Housing is one of the touchstones of this year. We’ve seen prices soar and decent housing is now unaffordable for many people, young and old. But great challenges stimulate responses, and never before in Australia has the potential for change seemed so great.

Developers, designers, planners, architects, various levels of government, financiers, materials manufacturers and community groups are all actively working to come up with solutions.

In late November NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes called for negative gearing to be changed because it was making first home ownership, in Sydney at least, almost impossible for many people. See the full gamut of arguments of why Stokes is right from Tim Williams, chief executive of Committee for Sydney in one of his regular contributions to our pages.

Our latest event brings together a cross section of the best thinkers in Sydney putting their minds to this challenge and the vast opportunities. The timing, with the recent release of the first significant tranche of work from the Greater Sydney Commission, could not be more appropriate.

Sponsored by UrbanGrowth NSW and held at BVN’s Sydney Studio at 6pm on 5 December in Sydney,  our Surround Sound on housing will feature  some of Australia’s leading minds working on solutions to enable affordable, innovative and sustainable housing.

What’s a Surround Sound?

It’s a highly interactive event with an expert panel, a hot seat for 10-minute intensives with special guests, and soapboxes and microphones for the audience to engage in the conversation and ask the tough questions.

Our MC for the night will be Patrick Fensham, Principal and Partner, SGS Economics and Planning

Panellists include:

  • Steve Driscoll, Head of CBD Projects Portfolio, UrbanGrowth NSW
  • Stephanie Barker, Director Urban & Regional Planning, Greater Sydney Commission
  • Wendy Hayhurst, CEO, NSW Federation of Housing Associations
  • Nigel Edgar, General Manager – NSW Residential, Frasers Property Australia
  • David McFadyen, Fund Manager, Development and Opportunity Funds, ISPT
  • Peter Phibbs, Geographer, Planner and Social Economist, University of Sydney
  • Garry McLean, PPB
  • Steve Albin, CEO of UDIA, NSW
  • Jason Twill, Innovation Fellow, School of Architecture UTS; Director, Urban Apostles Pty Ltd

Special guests who will be invited to our panel “hot seat” for a 10-minute intensive include: Jessie Hochberg, General Manager, Nightingale Housing; Robert Pradolin, former GM, Business Development at Frasers Property Australia (and now working on how to make affordable housing viewed as economic infrastructure); Kevin Brake, National Business Leader – Mobility Oriented Development, Arcadis; Sue Weatherley, Director Strategic Outcomes and Development, Parramatta City Council; and Virginie Faour, Senior Associate, Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

10 tickets

We have now made our selection for winners of the 10 tickets for best contribution by way of question or idea to the discussion and these will be notified a little later than expected due to an overwhelming response.

Send queries to events@thefifthestate.com.au

Topics we’ll be discussing include:

Inclusionary zoning: The Greater Sydney Commission’s just-released district plans include affordable housing targets. Are they enough, or too much of a burden on developers? How else can we incentivise affordable housing?

Development advances: How are innovative developers responding to design and technological advances like engineered timber and prefab to make sustainable, affordable housing?

New models: Innovations like the Nightingale Model and baugruppen could have social, environmental and affordability outcomes thanks to big cuts to developer profit, deliberative development and the preferencing of owner-occupiers. Is this a scalable solution?

Zoning: Can we be more flexible with zoning so that we get better outcomes and encourage innovation?

Small things: Can trends like the Tiny House movement and innovations like Big World Homes help tackle affordability?

Operation: Affordability also translates into running costs. Can we get these down?

Making affordable housing an asset class: How can we get institutional investors involved in affordable housing development?

It’s up to you: Other topics that will be driven by our audience could include how to better engage the community; how tax reform could help to improve affordability; and how high-speed rail and driverless cars can change the game.

The ideas are exciting, innovative and, yes, disruptive. What gets discussed, though, will be up to our panellists, hot seat guests and audience.

Email events@thefifthestate.com.au with your question if you’d like to attend.

The best 10 responses will receive invitations to the event. Good luck!

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  1. Can we look at new housing typologies that are a step between the Tiny House Movement and the Towering apartments . The missing part of the missing middle . Housing that can accommodate generations of families on very small blocks , yet are light , well ventilated and sustainable .