Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute National Research Program (AHURI)
Inquiry into increasing affordable housing supply: evidence-based principles and strategies for Australian policy and practice
$ 351,000

Inquiry Leader, Professor Nicole Gurran

This Inquiry examines efforts to increase affordable housing supply, focusing on government-industry partnerships, planning levers and 'best practice' housing projects. Informed by international and local practice, it identifies principles and policy options for different market contexts and will develop a model for estimating affordability outcomes for various policy scenarios in different market contexts.

Henry Halloran Trust, Research Incubator
Urban Housing Lab@Sydney: Predictive analytics and policy platform for Sydney’s housing market

Prof Nicole Gurran, Dr Somwrita Sarkar, Dr Jennifer Kent

Housing is a central component of urban infrastructure, yet provision of appropriate and affordable housing near transport and jobs remains a key challenge. Addressing this challenge depends on better understanding the mechanics of the housing market and how policy interventions – like urban planning – might enhance housing outcomes. Building on the big-data capacity of UrbanLab@Sydney, this Incubator constructs a research platform for examining housing market dynamics in Sydney and potential levers for change. Research fostered within the Incubator will connect to wider scholarship on planning, infrastructure, the market and big-data analytics while distilling key implications for urban policy and practice.
Project website:

ARC DP150100991
Governing urban energy transitions: reconfiguring spaces, sites, subjects

Prof Pauline McGuirk; Prof Robyn Dowling

Transitioning energy consumption and provision away from fossil fuels toward renewable resources is an urgent priority for Australia. Yet the forms of governance required to facilitate these transitions, especially for critically important cities, are not well developed nor well understood. In a novel analysis of the materiality of governance, this project investigates the pathways, practices, and political dynamics of energy transitions in Australia's two largest cities. Through a focus on CBDs and suburban office parks it identifies opportunities for and barriers to transition. It sheds new light on the limits and potentials of urban energy transitions and provides an evidence base to inform policy and governance interventions.

Henry Halloran Trust, Blue Sky Projects
Mass-movements: what are the impacts of rapid greenfield development on wellbeing, connection and crime?

Dr Garner Clancey, Dr Jennifer Kent

The population of Camden local government area (LGA), part of the South-West Growth Corridor, is projected to increase by 192.67% between 2015 and 2036 (.id, 2014). This is the largest forecasted percentage increase in any LGA in Australia. Available data suggests that new residents moving to this growth corridor are likely to experience lengthy commutes to work and higher than average mortgage and financial stress. This project will explore the impacts of these conditions on social connections, guardianship, supervision of children and crime.

ARC LE160100221
Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities
(2016 - 2016)

Prof Julian Thomas; Prof Dr Peter Newton; A/Prof Ellie Rennie; A/Prof Denise Meyer; A/Prof Jeremy Watkins; Prof Jago Dodson; Prof Bruce Wilson; Dr Ian McShane; Prof Richard Sinnott; Prof Peter Phibbs; Prof Gerard Goggin

Linked data policy hub stage II: urban and regional planning and communications: This project aims to build on existing investments in open access knowledge infrastructure to develop collections of policy documentation and data and new tools for problem solving and analysis. Australia's ability to respond effectively to future economic, social and environmental challenges depends on our national capacity to develop and implement efficient and effective public policy. By enabling efficient universal access to historical and archived policy material, the project aims to provide critical research infrastructure that supports innovative approaches to Australian public policy research. This is expected to affect areas such as urban and regional community development and sustainability, planning and design of built and natural environments, infrastructure development, communications, and social and economic innovation.

ARC DP140102393
Beyond the Private Car: Personal Mobility Futures in Australia

Prof Robyn Dowling

Australian urban dwellers' reliance on the private car is a worsening dilemma for policy makers seeking more sustainable alternatives. The identification and nourishing of these alternatives is hindered by conceptual frameworks in which the private car is seen to be the only transport mode that offers independence and flexibility. This project breaks new ground in this transport conundrum in two ways. It develops a framework in which to understand how non-private-car transport forms sustain both individual independence and the environment. It provides evidence on the everyday and governance contexts in which individualised, non-private-car mobility can flourish.

Henry Halloran Trust, Blue Sky Projects
UrbanLab@Sydney: Building an open access data system for urban planning policy

Dr Somwrita Sarkar, Prof. Nicole Gurran, A/Prof. Martin Tomitsch

UrbanLab@Sydney aims to establish a system or platform that can be enhanced in the future via the addition of new data variables and analytical approaches, extending to a range of other urban issues and focus areas, subject to resources. It will be the first of its kind in any university across Australia to develop an online, publicly accessible system for data analysis, information visualization, and policy relevant commentary on urban planning and city science research in Australia.
Project website:

ARC DP110105218
Measuring the impact of urban regulation on housing affordability in Australian cities and regions

Prof. Nicole Gurran, Dr Steven Rowley; Prof Alan H Peters; Dr Heather MacDonald; Prof Peter J Phibbs

Urban planning must ensure that development meets new environmental goals, but stringent regulation may reduce housing supply and affordability. This project uses new local planning data and econometric studies to quantify and monitor planning regulation impacts on housing supply and affordability in Australian cities and regions.

The Sydney Network on Climate Change and Society

Prof Rosemary Lyster, Prof David Schlosberg, Dr Howard Bamsey, Alison Basford, Prof Maria Byrne, Dr Lynne Chester, Dr Linda Connor, Dr Danielle Celermajer, Dr Caitilin de Berigny, Dr William Figueira, Dr Paul Giles, AProf Nicole Gurran, Dr Jodi Frawley, Prof Iain McCalman, Prof Elspeth Probyn and Prof Christopher Wright.

Climate change in particular is widely seen as the most urgent expression of this problem. While many of the efforts of climate change scholars have rightly focused on bringing attention to potential impacts and attempting to prevent broad change, the evidence now indicates that change has arrived, and will continue and expand. The cross-disciplinary human and social implications of these developments are broad, interrelated – and underdeveloped. In the coming years, what we mean by ‘the environment’ will be both irreversibly changed and ever changing, with profound consequences for nature, the social world, and their complex interactions. Reverting to a more ‘natural’ or familiar world is not an option; the challenge ahead lies in how human societies understand and adapt to the changes we have wrought to both nature and ourselves.