Project update – August
Over the past month the project team has continued to examine affordable housing and how planning and collaboration could address sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
A growing population, rising tide of record high property prices, limited land release and broader economic and social change is swamping the great Australian dream of owning a home and even pushing rent payment out of reach for many Australians.
However, the encouraging response from our Affordable Housing Think Tank suggests there is a groundswell of innovative ideas – for example flexible design, tenure and financial models – that could make Australian homes more affordable and sustainable.
This month we are also excited to be talking to the community to gather ideas and create something unique at Ginninderra.
We invite you to attend one of our upcoming drop-in sessions to receive an update on the project and ask any questions about plans for the site.
Session 1 – Evatt
Date: Thursday 25 August 2016
Time: 3:00pm to 6:30pm
Venue: Evatt Scout Hall
Address: Heydon Crescent, Evatt
Session 2 – Gold Creek (Nicholls)
Date: Saturday 27 August 2016
Time: 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Venue: The Abbey
Address: Gold Creek Village, Nicholls
At these events, you will be able to talk with our project team and contribute your ideas, helping to shape our vision for the property and the principles that will guide sustainable urban development.
There will also be the chance to provide general feedback about the project. If you can’t attend either session, but still want to provide feedback, please complete the online enquiry contact form.
Many people have already taken the time to speak to us and provide their comments on the future of Ginninderra. Thank you for your valuable contribution.
Affordable housing – restoring the great Australian dream
A growing population, rising tide of record high property prices, limited land release and broader economic and social change is swamping the great Australian dream of owning a home and even pushing rent payments out of reach for many Australians.
Is this an inevitable and unstoppable tide? It doesn’t have to be – according to some leading experts and creative thinkers.
The encouraging response at our Affordable Housing Think Tank suggests there is a groundswell of innovative ideas – for example flexible design, tenure and financial models – that could make Australian homes more affordable and sustainable.
But how can we make a difference when it has been difficult to achieve this in many states and jurisdictions across the country?
Short of a major collapse of our city real estate markets, it is difficult to see how property prices and rents might be attainable for many Australians, particularly the younger demographic and those in low-mid income ranges.
Recent reports have found:
- 27,500 people or 13% of the ACT’s workforce, are in housing stress. This includes 43% of people working in retail and 33% of those working in accommodation and food services. [ACT Shelter et al, 2015, “Housing affordability and the labour market in the ACT”, Canberra.]
- 7% of low income households renting in the ACT are in housing stress (spending more than 30% of gross household income on housing costs) [ABS, Housing Occupancy and Costs 2013-14, cat. no.4310.0 released 16 October 2015]
- Of 1,497 private rental properties advertised in ACT and Queanbeyan on 2 April 2016 – only 102 of these were affordable and suitable for a family of two adults, both earning the minimum wage, and two children. [Anglicare Australia, Rental Affordability Snapshot 2016, Canberra]
A combination of factors is driving the market and compounding the affordability crisis. Of course our population is growing and ageing, but household and family structures are also changing, which often means we have fewer people in each house (declining occupancy rate). Put this together with the tax breaks and incentives that have existed for multiple property investment and it adds up to a lot of competition for the properties that come on the market.
Since new land and housing supply has not kept up with this level of demand, the asking prices continue to be high. Those with the ability to pay higher prices win out, leaving mid and lower income earners with a tough battle.
If unchanged, this amounts to a fairly bleak outlook for those in or close to ‘housing stress’.
While it’s possible to build more units and release more land, in a tight fiscal environment everyone wants to maximise returns to balance the books. Governments or landholders want the best price for land, while developers, builders, real estate agents and investors all want to maximise profits.
More creative ideas and sustainable and enduring solutions are needed.
At Ginninderra, we have the opportunity to achieve strong affordable housing outcomes.
The Affordable Housing Think Tank was a first step, bringing out a wealth of ideas to inform our approach . Two experts who attended were Dr Louise Crabtree, a Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University, and Mark Peacock, Director of Impact Investing at Social Ventures Australia.
“As people’s housing needs change, imagine if their houses had flexibility of design,” said Dr Crabtree. “For Ginninderra, I think we should be asking how it is governed – owned and structured – on an ongoing basis. The site is really quite special as it can set a benchmark and really push innovation in terms of affordability and sustainability for future developments.”
Mr Peacock said, “The Ginninderra site presents so many opportunities. One of the ideas that I’d like to see progress around is what a mixed tenure or mixed development type model might look like – catering to different groups of people at different stages of their lives. How do you bring together a wide range of individuals and families to build a community? Through a variety of housing, different types of stock, and potentially different forms of social infrastructure on the side.”
Affordability is just one of the sustainability issues that confronts our cities and urban environments. Some of the others are water, energy and resource consumption, waste and environmental impacts.
We believe that with a lot of planning, collaboration and co-operation, it is possible to address them all in a sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
Think Tank generates ideas for affordable housing
Our Affordable Housing Think Tank on 8 April 2016 was a success – bringing out a wealth of ideas from an impressive gathering of industry, government, research and community experts.
The objective of the Think Tank was to generate shared understanding of the issues and to identify bold and innovative ideas for the delivery of affordable housing locally, and it did!
A range of ideas were discussed and broad agreement reached, that to deliver affordable housing that best meets the diversity of societal needs, the Ginninderra project should:
- Explore innovative finance and governance models
- Adopt and promote innovative sustainability technologies that also improve affordability by reducing the cost of living
- Commit to ‘place-making’ and to trialing and assessing a variety of approaches to the provision of affordable housing within the site
- Identify approaches to community consultation and engagement that will support the project aims and involve low and moderate income earners
- Develop a plan for the site that articulates a clear vision and aspirations
Thirty experts from the housing sector, ACT and federal government agencies, community organisations and CSIRO research teams took part in the Think Tank that will help inform a strategy for affordable housing in the Ginninderra project.
Think Tank participants suggested that planning and design should aim to ensure the site provides diverse housing types, meets the needs of diverse households, and in particular provides housing that is affordable to people and households across all income levels. Ideas supporting such multi-level affordable housing included:
- Considering the specific needs of particular cohorts identified as requiring affordable housing
- Providing a mix of higher and lower density housing on the site
- Providing a mix not only of different tenure types, household types and housing types, but also diverse funding mechanisms and governance structures to meet the needs of a differentiated market and to encourage diversity in the site
- Considering options to cross-subsidise affordable housing within the development
- Designing housing for the life course, so that homes can readily respond to changing household needs and composition
- Investigating investment sources including social impact bonds and superannuation
- Exploring ways of ensuring that housing remains affordable into the future
These ideas and those generated through further research and community engagement will be tested and evaluated to inform a living strategy document that guides CSIRO’s approach to affordable housing as a key element to the overall development of the site.
CSIRO is aspiring to an overall design that embraces the ideas of the community and considers energy, water, emissions, waste, economic activity, health and wellbeing, and the environment – as well as integrating affordable housing.
CSIRO remains committed to working with stakeholders to push the frontiers of sustainable and affordable urban design.