Keynote Speakers

Professor Ken Gibb

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Ken Gibb is professor of housing economics in the school of social and political sciences and director of Policy Scotland, both at the University of Glasgow. Ken has researched housing finance, economics and policy for more than 25 years. Recent research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Scottish Government, AHURI and the Wheatley Group. Ken is leading a new international housing knowledge exchange project with colleagues and practitioners in the UK, Canada and Australia.  Ken is a former head of department and associate dean at the University of Glasgow. He also spent 10 years as managing editor of the Urban Studies journal. Ken has also been actively involved with Sanctuary housing association in Scotland and at UK board level and advised the Scottish Parliament’s infrastructure and capital investment committee. Further details on publications can be found here.

 

 

Diverging Paths? Housing Policy in Scotland and England after Devolution

It was thought when devolution was enacted in 1999 that one benefit from the process would be to explore social policy differentiation, to conduct experiments in one jurisdiction or part of it to see if it had wider currency and more broadly learn what works from the proliferation of local innovation. Seventeen years on we certainly have considerable housing policy divergence both in terms of ends and means and considerable local policy innovations not replicated on the other side of the respective English and Scottish borders. It would be hard to argue however that there has been much genuine lesson learning, cross border sharing or even common thinking about such things. Rather we have a series of politicised phases and a sense of divergence accelerating after the demise of New Labour in Scotland and the UK and the rise of austerity in Whitehall and Nationalism in Holyrood. Nonetheless, there has been considerable interdependence alongside sharing of new policies to suit local needs, if carried out in a rather messy and incoherent fashion (after all, we should not imagine that housing policy was anything else regardless of the implications of devolution).

This paper attempts to make sense of this process by looking at the conceptual questions, the track record for four major housing policy questions (social housing investment and affordable models of housing; housing market policy; welfare reform; and, homelessness), and to shed light on the underlying trade-offs, contradictions and interdependencies that prevent this area from being a neat and tidy devolved area of responsibility. The paper concludes by reviewing two key contemporary battlegrounds: the decisive if nonetheless confusing shift in policy goals signalled by the UK Government since the general election in June 2015 and the possibilities (and tensions) that arise from the proposed financial and wider powers associated with further devolution to the Scottish Parliament.

 

Professor Nicole Gurran

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Nicole Gurran is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney, where she directs the University’s AHURI (Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute) research centre. She also leads Urban Housing Lab@Sydney, a research ‘incubator’ funded in 2015 by the Henry Halloran Trust. Nicole’s research focuses on the interface between urban planning and the housing system, and has been funded by AHURI, the Australian Research Council, and state and local governments. Her book Australian Urban Land Use Planning; Principles, Systems and Practice, now in its second edition (SUP, 2011) explains and compares planning systems and policies in Australia, including detailed coverage of planning approaches for delivering diverse and affordable housing supply.  Forthcoming publications include Politics, Planning and Housing Supply (Routledge, with Nick Gallent and Rebecca Chiu) and Urban planning and the housing market: international perspectives for policy and practice (Palgrave Macmillan, with Glen Bramley). Prior to joining the University of Sydney in 2001, Nicole worked for the NSW state government as a housing analyst and urban planner.

 

 

 

Permission impossible? Planning and the Supply of Affordable Homes

With house prices in nations like New Zealand and Australia now amongst the highest in the world, debates about the role of land use planning in constraining housing supply and intensifying affordability pressures remain unresolved. This presentation explores these debates, canvassing both the public policy discourse as well as the empirical research literature on urban planning and the supply and price of new homes. Since much research uses housing markets and planning systems in North America and the United Kingdom as a point of reference, particular attention is placed on how international evidence and experience might translate to Australasia. Whether or not current approaches to land use planning explain the current shortage of affordable homes in metropolitan Australia and New Zealand, many other countries routinely use land use planning mechanisms to mandate inclusion of low cost homes in new and renewing communities.

 

The presentation concludes with an overview of contemporary inclusionary planning measures which predominate in the global cities of the US and Europe but remain nascent in Australasia. While inclusionary planning approaches have many limitations, their strength lies in seeking to ensure that the benefits of public infrastructure investment and urban development are not solely capitalised in house and land values, and in counteracting socio-spatial polarisation. In the case of Australia at least, the presentation highlights how a failure to secure affordable homes for low and moderate income groups in successive housing development and redevelopment processes since the early 1990s, has helped exacerbate spatial sorting by wealth in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. With planning system reform again on the agenda, the question is what types of changes will best support the supply of affordable homes?   

 

 

Nicole GurranProfessor Nicole Gurran

 

Nicole Gurran is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney, where she directs the University’s AHURI (Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute) research centre. She also leads Urban Housing Lab@Sydney, a research ‘incubator’ funded in 2015 by the Henry Halloran Trust. Nicole’s research focuses on the interface between urban planning and the housing system, and has been funded by AHURI, the Australian Research Council, and state and local governments. Her book Australian Urban Land Use Planning; Principles, Systems and Practice, now in its second edition (SUP, 2011) explains and compares planning systems and policies in Australia, including detailed coverage of planning approaches for delivering diverse and affordable housing supply.  Forthcoming publications include Politics, Planning and Housing Supply (Routledge, with Nick Gallent and Rebecca Chiu) and Urban planning and the housing market: international perspectives for policy and practice (Palgrave Macmillan, with Glen Bramley). Prior to joining the University of Sydney in 2001, Nicole worked for the NSW state government as a housing analyst and urban planner.

 

 

 

Permission impossible? Planning and the Supply of Affordable Homes

 

With house prices in nations like New Zealand and Australia now amongst the highest in the world, debates about the role of land use planning in constraining housing supply and intensifying affordability pressures remain unresolved. This presentation explores these debates, canvassing both the public policy discourse as well as the empirical research literature on urban planning and the supply and price of new homes. Since much research uses housing markets and planning systems in North America and the United Kingdom as a point of reference, particular attention is placed on how international evidence and experience might translate to Australasia. Whether or not current approaches to land use planning explain the current shortage of affordable homes in metropolitan Australia and New Zealand, many other countries routinely use land use planning mechanisms to mandate inclusion of low cost homes in new and renewing communities.

 

The presentation concludes with an overview of contemporary inclusionary planning measures which predominate in the global cities of the US and Europe but remain nascent in Australasia. While inclusionary planning approaches have many limitations, their strength lies in seeking to ensure that the benefits of public infrastructure investment and urban development are not solely capitalised in house and land values, and in counteracting socio-spatial polarisation. In the case of Australia at least, the presentation highlights how a failure to secure affordable homes for low and moderate income groups in successive housing development and redevelopment processes since the early 1990s, has helped exacerbate spatial sorting by wealth in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. With planning system reform again on the agenda, the question is what types of changes will best support the supply of affordable homes?