An architect and urban designer has provided a glimpse into how affordability in Sydney could be managed in the years to come.
Speaking at a briefing event for the City of Sydney’s Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge, Dr Michal Zanardo, architect, urban designer and director of Studio Zanardo, said that in the past, Sydney has been unsuccessful in attempting to address the needs of affordable housing in the city.
“It’s 30 to 35 per cent of our population that we need to be housing in these developments. Even if we provide that in new developments, we’re playing catchup for decades,” Dr Zanardo said.
“We need to be providing a lot more a lot sooner.”
He said that there are some policies in NSW that attempt to address this like the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy) which has delivered boarding houses, but he labelled those as “quite terrible types of dwellings”.
Dr Zanardo also said that amenity is a major issue for affordable housing.
“Any form of affordable housing that tenants or owners will be spending a lot of time in, amenity is, needs to be unquestioned,” he said.
“It has to be provided and that particular policy lacks delivery of amenity.”
Where housing affordability is headed
Looking to the future, Dr Zanardo referred to SEPP 70, which related to how lord mayor Clover Moore’s proposal to collect money from developments for the purposes of affordable housing has been extended across all local governments in NSW, a plan which Dr Zanardo said had potential.
The City of Sydney council has also been able to create 835 affordable housing dwellings through levies collected from developers in Pyrmont, Ultimo and Green Square, and has been able to widen the area the levies target due to the rules allowing them to widen their net.
“Once all the councils get their plans together, there’s the potential for a wave of affordable housing in the coming years,” he said.
“The greater Sydney commission has said that we need 5 to 10 per cent of new projects to be affordable housing; they said it’s only on the uplift.
“We need to have a much higher percentage of affordable housing delivered almost in every project.”
Dr Zanardo added that land could also hold a key to the delivery of affordable housing in the future.
“Once a developer or whoever’s going to build that site knows that they have to deliver that affordable housing, the land price comes down, and it’s not that simple, but it’s an equation that if you pay less for the land, you can deliver this housing affordably,” he said.