New ideas to tackle Sydney’s housing crisis


From smart homes with biometric readers to pop up shelters in unused building stock, the City of Sydney has heard of some new and novel ways of tackling the city’s housing affordability crisis over the last week.

Jurors from the City of Sydney have selected seven entries for alternative housing models to tackle the question of affordable housing supply around the city.

The shortlisted entries were whittled down from around 230 as part of the international challenge, which invited innovative housing ideas in the areas of delivery, financing, management, building, ownership and design.

“Sydney is grappling with a housing affordability crisis, but we need a diversity of housing to accommodate the diversity of our community,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“The City has assisted in the construction of 835 new affordable housing dwellings since 2004, by collecting levies from developers and selling our land to affordable housing providers at discount rates. This type of affordable housing allows key workers such as teachers, nurses and paramedics to live close to their place of work, improving their wellbeing, shortening travel times and reducing congestion.

“We’re proud to announce our final shortlist, offering new ideas for alternative and affordable housing solutions to help meet the needs of our community and beyond. We anticipate that the successful projects will be replicable, scalable and provide lessons for future initiatives.”

The seven shortlisted entries are:

  • An equity housing model that provides affordability through innovations in financing and ownership types from Eddie Ma, co-founder of Sydney-based spatial design practice, Vigilanti.

  • A smart home that monitors its residents and collects data to offset costs for residents by Joe Colistra and Nilou Vakil in Kansas, principal architects with US firm, in situ Design and instructors at the University of Kansas.

  • A metropolitan lands trust policy framework from researcher Dr Louise Crabtree at Western Sydney University and Jason Twill of Urban Apostles, an urban advisory and property development firm specialising in creative city making and alternative housing.

  • Temporary pop up shelters which repurpose buildings to provide crisis and transitional accommodation in the short to medium term from founder and director of Housing All Australians, Robert Pradolin.

  • A Right Size Service allowing residents to adapt the size and function of their property as their circumstances change from Dr Alysia Bennett, Monash University, Dr Dana Cuff, UCLA’s cityLAB and Monash University and Dr Damian Madigan, University of South Australia.

  • The Pixel Project that would establish radically affordable, high amenity dwellings that match more closely the way people live in the city today, from Anita Panov and Andrew Scott at panovscott Architects and Alexander Symes of Alexander Symes Architect.

  • A cooperative housing model adapting the Zurich ‘non-profit build-to-rent’ model to the Sydney context by associate director at MGS Architects Katherine Sundermann, urban strategist Alexis Kalagas and urban designer Andy Fergus.

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