Tackling The Affordable Housing Crisis

Cities around the world are trialing innovative approaches to housing in order to combat an affordable housing crisis.

In 2019, a global survey of 200 countries found that 90% were classed as unaffordable to live in if taking into account a measurement standard where housing costs more than three times the median income. 

This is not a new crisis. Rising property prices, and a lack of adequate housing supply, in some of the world’s biggest cities, have long pushed many towards the brink of a housing catastrophe. 

But what is new is the realisation by many cities that in order to stay attractive, and importantly to prevent a brain drain, they must find creative and innovative ways to tackle the crisis. 

Bringing together the public and private sector is one way to tackle the growing housing crisis. Cities and private developers understand that they need each other’s help to build more affordable housing, and finding ways to cooperate together is one way to do this. 

The private sector brings their experience of building housing and importantly, their capital to the table. The public sector is able to modify land-use regulations to free up more land for this housing, and speed track property developments in terms of building approval processes. 

In Australia the state government of New South Wales is bringing together private developers, as well as community housing groups to pioneer a cooperative approach to housing, that will see 23,000 social housing units undergo renewal, along with the development of a joining affordable-private housing project. Profits made from the private developments will then be re-invested in building more social housing, along with community facilities and spaces. Bringing together the public and private sector is one way to tackle the growing housing crisis. 

In both Melbourne and Toronto mixed public and private housing developments see a percentage of the apartments built sold at market price, which in turns allows the remainder to be sold at subsidized prices through reduced deposit and mortgage payments. This then creates a pool of affordable housing for those who need it, and allows cities to retain their diverse communities. 

In Bristol, cooperation between a housing association, a community investment company and a private investor is leading to the construction of 161 homes on the site of what once was a primary school. Some of the homes will be sold at the market rate, others will be sold as part of social housing schemes.  Cities need to be creative in how they use existing buildings and sites to create more housing options, if they are to prevent not only a mass exodus of young professionals, but also of the essential workers that make a city function: police and fire officers, nurses and young doctors, transport workers and teachers. 

Bringing together the public and private sector is one way to tackle the growing housing crisis. Cities and private developers understand that they need each other’s help to build more affordable housing, and finding ways to cooperate together is one way to do this.  

Co-living developed out of a need to provide new housing options for urban dwellers. It recognised, long before many urban and local governments did, that cities needed a new approach to housing that put residents first. Co-living developers recognised the need for a creative approach to housing that balances housing and community needs. 





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