The new state government has identified that the shortage of affordable housing in NSW is a pressing issue. Exploring surplus government land as a solution to the housing shortage is being considered, but the likelihood is that most of the easily available opportunities have already been developed. This blog post explores four innovative ideas that the Government could also look at to address the housing shortage:
- Airspace development
To maximise land use in densely populated areas, the government could explore the idea of airspace development. This involves constructing housing above existing buildings or infrastructure such as train stations (especially where the stations are in cuttings and construction is easiest), redevelopment of surface car parking, bus interchanges, or any other government owned asset.
- Brownfield development
The government can focus on re-purposing and revitalizing brownfield or industrial areas for housing development. By encouraging public-private partnerships, the government can leverage some of these land assets and collaborate with developers to transform former industrial areas into vibrant, mixed-use communities. This approach not only addresses the shortage of land but facilitates urban renewal.
- Land pooling and subdivision in fragmented areas
There are lots of precincts that have fragmented land ownership. Without a lead developer or overarching Government land development body, the timely and coordinated delivery these areas are challenging. A fragmented land strategy that examines additional methods and mechanisms eg. floor space bonuses for amalgamated sites, could be explored.
- Long term planning and strategic land acquisition
Though this won’t help the immediate housing supply ‘bottleneck’, government could review past successful approaches and projects, like the Rouse Hill Town Centre. Here, the land was assembled 20 years in advance of the centre planning. It is now a large-scale retail, entertainment and housing precinct that serves the growing population in the surrounding areas.
The challenges of finding surplus government land for housing development in NSW requires innovative solutions to unlock housing supply. Many of these ideas have already been explored, implemented in some instances, or discarded as too complex or costly. With cost of housing now so expensive and unattainable for so many, it may be time to revisit some of these ideas and see whether they now “stack up”.
If you need assistance, please contact us at LandIT. We can explore and assess your property options to help you make informed decisions.
Top picture: Strip retail precinct in the inner west of Sydney with unfulfilled shop top housing redevelopment potential up to 17 metres (5 storeys)