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Our partners in focus: Combating Sydney's housing crisis

Dr Nicole Gurran

Dr Nicole Gurran

Sydney is in the midst of a housing crisis. Severe house price inflation, combined with a chronic shortage of affordable rental accommodation, have placed particular pressure on low-income groups, who are increasingly resorting to overcrowded and inadequate housing. 

Those at the frontline are well aware of Sydney’s ‘hidden household’ problem, but its extent is unknown, meaning that there is a lack of effective policy tools and interventions to improve the situation for vulnerable groups.

To determine the drivers of illegal, informal and inadequate housing provision and identify key risks to householders and renters, the lab supported Dr Nicole Gurran and her project team from the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning to document the provision of informal and illegal accommodation in metropolitan Sydney.

The findings will form the evidence base for immediate policy interventions and develop a systematic basis for ongoing research and monitoring.

The project was undertaken by a cross-disciplinary team in partnership with local government and union organisations. Increased policy awareness encouraged the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to ask the team to undertake a quantitative study to estimate non-standard housing in Sydney.

Project team: Dr Nicole Gurran, Dr Madeleine Pill, Professor Peter Phibbs, Dr Sophie Maalsen, Dr Tooran Alizadeh, Associate Professor Kurt Iveson, Dr Pranita Shrestha

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