Addressing Housing Affordability will enable the creation of more socially and economically sustainable communities. The below is an extract of the 2014 Future Cities Program Alumni Communique that made Housing Affordability a key issue for New South Wales communities.

Download the Housing Affordability Communique

The delivery of housing to first homebuyers, renters, key workers and the disadvantaged poses a significant issue across the state of NSW. For local government there are currently very few meaningful ways to respond to this challenge to deliver both housing that is affordable relative to household incomes and financially assisted “affordable housing”. The social dislocation and economic disadvantage caused by the inability to deliver housing of the form and price of that required by key segments of the market is likely to continue to worsen unless meaningful and urgent measures are not taken. For example in Pittwater there is a significant net migration out of the area for 18-34 year olds as these people leave their family, friends and network and move to areas of a lower price point and areas with strong job opportunities and an affordable rental market.

Similarly where key workers cannot afford to live in the community they work there are significant negative impacts on service availability and economic growth. This also has the flow on impact of significant worker commutes to and from work including congestion, lost productivity, and social impacts on families and relationships.

The current federal and state taxation arrangements including negative gearing, capital gains and stamp duty favour existing property owners and investors place upward pressure on property prices. In addition, studies have identified a disconnect between the housing stock currently being provided (detached dwellings) and that desired by consumers having regard for tradeoffs between location, price and size of dwelling (semi attached dwellings and flats).

In the United States cities have addressed housing affordability and affordable housing through a number of levers created at a local, state and federal government level including the provision of tax incentives for corporations to assist in affordable housing projects, affordable housing targets, inclusionary zoning, and increased diversity of housing products (e.g. decoupling car parking requirements). Keys to success have been strong leadership and a whole of metropolitan approach to address the issue in a coordinated manner.


  • A clear state government housing policy position.
  • A metropolitan plan supported by sub regional strategies that sets housing targets with progress reported on an annual basis.
  • Local and state planning policies that facilitates affordable housing and diversity of housing product including inclusionary zoning.
  • A review of taxation barriers and incentives.


  • Increased housing stock and enhanced housing diversity.
  • Increased home ownership.
  • Economic growth and increased productivity.

Housing Affordability Communique: Can You Afford To Live Where You Choose? Local approaches to making it affordable for people to live in their communities.

“There is a great need for councils to develop affordable/key-worker housing strategies to contest housing affordability in areas undergoing urban renewal. This will not only provide socially diverse and sustainable communities but will importantly increase local economic productivity.” – Councillor Neil Kenzler, City of Canada Bay

The Future Cities Collaborative aims to support our member cities to build great places for people to live and work. One of our vehicles is case based applied research that illustrates what can be achieve locally, and then collectively inform the broader public policy response.

What sits behind the term “affordable housing” is creating and maintaining equitable communities for people to live and work, where economic and social diversity is embraced and fostered. The success of adopting inclusionary housing rests as much with good policy as with the willingness of industry partners and community stakeholders to create diverse communities. We hope that the Communique extends and challenges the discussion on how to respond to this challenge.

Profiled in the Communique are 3 local approaches that inspired councillors and staff have championed. We acknowledge that the projects undertaken here are not addressing the housing stress that is being experienced across the Sydney Metropolitan area, but it goes some way to inspire and inform alternative policy options that we collectively need to explore. – importantly what is also lays out are recommendations on how to bring their approaches to scale.

On behalf of the Collaborative, I would like to thank the City of Canada Bay, Pittwater and Waverley Councils for taking a leadership position in developing approaches to start to address the housing affordability crisis in our communities; the City of Canada Bay for its generous support; the city members of the Future Cities Collaborative for their contributions and review of the project; Catherine Gilbert as the lead researcher and Dr David Rosen for the insights and expertise which he brought to the project.

– Sandy Burgoyne, Director of the Future Cities Collaborative 

Case Study Selection:

New South Wales Case Study definition is as follows:

  • Canada Bay – Delivering affordable housing as part of urban renewal in Canada Bay
  • Pittwater – Opportunities to secure housing for young people in Pittwater
  • Waverley – Delivering and managing social and affordable housing in Waverley

Download the Communique:

Can You Afford To Live Where You Choose?

Housing Affordability Resources

The Future Cities Collaborative has engaged a leading American public policy, finance, and development consultant, Dr David Rosen, to assist our member councils devise policies and strategies to enable them to deliver affordable housing.

Dr David Rosen – Principal, DRA Consultants


David Rosen, Ph.D. is
a recognised authority in the fields of affordable housing 
finance, inclusionary housing, redevelopment, real estate economics, and renewable energy. Dr. Rosen is expert in
 affordable housing deal structuring, value capture analysis,
capital markets and asset management. Dr Rosen’s firm, DRA Principals, have 
advised on more than $9.0 billion in development finance. Dr. Rosen has represented public and private sector clients in more than 220 jurisdictions. Clients include FHA, Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Bank System and others.

Dr. Rosen led a national research effort funded by the Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations to conduct a government-wide review of $7 trillion in federal finance, tax, lending, spending and regulatory programs and policies as they affect real estate investment and smart growth. Dr. Rosen was invited on numerous occasions to provide briefings to the White House and senior Administration officials in half a dozen agencies, presenting DRA’s policy recommendations to the Obama Administration.

Dr. Rosen has advised state agencies, for profit and nonprofit development corporations, agricultural enterprises and financial institutions on energy efficiency and renewable energy finance and development. Dr. Rosen is a widely published author and frequent national speaker on affordable housing and energy finance policy and practice.

Dr. Rosen earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Columbia University and his Doctorate in Public Policy from the Union Institute.



Policy Papers: 


Watch as Ten Eyewitness News interviewed Coucillor Jacqueline Townsend, Mayor of Pittwater Council, on her idea of “Young Folks Homes” – start-up, affordable, housing for young people in her community.