New AHURI projects

Congratulations to Bill Randolph and Ilan Wiesel on their AHURI grants announced in December 2013.
Bill’s project ‘Housing affordability, central city economic productivity and the lower income labour market’ will investigate how affordable housing availability impacts on labour market outcomes and economic productivity in Central City areas, using the City of Sydney as a case study. Jointly funded by the City of Sydney, the project will build on earlier City Futures work on this topic.

Meanwhile, in 'Accomodating DisabilityCare: Maximising housing choice ina reformed disability sector' Ilan's team will analyse existing individdualised disability service funding programs in Australia and internationally, to identify factors enabling people with a disability to retain or transition into housing better suiting their needs and preferences. The study will also consider housing policy options in response to DisabilityCare.

Downsizing report published

Newly published by AHURI in January 2014 is the City Futures report ‘Downsizing amongst older Australians’. Led by Professor Bruce Judd, this is the first national study of the issue. It investigates the nature and extent of ‘downsizing’ house moves over the past decade, together with the motivations and circumstances influencing such moves.

While around half of older persons moves involve downsizing, this still represents only a small percentage of the total older population. Currently, most downsizers are motivated mainly lifestyle change aspirations and problems in maintaining home or garden, with financial factors important for very few. However, the study floated the idea of incentivising activity through a ‘last home owners’ scheme’ offering older home buyers grants, stamp duty exemptions or discounts for downsize moves.

Walk21 Conference Sydney 2014

In October 2014, the NSW State Government and City of Sydney host ‘Walk21’, the world’s leading conference on walking. The announcement comes hot on the heels of the release of Sydney’s Walking Future by Transport for NSW. Recognising the resulting social and economic benefits, the report’s proposals aim to ‘make walking the transport choice for quick trips under two kilometres’. Planning and public health advocates need to better understand what motivates and encourages walking. So get along to Walk21 to engage with a wealth of research evidence, practice initiatives and inspiration for creating walkable environments. Abstracts close 14 March – you can submit via the Conference Website.

West Connex – HIA essential

Announced late last year, the $11 billion West Connex scheme is set to become Australia’s largest-ever road building project. Reducing traffic congestion across Sydney, better handling heavy freight transport and the potential revitalisation of choked thoroughfares such as Parramatta Road, are among the stated motivations for the initiative. Not surprisingly, it has evoked considerable community concern about impacts on local neighbourhoods – both during construction and operation. In the Healthy Built Environments Program submission on the proposal we argue that Government must commission a health impact assessment (HIA) on the project. You can read our submission here.

City Futures in the news

Read Adjunct Professor Ian Burnley in the SMH on the rise of multi-generational households, or dip into one of Bill Randolph’s many SMH contributions on urban renewal, on land release policy, and on the polarisation of Sydney’s housing market. Bruce Judd’s commentary on his downsizing report is also covered.

Growing super funds interest in affordable housing

Reflecting growing finance sector interest in rental housing investment, Vivienne Milligan gave an invited presentation on the issue to a December 2013 forum of industry super funds trustees and fund managers.  This drew on the body of AHURI-funded and other work that City Futures has led on the issue. It was clear from the lively discussion on the day that investment in housing is now striking a strong chord as a possibility funds should be considering, given its alignment with member needs for more affordable housing and with sector values to optimise long term societal benefits through investment choices. Several invitations to further industry engagement forthcoming from the forum will be pursued this year.

CF staffing news

City Futures welcomes Dr Laurence Troy joining the team as a Research Associate working mainly on the urban planning projects. An expert on sustainable urban transport, Dr Troy was previously at the Sydney University School of Geosciences. We also welcome Ji Yuan Yu who will mainly work in the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) initiative.Hal Pawson, meanwhile, has been appointed an Associate of Sheffield University’s Department of Town & Regional Planning.

Forthcoming BE/City Futures Seminars and Utzon Lectures

Mr Ji Yu (City Futures) - 'A population distribution model for Sydney’s metropolitan planning'

Feb 26, 12pm.UNSW-Red Centre West Wing. Room 4035

Prof Anthony G.O. Yeh (Hong Kong University) - 'Producer Services Development of Chinese Cities in the Fourth Wave of Urbanization'

Feb 28, 1pm.UNSW-Red Centre West Wing. Room 4035

City Futures Publications: Books, Refereed Journal Articles, AHURI Reports and other Q4 2013 & Q1 2014

Bridge, C., Sivaraman, V., Langley, L., Judd, B., Li, A., Thorne, J, Davy, L. (2013). A user appraisal of the contribution of built environment factors to the independenceand wellbeing of older people in two NSW regional town centres. Occasional Paper. Sydney: Home Modification Information Clearinghouse, University of New South Wales. November. Available from

Easthope, H. (2014). Making a Rental Property Home. Housing Studies.

Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H., Bramley, G. & Wilcox, S. (2013) The Homelessness Monitor: England 2013; London: Crisis

Home Modification Information Clearinghouse (2013). Specialist Review Panel Terms of Reference 4th ed. Sydney: Home Modification Information Clearinghouse, University of New South Wales. December. [online]. Available from

Hulse, K., & Milligan, V. (2014). Secure Occupancy: a new framework for analysing security in rental housing. Housing Studies.

Kent, J. L. (2013). Carsharing as Active Transport: what are the potential health benefits? Journal of Transport and Health.

Judd, B., Liu, E., Easthope, H., Davy, L., & Bridge, C. (2014). Downsizing amongst older Australians. AHURI Final Report No. 214.

Randolph, B. (2013). Wither Urban Research? Yes, You Read it Right First Time! Urban Policy and Research, 31(2), 130-133.

Randolph, B., & Tice, A. (2013). Who Lives in Higher Density Housing? A Study of Spatially Discontinuous Housing Sub-markets in Sydney and Melbourne. Urban Studies Vol 50(13) pp2661-2681.

Randolph, B., Pinnegar, S., & Tice, A. (2013). The First Home Owner Boost in Australia: A Case Study of Outcomes in the Sydney Housing Market. Urban Policy and Research, 31(1), 55-73

Taeihagh, A., Bañares-Alcántara, R., & Givoni, M. (2014). A virtual environment for the formulation of policy packages. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 60, 53-68.

Thompson, S., & Kent, J. L. (2013). Healthy Built Environments Supporting Everyday Occupations: Current Thinking in Urban Planning. Journal of Occupational Science.

Wiesel, I., & Easthope, H. (2013). Moving Into a Disadvantaged Tenure? Pathways into social housing. Geography Research Forum, 33, 147-162.

For a full list of CF publications see the City Futures website

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