The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

Three essential changes: NSW AIA criticises the state’s Affordable Housing Strategy

The NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, led by president Adam Haddow, voices concerns about the NSW Affordable Housing Strategy, citing a risk of abuse for financial gain. The Institute advocates for permanent affordable housing, management by registered non-profits and a restriction on development approval times to deter land banking.

Three essential changes: NSW AIA criticises the state’s Affordable Housing Strategy

Ashbury Terraces, a project concerned with questions of housing density, render courtesy of SJB.

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) NSW Chapter recently released a statement addressing the proposed Affordable Housing Strategy by the Minns Government. Although the government’s efforts to address housing scarcity were acknowledged, the AIA highlighted potential flaws in the legislation that may lead to an unintended financial windfall for developers over 15 years.

Currently in flux, the housing market has prompted the government to take measures to address the housing crisis. However, the AIA has taken issue with the proposed 30 per cent increase in residential apartment projects, which include a 15 per cent affordable housing provision, and has expressed concerns over the potential outcomes.

President NSW Chapter, AIA, Adam Haddow.

The AIA places particular concern on the 15-year limit imposed on the affordable housing provision. The Institute argues that this time constraint might not be sufficient for the necessary changes to occur in the housing environment, or for essential workers to improve their financial positions to return to the general rental market. In response, the Institute is calling for affordable housing provisions to be made permanent.

Registered non-profit organisations, says the AIA, should manage affordable housing to prevent potential corruption and mismanagement. By placing the management of these properties in the hands of such organisations, the Institute believes that the risk of exploitation can be mitigated.

Meanwhile, the final recommendation is to impose a time limit on development approvals to prevent the practice of land banking, wherein land is held without being developed for future profit. The AIA suggests a five-year limit for development consent on 30% uplift projects to discourage this.

Related: The missing middle of Sydney’s urban density with SJB

Lane Cove House by SAHA, winner at the NSW Architecture Awards 2023, photograph by Saskia Wilson.

According to the Institute, these three changes could significantly improve the proposed legislation and prevent an unintended 15-year financial advantage for developers. They believe that these modifications could assist in rebuilding the development industry’s relationship with the community.

Highlighting these concerns, the Institute advocates for more than architectural design and planning. They are pushing for the development of sustainable and equitable communities. Their statement emphasises the necessity for long-term solutions in housing strategy, with affordable housing as an accessible reality rather than a mere concept.

The AIA’s proposal outlines a housing strategy designed to endure, addressing potential areas of corruption and ensuring the integrity of housing provisions for the benefit of communities and essential workers. With these changes, the architects argue, the housing strategy could be better equipped to meet the long-term housing needs of the state.

Australian Institute of Architects (NSW)

We think you might also like this story on questions on housing in Victoria with Austin Maynard Architects.

INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed