Essays on The Relationship between Urban Planning and Housing Affordability in Australia Coursework

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The paper "The Relationship between Urban Planning and Housing Affordability in Australia" is an outstanding example of marketing coursework.   A number of studies have been carried out in an attempt to establish the relationship between urban planning and housing affordability in Australia. The main thrust behind the arguments presented is that urban planning as a process has cost implications for housing. Consequently, it is implied that urban planners have a direct role in affordable housing as an outcome and one of the social objectives of urban planning according to Yates and Milligan (2007).

Urban planners thus have to exercise their responsibilities to achieve the objective of housing affordability or in essence, affordable housing. What are the roles of urban planners? The role of urban planners is that of translating objectives into strategies. In relation to the government, urban planners convert political objectives such as the provision of affordable housing into detailed strategies to achieve the same. In the case of urban planners, the goal of the strategy is to achieve municipal objectives. There are three broad roles or responsibilities for urban planners which have implications for housing costs; regulation, public infrastructure provision and taxation.

Planners have a technical role in achieving desired outcomes- they assist in drafting and implementing legislation and policies, addressing socio-economic and ecological problems and facilitate research and community consultation (Yates & Milligan 2007). Therefore, urban planners exercise some degree of control over the supply and prices of housing in their jurisdictions since their roles have a number of cost implications for housing. Urban planning as a process thus has “ powers” relation to housing which refers to the implications of the roles and responsibilities of urban planners on the supply of housing.

For instance, planning regulations, among other things, can restrict or control land use affecting the amount of land available for housing developments (Beer 2004). Planning regulations may also control the density, design and configuration of new housing structures and thus affect the costs associated with new housing developments. Planning regulations can thus control or restrict the supply of housing or conversely meet the needs of low income earning households (Beer 2004). They restrict the supply through the restrictions on land use and release of new land and meet the needs of low-income earners by using tools such as planning bonuses. The nature of planning regulations also affects the type of housing to be availed in the market.

If planning regulations are stringent or impose a heavier regulatory burden on developers, they are more likely to prefer investing in the high-end market or more expensive housing as a means of recouping the higher costs due to the tight regulatory environment (Gurran et al 2008). On the other hand, if planning regulations do not impose such heavy regulatory burdens, developers will avail more affordable housing options although at the risk of lower standards and negative side effects of deregulation such as urban sprawl and congestion. Urban Planning and Housing Affordability How is urban planning linked to housing affordability?

To establish the relationship between urban planning and housing affordability, one needs to have a working definition of housing affordability as a concept. Housing affordability is directly linked to the availability of affordable housing. Affordable housing is the particular sector of the housing industry which provides a sufficient supply of housing and housing development opportunities affordable to or accessible by low and moderate-income earners according to Gurran (2008).

This applies across the board from the public, rental to private housing. According to housing is considered affordable if the rental costs or mortgage payments do not exceed 30 percent of household incomes (Gurran et al 2008). Other definitions such as that used by the Queensland Government Housing Department stipulate that housing is considered affordable if it does not exceed 30 percent of the household incomes of the bottom 40 percent income earners (Disney 2007).

However, housing affordability is not merely limited to lower costs or prices of the housing units themselves but also extends to other considerations. Affordability is enhanced if the housing is located in close proximity to public services and transport which lowers costs for the household. Locating affordable housing near services also reduces urban sprawl and congestion, lowers infrastructural costs and has environmental benefits (Beer 2004). The design of the house can also enhance affordability if it is made from eco-friendly and low-cost materials and is energy efficient-all these contribute to lower costs (Karuppannan and Sivam 2009).

The affordable houses should also cater to the social needs of groups such as families who should be able to find housing close to areas where they have ties.


Been, V., 2005, Impact Fees and Housing Affordability, Cityscape, 8(1):139-185.

Beer, A., 2004, Housing Affordability and planning in Australia, Flinders University, Adelaide.

Berry, M., 2006, Housing affordability and the economy: A review of labour market impacts and policy issues, National Research Venture 3: Housing Affordability for Lower Income Australians, Research Paper 5. AHURI, Melbourne.

Department of Housing, 2004, Affordable Housing Design Guidelines, Queensland Department of Housing.

Disney, J., 2007, Affordable Housing in Australia: Some key problems and priorities for action, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Melbourne.

Gurran et al, 2008, New directions in planning for affordable housing: Australian and international evidence and implications, Final Report, AHURI, Melbourne.

Gurran, N., 2007, Australian Urban Land Use Planning, Sydney University Press, Sydney.

Gurran, N., 2008, Affordable Housing; A Dilemma for Metropolitan Planning? Urban Policy and Research, 26(1), pp. 101-110.

Milligan, V. & Pinnegar, S., 2009, Recent developments in housing policy in Australia in comparative perspective. Paper prepared for International Housing Conference Housing Assets, Housing People Glasgow September 1- 4 2009.

Yates, J. & Milligan, V., 2007, Housing Affordability: a 21st Century Problem, Final Report, National Research Venture 3: Housing Affordability for Lower Income Australians, AHURI, Melbourne.

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