as City of Sydney and City Futures. The report aims to use these following questions to base their research:

  1. What is the current state of Australian and overseas practices in planning for affordable housing for LICC workers?  
  2. What is the extent of the spatial mismatch between job structure and affordable housing provision in the labour markets of central Perth, Darwin, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane?
  3. Which employee groups are most affected and what is their housing experience in terms of affordability and location?
  4. Which employer groups are most affected by this issue, what problems does this cause them and how do they deal with these problems?  
  5. What role has the recent expansion of higher-density housing in inner-city areas played in housing the LICC workforce?
  6. To the extent that mismatch is occurring, what are the broader implications for the stability, equity and efficiency of the CC economy?  
  7. What are the housing policy implications of the research?

Through extremely thorough research from quantitative and qualitative data analysis, this report demonstrates rigour and depth of understanding into this issue, therefore making it a very reliable and factual source for further analysis. Their style of writing throughout this report is informative and non-biased as there are constant comparisons and analysis of collected data such as the 2011 Australian Census, the Australian Property Monitors (APM) and through the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network. Logical questions are raised regarding the existing housing issue in Sydney based on this data, however there is no sense of a personal opinion. The overall position is also similar to the authors in the newspaper articles – that “the housing affordability crisis, coupled with chronic undersupply of community rental housing for key workers, presents a challenge to Sydney’s sustainable growth and productivity.” (van den Nouwelant, R., Crommelin, L., Herath, S., Randolph, B. 2016, p. 24) They observe through analysis of the state government strategy, A Plan for Growing Sydney (NSW Government 2014) that the plan focuses on locating economic activity closer to housing (such as Parramatta becoming the ‘second CBD’) rather than targeting and creating housing policies that provide additional housing for low income workers near the current City. Through their analysis, they find that there are areas in this issue that require further research and a sense of their motivation to uncover more in the rest of the report is evident. 

van den Nouwelant, R., Crommelin, L., Herath, S. and Randolph, B. (2016) Housing affordability, central city economic productivity and the lower income labour market, AHURI Final Report No.261, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, Available from <http://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/7431/AHURI_Final_Report_No261_Housing-affordability-central-city-economic-productivity-and-the-lower-income-labour-market.pdf.>, viewed 12 August 2016


Five game-changers for affordable housing in Sydney

Committee of Sydney

This report by the Committee of Sydney aims to present five innovations that kick-start conversations of excitement at solutions to the issue of housing affordability in Sydney. The tone of the report is quite conversational compared to others, however holds a positive perspective to the issue. Motivated by the aim to shift the thinking from despair to involvement to make a difference, this report highlights current impacts of this issue including housing stress on key workers and the response or lack of response from the government. It clearly states that “as with all Committee for Sydney reports, the aim, while being to produce evidence based proposals, is anything by academic. It is to prompt action by decision makers in government.” (Committee of Sydney, 2015, p.7) They present the five initiatives and continue to state why they have not occurred yet. These initiatives include:

  1. Maximise the use of public land
  2. Government action to trigger private investment
  3. Build the market
  4. Commit to major renewal of social housing
  5. Private development to enhance the affordable end of the market (inclusionary zoning)

It is interesting that they present the other perspective of why these initiatives have not been adopted by Sydney and its government yet – this gives readers the impression that it is up to them to create the change, and that they can decide their own position as both are placed in front of them. The Committee of Sydney creates a few reports of this style annually, making their knowledge of Sydney and its prospective future widely accepted.  

Committee of Sydney 2015, A City For All: Five game-changers for affordable housing in Sydney, Report Number 8, Committee of Sydney, <http://www.sydney.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/CfS-Issues-Paper-8-A-City-for-All-Five-Game-Changers-for-Affordable-Housing-in-Sydney.pdf&gt;, viewed 12 August 2016.


%d bloggers like this: