Conference paper
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This research describes a Perth inner city local government authority’s attempts to instigate a housing strategy with particular focus on the provision of affordable housing. Although the study centred on the current and future needs of the Town’s residents the research team also considered the broader context in terms of housing market dynamics, the impact of government policy and the operations of allied housing support agencies and community organisations. We report on the experience of working directly with a local government authority to develop an affordable housing strategy. This experience highlights a range of practical responses. It also serves to detail the layers of inhibitors that were revealed during the process. These include the lack of housing knowledge and experience within the planning profession; the need to modify established work practices and policies; and council’s reluctance to further overburden its budgets and staffing levels. These inhibitors all conspire to undermine the potential effectiveness of local housing strategies to deliver necessary housing reforms. The overall findings suggest that although local housing strategies can be effective vehicles for fostering housing reforms it is going to require a lot more concerted attention and cooperation between higher levels of government to enable and resource the process.


The State of Australian Cities (SOAC) national conferences have been held biennially since 2003 to support interdisciplinary policy-related urban research.

This paper was presented at SOAC 4 held in Perth from 24 to 27 November 2009.

SOAC 4 was hosted by the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University and held at The University of Western of Australia’s Crawley campus.SOAC 4 was a collaborative venture between colleagues from the planning, geography and related disciplines across the four public universities.

The meta-theme of this conference - city growth, sustainability, vitality and vulnerability – sought to capture the dynamic and complex nature and contexts in which Australian cities find themselves in the early 21st century.

The last decade or so has seen Australian cities and many of their residents benefit from significant economic prosperity. With this economic prosperity, largely on the back of a resources boom, Australian cities and resources and mineral-rich regions, particularly in Queensland and in WA, have been subjected to profound demographic, social, economic, environmental and political changes. In the wake of the so-called ‘global financial crisis’ we have witnessed the rise of what might be called ‘neo-Keynesianism’ as various liberal democratic nations have pumped billions of dollars into their national economies via ‘bail outs’ or a stimulus package’ in an effort to stave off economic recession. The economic prosperity and more recent uncertainty that has been experienced in the last decade provides a fascinating and dare we say it a timely backdrop to critically reflect on the condition of urban Australia.

All published papers have been subject to a peer reviewing process.

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