Utzon Lecture - Homes and Cities: Growth and Inequality
Homes and Cities: Growth and Inequality
By Duncan Maclennan
Date: Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Venue: Ainsworth G03 Theatre, UNSW Kensington
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Over the last three decades, housing policies have been marginalised as increased pressures of urbanisation in major cities have come to the forefront. Until the 1980’s there was a widespread view that core, or ‘inner’, cities were about economic decline, physical decay and concentrated disadvantage. This narrative has shifted in this millennium with cities seen as ‘Triumphs’ or as ‘Keys’ to future economic growth driven by the labour market and innovation system gains from ‘agglomeration’ economies.
This growth is shaping new challenges for cities. There are growing demands on city infrastructures and congestion costs and shortages emerging not just in transit but other public infrastructure and service activities. Prolonged rises in real house prices, and rents have characterised the millennium in growing metropolitan areas. These price outcomes have exacerbated the rising wealth and income inequalities of the OECD economies noted by Thomas Piketty. The inelastic supply of housing in such areas has underpinned rising wealth inequality, and structurally altered the effectiveness of metropolitan housing systems.
This lecture outlines, housing affordability and the affordable housing sector as key issues in the new policy context and with no single silver bullet solution, multi-order government approaches to better metropolitan outcomes are discussed. It proposes an approach to metropolitan housing policies that will reduce inequality and raise productivity. Examples are drawn, in particular, from Australia, Canada and the UK.
From 1999, he spent a decade working in government, as special Adviser to the First Minister of Scotland, as a Chief economist in the Government of Victoria and as Chief Economist in Canada’s Federal Department for Infrastructure and Cities. He has acted as adviser to Ministers in the UK, Scotland, France, Poland and Norway, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 2017, he was appointed as Visiting Professorial Fellow at the City Futures Research Centre, UNSW.