Extract from an article by Kate Shaw
A recent suggestion that new housing on inner-city public land should start from a presumption of 100% social housing prompted indignation in government circles. “We can’t condemn another generation of Victorians to live in housing poverty,” huffed the housing minister, Martin Foley.
It’s curious, then, that we heard barely a peep about the latest government announcement that the height of an apartment tower associated with the Queen Victoria Market makeover will be reduced by removing the original affordable housing component to a separate, smaller development.
It is tempting to conclude that both responses accord, naturally, with the interests of the developers of private housing. But that would be to over-simplify the complex issue of social mix. It is increasingly clear there is no one-size-fits-all.
The principle of social mix now routinely drives public housing estate renewals and new housing builds on surplus public land. This is usually expressed in a 50:50 mix of social (public and community) and private housing, though the social component is often much smaller. As the stock of public land is ever diminishing, and affordable housing is in such short supply, this is problematic.
I have argued before that government commitments to social mix are often disingenuous. They are more likely to be driven by an ideological imperative to privatise public assets, or at best to secure upgrades to public housing without having to fund them directly.
What does the evidence tell us?
Soon-to-be-published research by Abdullahi Jama and I on the Carlton public housing estate redevelopment supports these conclusions.
Our findings show that public and private residents on the new estate are not mixed. They are divided into separate buildings with separate gardens, explicitly with a view to increasing the value of the private apartments…(continues)
SOURCE: Kate Shaw, “Social mix in housing? One size doesn’t fit all, as new projects show”, The Conversation, 21 June 2017
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