Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Emma Baker, Reader in Housing, University of Adelaide
image

In his 1972 election campaign, Gough Whitlam loudly proclaimed that in modern Australia an individual’s health, wellbeing and life chances were shaped more by where they lived than by the job they held, their religion, race or ethnicity.

It was a powerful statement that spoke to an Australian population scarred by decades of urban growth unsupported by the infrastructure needed to make places decent, worthwhile environments to raise children, live a productive life and contribute to society.

Fast-forward almost 50 years and urban issues are once again on the agenda. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Smart Cities Plan would deliver new transport infrastructure, better urban planning, and the sort of “urban visioning” that earned Whitlam praise and damnation in equal measure.

But there is a big difference this time around. The Whitlam agenda was informed by a fundamental concern with social justice, a desire to improve the lot in life of the most deprived, and a belief in a fairer Australia.

The 2016 articulation of an urban agenda has no such commitment to social ideals. Instead, it assumes building more highways, railways and trams will produce better, more productive cities that somehow give everyone a job.

We know it doesn’t work that way. Our recent research has highlighted both the unequal nature of Australia’s cities and the processes that keep poor places poor.

Upwardly and downwardly mobile

On average, about 15% of Australians move house each year. Generally, when they move they shift to places that are a bit better than the places they left – that is, places with good access to employment, quality environments, and social settings.

Our research suggests, however, that this statistical average hides a very interesting two-speed process that is neglected by the Smart Cities Plan. The relatively well-off and the upwardly mobile improve the areas in which they live over an extended period. The more economically vulnerable tend to make more frequent, multiple moves – living in slightly less advantaged areas each time.

To put it in plain terms, the poor move to poor areas where they may become even more disadvantaged. Meanwhile, the middle classes move through our cities gradually climbing the housing ladder.

This process has immediate as well as intergenerational implications, gradually filtering some families into areas with fewer and fewer opportunities, poorer educational outcomes, higher transport costs and few resources to deal effectively with health conditions. In some cases, jobs can’t be found, or are simply too far away to be practical.

Housing affordability widens the gap

In the current climate of ongoing housing affordability “crisis” and highly localised house price differentiation, more and more Australians are forced to move through the market because of the (un)-affordability of their housing. Housing affordability should be a key question when we think about our cities.

In our new paper, we examine if housing affordability problems are concentrating some people into less advantaged areas. When we track the residential mobility of Australians, we find that housing affordability is “sorting” some people into more and less advantaged places.

Australia’s housing affordability problems are much more complex than simple supply problems. Cities are shaped by the people who live within them. Some people need affordable housing responses that are smarter than the market alone can supply.

Our work indicates that some people’s access to the good things smart cities have to offer is limited by the location of housing they can afford – be it ownership or rental.

Smart cities of the future will need to address the consequences of housing-generated social and economic inequalities in Australia.

Authors: Emma Baker, Reader in Housing, University of Adelaide

Read more http://theconversation.com/smart-cities-wouldnt-let-housing-costs-drive-the-worse-off-into-deeper-disadvantage-61213

Asylum or economic opportunity? The mixed messages in Australia's new Hong Kong visa options

arrow_forward

How to Choose a Reliable Long Distance Moving Company

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

FORDHAM: Thank you very much for talking to us. I know it's a difficult day for all of those Qantas workers. Look, they want to know in the short term, are you going to extend JobKeeper?   PRI...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison interview with Neil Mitchell

NEIL MITCHELL: Prime minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, how are you?   MICHELL: I’m okay, a bit to get to I apologise, we haven't spoken for a while and I want to get t...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham

PRIME MINISTER: I've always found that this issue on funerals has been the hardest decision that was taken and the most heartbreaking and of all the letters and, you know, there's been over 100...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Understanding Your NextGen EHR System and Features

NextGen EHR (Electronic Health Records) systems can be rather confusing. However, they can offer the most powerful features and provide some of the most powerful solutions for your business’s EHR ne...

Rebecca Stuart - avatar Rebecca Stuart

SEO In A Time of COVID-19: A Life-Saver

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a lot of uncertainty for everyone across the world. It has had one of the most devastating impacts on the day-to-day lives of many including business o...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

5 Ways Risk Management Software Can Help Your Business

No business is averse to risks. Nobody can predict the future or even plan what direction a business is going to take with 100% accuracy. For this reason, to avoid issues or minimise risks, some for...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion