Shortlist for City of Sydney’s house challenge to innovative affordable housing

Seven entries have been shortlisted for the City of Sydney’s house challenge, featuring innovative ideas for increasing affordable housing supply and reducing housing stress.

The shortlisted entries were whittled down from around 230 as part of the international challenge, which invited innovative housing ideas in the areas of delivery, financing, management, building, ownership and design.

They include options for the creative use of space, innovative financing arrangements and socially sustainable models that have been successful in other cities.

The challenge saw everyone from property professionals, planners and designers to researchers, property managers and students offer up their ideas. Those shortlisted receive $20,000 to further develop their concept, which could help shape the City’s approach to housing in the future.

Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said, “Sydney is grappling with a housing affordability crisis, but we need a diversity of housing to accommodate the diversity of our community.

“The City has assisted in the construction of 835 new affordable housing dwellings since 2004, by collecting levies from developers and selling our land to affordable housing providers at discount rates.

“This type of affordable housing allows key workers such as teachers, nurses and paramedics to live close to their place of work, improving their wellbeing, shortening travel times and reducing congestion.

“While this is a proven mechanism, it’s simply not enough. We need to meet the needs of low-income workers, elderly residents and families in our city.

“In addition to sustained investment in social and affordable housing by State and Federal governments, we need new ideas to increase affordable housing supply, so I’m excited that we received such a diverse array of ideas that we increased the shortlist from six to seven.

“We anticipate that the successful projects will be replicable, scalable and provide lessons for future initiatives.”

The seven shortlisted entries are:

  • An equity housing model that provides affordability through innovations in financing and ownership types from Eddie Ma, co-founder of Sydney-based spatial design practice, Vigilanti.
  • A smart home that monitors its residents and collects data to offset costs for residents by Joe Colistra and Nilou Vakil in Kansas, principal architects with US firm, in situ Design and instructors at the University of Kansas.
  • A metropolitan lands trust policy framework from researcher Dr Louise Crabtree at Western Sydney University and Jason Twill of Urban Apostles, an urban advisory and property development firm specialising in creative city making and alternative housing.
  • Temporary pop up shelters which repurpose buildings to provide crisis and transitional accommodation in the short to medium term from founder and director of Housing All Australians, Robert Pradolin.
  • A Right Size Service allowing residents to adapt the size and function of their property as their circumstances change from Dr Alysia Bennett, Monash University, Dr Dana Cuff, UCLA’s cityLAB and Monash University and Dr Damian Madigan, University of South Australia.
  • The Pixel Project that would establish radically affordable, high amenity dwellings that match more closely the way people live in the city today, from Anita Panov and Andrew Scott at panovscott Architects and Alexander Symes of Alexander Symes Architect.
  • A cooperative housing model adapting the Zurich ‘non-profit build-to-rent’ model to the Sydney context by associate director at MGS Architects Katherine Sundermann, urban strategist Alexis Kalagas and urban designer Andy Fergus.
  • Vigilanti co-founder Eddie Ma’s equity housing model explores ways to provide affordable housing to moderate and low income earners through innovations in financing and ownership type. The model allows a mix of lifetime leases, affordable and social housing in a flexible rental model.

Submissions were considered by an independent jury led by the housing challenge registrar, Stephen Varady.

The City will provide funding to develop the seven shortlisted ideas over the next five months.

Once this development stage is complete, the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the shortlisted concepts in November and December.

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