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'Without the Developer, Who Develops?' Collaborative Self-Development Experiences in Australian Cities

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Motivated by discontent with the quality, design, and cost of speculative multi-unit housing provision in Australia, households and professionals alike are increasingly seeking alternatives. Recent years have seen an increase in the number and diversity of households seeking to collectively self-develop multi-unit housing in our inner cities. Housing projects have formed from ground-up movements, professional provocations, and state and local government interventions. This paper first introduces the context within which project instigators propose 'developing without developers', to borrow the term coined by Christian Junge (2006) discussing German building groups. Secondly, it establishes a preliminary classification of project 'types' reflecting the current Australian experience. It then investigates how the different types of projects redistribute the tasks traditionally undertaken by developers. This is done through the thematic analysis of in-depth interviews with key professionals from housing projects currently 'developing without developers' in four major cities. Asking the question 'Without a developer, who develops?' the research identifies perspectives held by different professional groups. Outcomes can be used to direct future professional training programmes and increase the capacity for multi-unit self-development.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • 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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