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Across Australia, city planners are focusing on urban renewal as a major driver for change both to provide additional housing for growing urban populations and to implement widely accepted principles of sustainability. The dominant model involves renewal of existing urban areas along transport corridors and hubs, particularly in and around activity concentrations such as existing town centres. The compact city – ‘building up’ rather than ‘building out’ – has become the planning orthodoxy of the 21st century in most of the world.

Over a long period, efforts to implement urban consolidation and densification policies have focused on renewal of former industrial land often located in central locations. As the availability of these sites slowly diminish, there is an emerging recognition that implementing these policies in areas identified for renewal will require a reworking of existing residential areas in Sydney.

While there have always been complications in the implementation of major urban renewal plans related to the often fragmented ownership structure of urban land and competing claims over its use, renewal of existing strata titled housing enters new, and largely untested, territory. Not only do renewal plans face the challenges of complex horizontal land subdivisions, strata title has effectively created a further vertical subdivision on each land parcel. Given the role multi-unit housing plays within the Sydney housing market, the potential social and economic impacts are significant.

This report provides base line information identifying the location, scale, market value, and social profile of the strata sector across greater metropolitan Sydney. This information was used to inform later stages of the project, including a community survey of strata residents and owners across the greater Sydney metropolitan area, and stakeholder and community scenario testing workshops. The community workshops will be based in six different locations across Sydney. Each location is identified and profiled in this report. Results from the community survey and stakeholder and community workshops will be published in a subsequent report.

This report is based on research funded by an Australian Research Council Grant No. LP130100400 and is being undertaken by the City Futures Research Centre at the UNSW Australia in partnership with UrbanGrowth NSW, Strata Community Australia (NSW), Australian College of Community Association Lawyers, The Owners Corporation Network of Australia and NSW Fair Trading.

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