Professor Hal Pawson

Urban Policy and Strategy, Research Centre Staff, City Futures Research Centre
My key interests are housing policy, homelessness and urban renewal. Much of my work involves analysing aspects of our current housing system that are underperforming in social, socio-economic or financial terms. The results of such problems, all too evident in contemporary Australia, include impaired urban productivity as well as rising homelessness, rental stress and broader inequality.
My approach draws on my early UK career in housing practice and benefits from a strong understanding of comparative approaches to housing problems in many countries. The studies I initiate analyse residential property market processes and evaluate government initiatives to address issues of concern such as Australia’s intensifying shortage of affordable housing. As well as yielding conceptual insights, my projects generate practical recommendations for policy and tax system reforms. Since joining UNSW in 2011 I have led numerous research initiatives including several major studies funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and by the Australian Research Council.
My research-informed post-graduate courses in Urban Renewal and Housing are popular electives with students from several UNSW Built Environment programs, especially City Planning and Architecture. 
Red Centre Building
+61 2 93855078

Hal Pawson is Professor Housing Research and Policy and Associate Director at the City Futures Research Centre, UNSW. In this role he has led several major research projects funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and by the Australian Research Council (ARC). Hal’s key interests include private rental housing, social and affordable housing, and urban renewal. Before moving to Sydney, Hal worked at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh from 1995-2011.

Teaching & Supervision: 

Program leader: Master of Urban Renewal and Housing

Course leader: Housing Policy and Finance; Housing Management and Markets; Urban Renewal


In the Media

Pawson, H. (2015, August 6). Experts set to address Far North Coast housing issues. The Northern Star. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, July 22). The Australians Who Prefer to Rent Not Buy. SMH/ Domain. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, July 17). Australia’s Housing Debate. 2SER Radio. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, July 2). Could First Home Buyers be the new Drawcard for Developments? Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, June 26). The geography of homelessness. Geographical Magazine. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, June 25). Victoria Considers Introducing 10 years Rental Leases. ABC Radio. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, June 24). Tackling housing unaffordability: a 10-point national plan. Gladstone Observer. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, March 20). Affordable housing solution. The Canberra Times. 

Pawson, H. (2015, March 20). Super funds tipped for cheap rentals. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, February 4). Homelessness more widespread than official figures show, charities warn. BBC News UK. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2015, February 4). Homelessness ‘on the rise’ amid cuts to benefits. The Telegraph UK. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2014, December 19). Australia Needs More than Dense Housing Arguments. The Conversation. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2014, December 15). New generation of boarding houses go upmarket. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2014, November 16). Demand for public housing increases with sell-off. The Sun Herald. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2014, November 15). Western Sydney’s overheated housing market. SBS World News. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2014, March 20). Should we be selling public housing? The Project. Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2013, May 7). Tenancy reviews don't cut waiting list. The Age.  Retrieved from

Pawson, H. (2012, July 1). Homeless run up $100 million hotel bill. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from



Fellow of Chartered Institute of Housing

Managing Editor (Australasia), Housing Studies

Supervision Area: 
Affordable housing
Private rental housing
Housing markets
Urban regeneration and renewal
Rupa Ganguli - PhD thesis title: Role of the rental market in satisfying immigrant demand in Sydney
Jin Zhu - PhD thesis title: Housing affordability and urban form - the case of Shanghai

Pawson H; Milligan V; Yates J, 2020, Housing Policy in Australia A Case for System Reform, Springer Nature, Singapore

Pawson H; Mullins D, 2010, After Council Housing, 1, Macmillan Publishers Limited, Hampshire, UK,

Book Chapters

Pawson H; Pinnegar S, 2018, 'Regenerating Australia’s Public Housing Estates', in Ruming K (ed.), Urban Regeneration in Australia; policies, processes and projects of contemporary urban change, Routledge, London, pp. 311 - 332,

Pawson H; Pinnegar S, 2018, 'Regenerating Australia's public housing estates', in Ruming K (ed.), URBAN REGENERATION IN AUSTRALIA: POLICIES, PROCESSES AND PROJECTS OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN CHANGE, ROUTLEDGE, pp. 311 - 332,

Pawson H, 2012, 'Policies to Address Homelessness: Prevention in the United Kingdom', in Smith SJ (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home, Elsevier, Oxford, pp. 243 - 248,

Pawson H, 2012, 'The Changing Scale and Role of Private Renting in the UK Housing Market', in UK Housing Review 2011/12, edn. Original, Chartered Institute of Housing, Coventry, pp. 13 - 24,

Pawson H, 2011, 'Post-millennium dividends? Assessing recent trends in social housing management efficiency and effectiveness', in UK Housing Review 2010/11, edn. 19th, Chartered Institute of Housing, Coventry, pp. 11 - 20

Pawson H; McKenzie C, 2006, 'Social landlords, anti-social behaviour and countermeasures', in Housing, Urban Governance and Anti-Social Behaviour: Perspectives, Policy and Practice, pp. 155 - 176

Journal articles

Fitzpatrick S; Pawson H; Watts B, 2020, 'The limits of localism: a decade of disaster on homelessness in England', Policy and politics, vol. 48, pp. 541 - 561,

Pawson H, 2020, 'Understanding affordability', HOUSING STUDIES, vol. 35, pp. 1628 - 1629,

Muir K; Powell A; Flanagan K; Stone W; Tually S; Faulkner D; Hartley C; Pawson H, 2020, ''A pathway to where?' Inquiry into understanding and reimagining social housing pathways', AHURI Final Report, pp. 1 - 67,

Pawson H; Martin C, 2020, 'Rental property investment in disadvantaged areas: the means and motivations of Western Sydney’s new landlords', Housing Studies,

Zhu J; Li B; Pawson H, 2019, 'The end of ‘toleration’? Policy ambiguity and converted-housing occupancy in China', Housing Studies,

Hulse K; Morris A; Pawson H, 2019, 'Private Renting in a Home-owning Society: Disaster, Diversity or Deviance?', Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 36, pp. 167 - 188,

Pawson H; Milligan V; Martin C, 2018, 'Building Australia's affordable housing industry: capacity challenges and capacity-enhancing strategies', International Journal of Housing Policy, pp. 1 - 23,

Pawson H; Hulse K; Morris A, 2017, 'Interpreting the rise of long-term private renting in a liberal welfare regime context', Housing Studies, vol. 32, pp. 1062 - 1084,

Pawson H; Herath S, 2017, 'Sinks of Social Exclusion or Springboards for Social Mobility? Analysing the Roles of Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods in Urban Australia', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 35, pp. 373 - 390,

Morris A; Hulse K; Pawson H, 2017, 'Long-term private renters: Perceptions of security and insecurity', Journal of Sociology, vol. 53, pp. 653 - 669,

Milligan V; Pawson H; Phillips R; Martin C, 2017, 'Developing the scale and capacity of Australia's affordable housing industry', AHURI Final Report, pp. 1 - 110,

Fitzpatrick S; Pawson H, 2016, 'Fifty years since Cathy Come Home: critical reflections on the UK homelessness safety net', International Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 16, pp. 543 - 555,

Wiesel I; Pawson H, 2015, 'Why do tenants leave social housing? Exploring residential and social mobility at the lowest rungs of Australia's socioeconomic ladder', Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol. 50, pp. 397 - 417,

Pawson H, 2015, 'The Tenants Movement (Book Review)', Housing Studies, vol. 30, pp. 506 - 508,

Pawson H; Herath S, 2015, 'Dissecting and tracking socio-spatial disadvantage in urban Australia', Cities, vol. 44, pp. 73 - 85,

Jacobs K; Pawson H, 2015, 'Introduction to the Special Edition: ‘The Politics of Housing Policy’', Housing Studies, vol. 30, pp. 651 - 655,

Pawson H, 2014, 'Accommodating Australians', HOUSING STUDIES, vol. 29, pp. 169 - 173,

Pawson H; Wiesel I, 2014, 'Tenant agency in Australia's public housing transfers: a comparative assessment', International Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 14, pp. 344 - 367,

Lawson J; Berry M; Hamilton C; Pawson H, 2014, 'Enhancing affordable rental housing investment via an intermediary and guarantee', AHURI Final Report, pp. 1 - 125

Pawson HR; Fitzpatrick S, 2013, 'Ending security of tenure for social renters: transitioning to 'ambulance service' social housing?', Housing Studies, vol. 29, pp. 597 - 615,

Pawson H, 2013, 'The Politics of Urban Governance', HOUSING STUDIES, vol. 28, pp. 363 - 365,

Pawson H; Milligan V, 2013, 'New dawn or chimera? Can institutional financing transform rental housing?', International Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 13, pp. 335 - 357,

Pawson H, 2012, 'The Housing Debate', JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY, vol. 41, pp. 836 - 838,

Pawson H; Sosenko F, 2012, 'Tenant satisfaction assessment in social housing: how reliable? how meaningful?', International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol. 36, pp. 70 - 79,

Cowan D; Hunter C; Pawson H, 2012, 'Jurisdiction and Scale: Rent Arrears, Social Housing, and Human Rights', Journal of Law and Society, vol. 39, pp. 269 - 295,

Pawson H; Sosenko F, 2012, 'The supply-side modernisation of social housing in England: Analysing mechanics, trends and consequences', Housing Studies, vol. 27, pp. 783 - 804,

Pawson H, 2011, 'Governing Independence and Expertise: The Business of Housing Associations', HOUSING STUDIES, vol. 26, pp. 301 - 303,

Pawson H; Hulse K, 2011, 'Policy transfer of choice-based letting to Britain and Australia: how extensive? How faithful? How appropriate?', International Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 11, pp. 113 - 132,

Nixon J; Pawson H; Sosenko F, 2010, 'Rolling out Anti-social Behaviour Family Projects in Scotland and England: Analysing Rhetoric and Practice', Social Policy and Administration, vol. 44, pp. 305 - 325,

Hulse K; Jones C; Pawson H, 2010, 'Tenurial 'competition', tenure dynamics and the private rental sector: An international reappraisal', Journal of European Real Estate Research, vol. 3, pp. 138 - 156,

Pawson H; Gilmour T, 2010, 'Transforming Australia's Social Housing: Pointers from the British stock transfer Experience', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 28, pp. 241 - 260,

Pawson H; Jacobs K, 2010, 'Policy intervention and its impact: New Labour's public service reform model as applied to local authority housing in England', Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 27, pp. 76 - 94,

Pawson H, 2007, 'Local authority homelessness prevention in England: Empowering consumers or denying rights?', Housing Studies, vol. 22, pp. 867 - 883,

Pawson H; Watkins D, 2007, 'Quasi-marketising access to social housing in Britain: Assessing the distributional impacts', Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, vol. 22, pp. 149 - 175,

Fitzpatrick S; Pawson H, 2007, 'Welfare safety net or tenure of choice? The dilemma facing social housing policy in England', Housing Studies, vol. 22, pp. 163 - 182,

Pawson H, 2006, 'Restructuring England's social housing sector since 1989: Undermining or underpinning the fundamentals of public housing?', Housing Studies, vol. 21, pp. 767 - 783,

Mullins D; Pawson H, 2005, ''The land that time forgot': Reforming access to social housing in England', Policy and Politics, vol. 33, pp. 205 - 230,

Pawson H, 2004, 'Perpetuating polarized neighbourhoods? Analysing rehousing outcomes in the English housing association sector', European Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 4, pp. 77 - 106,

Pawson H; Sinclair SP, 2003, 'Shopping therapy? Incentive payments and tenant behaviour: Lessons from underoccupation schemes in the United Kingdom', European Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 3, pp. 289 - 311,

Walker RM; Mullins D; Pawson H, 2003, 'Devolution and housing associations in Great Britain: Enhancing organisational accountability?', Housing Studies, vol. 18, pp. 177 - 199,

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