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Homes for People - influencing apartment living for tomorrow

The City of Melbourne last week released their draft housing strategy that fundamentally deals with the expected challenges, requirements and future expectations for Australia's fastest growing municipality. Council maintains that housing, which into the future will predominantly consist of apartment living, plays a large role in the health and quality of life for residents, communities and the economy. As such City of Melbourne considers it to be one of the largest, most complex issues that requires considered and continual attention.

Titled Homes for People, the strategy is now reliant upon community feedback in order for City of Melbourne to:

Achieve our established aspiration for an inner and central city where housing is affordable, well-designed and meets the diverse needs of our residents. It concentrates on new housing in our growth areas (our urban renewal areas and the Hoddle Grid) where the majority of new housing will occur. The strategy focuses on apartments as they are, and will continue to be, the predominant housing choice in the municipality.

Since 2001, Melbourne's residential population has doubled to beyond 116,000. Projections show Melbourne's 2021 resident population will swell to over 150,000 people and near 200,000 by 2031. With this in mind the provision of "Good quality, affordable housing is one of the biggest and most complex issues" City of Melbourne must grapple with.

Chair of the Future Melbourne Planning Committee, Cr Ken Ong on the topic

Housing plays a big part in the health and quality of life of our residents, our communities and our economy. Affordable and high quality housing in the inner city is good for the economy because it brings people close to where they work and encourages investment and job growth. Through Homes for People the City of Melbourne is taking steps to ensure Melbourne has diversity in its housing stock to preserve our liveability.

As our city gets bigger, our apartments don’t need to get smaller. High density doesn’t mean low quality.

Housing challenges as defined by Council

  • There is a need for more affordable (subsidised) housing in the municipality
  • The number of vacant apartments is increasing, without a drop in rental prices
  • Tax structures favour homeowners and property investors
  • Our problem is not land supply
  • High land values and construction costs are impacting affordability, housing mix and design quality
  • Development finance and viability are crucial to deliver new housing
  • Investors have a dominant influence on the (lack of) housing mix and quality
  • Buying a home in the inner city is outside the reach of many households
  • High levels of housing supply isn’t delivering a good housing mix and social diversity
  • Quality, amenity and performance are decreasing while density is increasing
  • The majority of high-rise housing in our municipality delivers poor environmental performance
  • Mix and affordability impact on long-term community building and support for a vibrant cultural life

Housing for People goals

Chair of Future Melbourne People City portfolio, Cr Richard Foster has on behalf of Council invited the community to get involved.

We want to work with stakeholders to help provide more affordable housing and develop good housing design standards. We also want to ensure both renters and buyers have the know-how they need about good quality homes. We want to help provide more than 1700 affordable homes for low and moderate income earners by 2021.

See City of Melbourne's ideas, wants, intentions and questions for current and future Melbourne apartment dwellers and get involved by providing feedback at http://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/homesforpeople.

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