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Community Mix, Affordable Housing and Metropolitan Planning Strategy in Melbourne

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Income segregation across Melbourne's residential communities is widening, and at a pace faster than in some other Australian cities. The widening gap between Melbourne's rich and poor communities raises fears about concentrations of poverty and social exclusion, particularly if the geography of these communities is such that they and their residents are increasingly isolated from urban services and employment centres. Social exclusion in our metropolitan areas and the government responses to it are commonly thought to be the proper domain of social and economic policy. The role of urban planning is typically neglected, yet it helps shape the economic opportunities available to communities in its attempts to influence the geographical location of urban services, infrastructure and jobs. Under the current metropolitan strategy Melbourne 2030 urban services and transport infrastructure are to be concentrated within Principal Activity Centres spread throughout the metropolitan area and it is the intention that lower-income households should have ready access to these activity centres. However, the Victorian state government has few housing policy instruments to achieve this goal and there are fears that community mix may suffer as house prices and rents are bid up in the vicinity of Principal Activity Centres, and lower-income households are displaced. But are these fears justified by the changing geography of house prices in the metropolitan region? This is the key research question addressed in this paper which examines whether the Victorian practice of placing reliance on the market to deliver affordable housing, while intervening to promote a more compact pattern of urban settlement, is effective.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 16 September 2008

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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