Conference paper
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Abstract: The social, economic and environmental advantages of providing affordable housing near jobs and services in Melbourne have been recognized by successive state and national planning policies. However, these policies have largely failed to convince the residential development community to expand beyond a high-density one- and two-bedroom apartment model in the inner city, with three or more bedroom units that might appeal to households with children remaining an expensive, niche product. This is despite evidence from several North American and European cities that suggests inner city renewal that provides affordable family housing is possible, in planning and governance regimes relatively similar to Australia. ‘Getting to Yes’ brings together researchers in planning, social geography, construction economics and design with the Urban Development Institute, the Planning Institute, the City of Melbourne, the State government, and social housing providers. The paper presents results from a survey of social housing providers, developers, planners and architects conducted in June-July 2013. The results show practitioners from across the different sectors believe that development costs and financing for affordable housing are the major barriers to project success, while government led solutions, including planning policy changes and infrastructure spending, are the most feasible enablers of more diverse and affordable housing. Most respondents cannot identify many local or international best practices, suggesting that collaborative ‘co-research’ with peak developer, social housing, planning/ design and government bodies might unlock shared interests.

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