The Affordable Housing Hallmark Research Initiative brings together outstanding researchers from across the University of Melbourne to address the housing affordability crisis. Supported by an advisory group of industry experts, the Initiative draws on a depth and breath of knowledge to create healthy, inclusive, sustainable communities. The Initiative aims to develop innovative solutions to a complex issue that can't be solved by one discipline alone.
Melbourne is facing rapid population growth and a severe housing affordability crisis. Home purchase is among the least affordable in the world and there is an acute shortage of low-cost rental housing1,2. House price growth has driven dramatic increases in wealth inequality in Australia in the last two decades as more affluent households benefited from increased property values while lower income households saw large increases in their rental and mortgage payments3. For low-income households, rising affordability stress constrains access to jobs and essential services, negatively impacts on physical and mental health, and increases the risk of homelessness4. The combined pressures of population growth, demographic change, sustainability imperatives and equity challenges are driving an urgent need to better understand and deliver affordable housing in Australia.
Melbourne Research Capability
The Affordable Housing Hallmark Research Initiative brings together researchers from architecture, urban planning, property economics, public health, geography, economics and sociology to acknowledge the complexity of housing systems and their role in supporting or inhibiting sustainability, social justice and economic stability. It builds on research conducted as part of the Transforming Housing project.
We are building a critical mass of affordable housing scholarship to shape international academic debate and respond to contemporary housing problems.
Our research will facilitate cross-disciplinary connections and foster new and innovative collaborative research into the provision of quality housing: its design, planning, affordability, accessibility and use.
Our research in housing affordability will make a positive contribution to social inclusion and equity, addressing changing demographic patterns and furthering sustainable approaches to urban development.
Our mix of expertise and evidence is generating integrated solutions to identified and emerging problems of housing markets and social inequality, the quality and amenity of living environments, urban intensification and sustainability, and the management of growth.
Using internationally established formats such as Housing Expos, we can demonstrate what can be achieved, with the aim of affecting positive changes across the housing system.
Researchers will collaborate with government, industry, not-for-profit and community stakeholders to develop, evaluate and provide an evidence base for solutions to contemporary issues. Research outputs will be disseminated through publications, public events, workshops and research symposia.
The Affordable Housing Hallmark Research Initiative will also serve as a platform for promoting, generating and extending new and existing affordable housing scholarship at the University of Melbourne. We will host seed-funding rounds to support new research and inter-disciplinary partnerships.
[Banner image source: Photo by Jeffrey Czum from Pexels]
& Design Innovation lens leader
Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning
Currently recruiting - applications closed 30 July.
School of Geography
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning
Markets and Policy lens leader
Health lens leader
Design Precedents lens leader
[Banner image source: Photo by Jeffrey Czum from Pexel]
The Affordable Housing Hallmark Research Initiative will generate and support a wide range of research directly related to Affordable Housing across four themes.
Seed Funding Round 1 (2019) Recipients
Exploring the housing challenges faced by Melbourne’s African migrants and refugees: Is leaving public housing a reality?
Public housing estates offer a unique environment where many African migrants and refugees find shelter upon their arrival to Australia. This population group faces many challenges, including racism, access to employment, unstable housing conditions, and health and education inequalities. These stresses further add to the trauma and challenges to resettlement process. However, long-term housing conditions for African migrants and refugees remain an unexplored area. Do these conditions cause homelessness or force families into substandard housing? This project aims to explore the various dimensions and nuances of how African migrants arrive, adapt and integrate in Melbourne. The interdisciplinary research team, including experts in communities and housing, built environment and refugee resettlement, will work closely with marginalised communities to shed light on their experiences and challenges.
Research team: Dr Sandra Carrasco Mansilla. Prof Sun Sheng Han, Dr Majdi Faleh, Neeraj Dangol (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning), Dr Ashleigh Haw (Melbourne Social Equity Institute)
Collaborators: Haileluel Gebre-Selassie (Africa Think Tank), Prof Gonzalo Lizarralde, and Faten Kikano (University of Montreal).
Post WWII Apartments: Analysing Medium Density Precedents for Contemporary Melbourne
How can we preserve Melbourne’s distinctive character while providing housing for a booming population? In this project, architects and architectural historians collaborate with social historians to analyse and photograph Melbourne’s post-war medium density housing, such as the classic ‘six-pack’ apartments.
The result will be a book that combines historical research and design analysis that will influence and inform contemporary design and policy. It will record and assess achievements and failures of earlier attempts to increase density in inner and middle suburbs, providing a rich resource for architects and policymakers.
Research team: Prof Philip Goad, Prof Paul Walker, Catherine Townsend, Dr Amanda Achmadi (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning), and Prof Andrew May (School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts)
Collaborators: Dr Tom Alves (RMIT University), Stefan Preuss (Office of the Victorian Government Architect), John Gollings Photography.
Evaluation of a Safe Place Pilot Program
There is a clear link between women’s homelessness and intimate partner violence. More than a third of the people accessing the Victorian homelessness system in 2015-16 cite intimate partner violence as the cause, and there is a shortage of emergency housing in Melbourne.
Safe Steps and its partners will deliver a pilot program that uses vacant homes in Melbourne’s private real estate market to help fill this gap to provide quality, affordable and safe emergency housing to women.
This project will bring together researchers from urban planning, housing economics, public health and geography to assess how this partnership can play a role in offering a socially and economically sustainable model for emergency housing, and how the program could be scaled up to benefit more vulnerable Victorians.
This project has been awarded an additional $5,000 from the Melbourne Disability Institute, who recognise that women with disability are a large part of the population group that access safe housing.
Research team: Erika Martino, A/Prof Rebecca Bentley (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health), Dr Andrew Martel (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning), Ilan Wiesel (School of Geography).
Collaborators: Safe Place, Save the Children, Safe Steps.
Modelling the health impact of housing interventions in Australia: an indoor temperature pilot
Inadequate housing is linked to poor health outcomes. However, it’s currently difficult to compare population health impacts of different housing interventions, as there is limited evidence and data, contributing to policy decisions being made with finite resources. Data on the cost to health-benefit ratio would be useful to inform policymakers which policy measures produce the best health outcomes at the best price.
This project will develop a computer simulation model that can quantify the potential impact of housing interventions on health. This technique has been applied in tobacco control, nutrition and cancer screening, and will be piloted here on indoor temperature of housing. Researchers with knowledge of simulation modelling, epidemiology, statistics, economics and housing will come together to assess the health gains from improving indoor temperature, which has cost-of-living and health implications.
Research team: Dr Ankur Singh, A/Prof Rebecca Bentley, (Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health), Dr Julie Miao (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning), Dr Saber Dini, Prof Tony Blakely (Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health)
Collaborators: Dr Lyrian Daniel, Prof Emma Baker (University of Adelaide), Dr Anja Mizdrak (University of Otago)
Is Neoliberalism driving a need for new skillsets for urban planners, developers and government stakeholders? A case study of Melbourne
New planning mechanisms were introduced by the Victorian Government in 2018 to facilitate the supply of affordable housing. These allow authorities such as local councils to enter into voluntary agreements with landowners to deliver affordable housing as part of new developments.
The success of these voluntary affordable housing agreements will inevitably rely on negotiation. This research project brings together researchers from property, urban planning, marketing and geography to investigate how developers, planners and government can reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Through a social responsibility lens, the research team will draw on psychological theories surrounding negotiation, information, manipulation and incentives to understand stakeholders’ capacity to negotiate. The framework developed in this project can then be further developed into action research to enhance negotiations of voluntary affordable housing agreements in Victoria.
Research team: Dr Georgia Warren-Myers, Dr Katrina Raynor (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning), Prof Angela Paladino, Dr Madeline Judge (Marketing, Faculty of Business and Economics)
Collaborators: Dr Matthew Palm, University of Toronto
Seed Funding Round 1 (2019): Call for Proposals
The Affordable Housing Hallmark Research Initiative will fund a series of research projects in 2019 that bring together researchers from across the University to explore topics related to affordable housing. The funds will be awarded from a total pool of $55,000 and will aim to generate new knowledge, insights, teams, impact and ideas.
The Seed Funding Program may allocate internal funds of up to $15,000 per research project and is designed to encourage cross-faculty collaboration.
Additional top-up funds available:
- $5,000 from the Connected Cities Lab for a project that proposes a clear engagement with international institutions, events or processes, with the goal of connecting cutting edge urban research about pressing global challenges for cities in developed and developing countries.
- $5,000 from the Melbourne Disability Institute for a project that addresses access or inclusion.
Round 1 Seed Funding closed on Friday 19 July 2019.
Affordable Housing HRI Launch, 21 May 2019
The launch event brought together experts from across the University of Melbourne and key government, industry and not-for-profit champions of affordable housing.
The program included the announcement of seed funding opportunities associated with the Initiative.
For more information about the Affordable Housing Hallmark Research Initiative, please email Holly Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OR, if you have questions or comments in relation to the Hallmark Research Initiatives program, please email: email@example.com