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Conference paper

Can ‘codification’ of development rights support increased and more diverse housing supply?

18 Jun 2018


Over the past decade, amidst growing concerns about perceived mismatches between housing demand and supply, the state of New South Wales (NSW) has introduced a range of major changes to land use policy and development assessment processes. Designed to address regulatory impediments to new and more diverse housing development, these changes have included the introduction of complying development codes for single dwellings and secondary dwellings (‘granny flats’) and the introduction of non-discretionary development standards for higher impact developments, including boarding houses. The former gives ‘as of right’ development permission where a proposed development meets defined criteria, while the latter significantly limits the potential basis for refusal. These approaches aim to speed up development permitting and reduce uncertainty around permissibility, particularly by limiting scope for community opposition and local council discretion – both of which have been regarded in planning and housing market research as development constraining. This paper examines evidence of the outcomes of these approaches in metropolitan Sydney. Through an analysis of LGA-level data for the metropolitan region, and detailed analysis of one local government area, the paper examines, first, how these approaches have changed development rights and development permitting processes and, second, evidence of their impact on the volume and spatial pattern of applicable development. The findings highlight the potential benefits and risks of the codification approach for addressing key metropolitan planning goals, as well as providing evidence to better understand relationships between land use regulation and patterns of housing supply and diversity in Australia.

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