Conference paper
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Abstract: In response to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-9, city planning in Australia has seen state governments embrace infrastructure packages to stimulate the economy. In particular, the delivery of social housing through the Social Housing Initiative (SHI) occurred through a fast-tracked method of planning. This represented a departure from the local statutory processes, which offer residents engagement opportunities and gave local government control of approving social housing construction in existing established areas of the city. This paper examines how government strategies to deliver social housing in difficult economic climates impacted upon democratic planning in Australian Cities. Reporting on recent AHURI research that compared local opposition to affordable housing projects in two States within the period of the Commonwealth Government’s Social Housing Initiative (2009-2012), this paper draws on semi-structured interviews with State and local government planners, housing providers and politicians in Victoria and New South Wales. These interviews show that government stimulus programs, whilst delivering essential infrastructure to cities in a quick and efficient manner, can lead to the re-politicisation of its delivery. Drawing upon the emerging literature on post-politics, this research suggests that locally democratic planning practices respond to national/state government intervention strategies in a variety of ways, which is changing the politics of social infrastructure delivery.

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