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Social Mix - Will it solve the problems?

Improving 'social mix' is at the heart of NSW Government plans for Redfern Waterloo. Worldwide there have been many attempts to implement a better 'social mix' through the redevelopment of public housing estates. In Melbourne in 2010 a trumpeted development to improve 'social mix' in an inner city housing estate looks like it might lead to a wall to protect private housing amenity from the adjoining public tenants after the redevelopment. Here we have bought together some of the research and issues that will need to be addressed if an engineered improved housing mix is going to lead to improved outcomes for public tenants as well as the new residents in Redfern and Waterloo. The documents include papers given to the Shelter Conference ‘Estates in the balance’, relevant media articles and opinion pieces that open up some of the issues that need to be addressed. Thanks to Ross Smith for suppling much of the material.
HNSW Report on Estate Renewal and Social Mix
On 26 August 2010 HNSW held a Community Renewal Forum for Redfern & Waterloo titles "Estate Renewal and Social Mix: The good, the bad and the ugly". Below is the HNSW Report on Proceedings of the forum which was provided to participants on 18 November 2010.
File Public housing de-concentration: a practitioner’s view
This paper by David Lilley responds to a number of papers given at the Shelter 2010 Conference 'Estates in the balance: best practice in redevelopment and regeneration of public housing estates' on Social Mix and de-concentration. David's comments in this paper were referenced in the REDWatch paper following David's presentation on behalf of HNSW to a REDWatch meeting. We would like to thank the Australasian Housing Institute (www.housinginstitute.org) for permission to reproduce this paper, and for encouraging comment and dialogue on the issues it raises. File is PDF 564Kb.
Bulldozing the past
Down-at-heel housing estates in the inner city and on the western fringes are fighting back, writes Michael Duffy in the Sydney Morning Herald of August 2, 2008.
Another Brick in the Wall for Public Housing
A mixed public/private redevelopment plan has gone horribly wrong reports Stephen Pascoe in the Age of 27 July 2010. [REDWatch Comment - Given the similarities between what is proposed for Redfern Waterloo and this Victorian project the issues raised in this article need to be carefully considered in the planning of the redevelopment of Redfern and Waterloo public housing estates to ensure the problems found in this Victorian mixed redevelopment are not repeated here.]
Deconcentration, social mix and poverty
"What is the problem that mixed tenure redevelopment policies are attempting to solve?" asks Michael Darcy in the extract below from his Presentation to Shelter NSW conference, ‘Estates in the balance’, in Sydney, 17 June 2010.
Estate redevelopment / regeneration: what are the issues for tenants?
Gregor Macfie, Executive Officer, Tenants’ Union of NSW outlines the five issues that he think will be important to low income and disadvantaged tenants affected by social mix redevelopment in the extract below from his Presentation to Shelter NSW conference, ‘Estates in the balance’, in Sydney, 17 June 2010.
Social Mix – What is it – What is achieved
Dr Kathy Arthurson of Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University raised concerns around the concept of Social Mix and the manner of its proposed implementation by Housing NSW and the NSW Governmentin her presentation to Shelter NSW conference, ‘Estates in the balance’, in Sydney, 17 June 2010.
Regenerating Estates – setting the context and scoping the task
Simon Pinnegar of City Futures Research Centre, UNSW, examines the NSW proposals, reviews overseas experiences, and raises concerns around the desired purpose and intent of the current Housing NSW planning. He sets out various areas of concern around arbitrary Estate Regeneration and forced Social Mix in his presentation to Shelter NSW conference, ‘Estates in the balance’, in Sydney, 17 June 2010.
Questions about ‘Estates in the balance’ from Shelter NSW 2010 conference
During the Shelter NSW conference – ‘Estates in the balance’ on 17 June 2010 participants were encouraged to write down their questions and place them on the wall outside. Many were not answered at the conference. Many of the questions give a good overview of the concerns of participants and many apply also to Redfern and Waterloo issues even when asked about other locations. Such questions will need to be addressed in the planning for the redevelopment of public housing estates in Redfern and Waterloo.
The state of Australian cities 2010 report – towards a national research agenda
In response to the Federal "The State of Australian Cities 2010" report AHURI as the national research institute focussed on housing and urban matters is inviting responses to the proposed research priorities. As well, through a series of urban policy seminars occurring across the capital cities AHURI is inviting your participation and provide a further opportunity for your contributions. A breif summary of AHURI statement is below.
Conflict warning on housing density
Urgent action is required not only from developers and planners to address the concerns of people living in greater density, but from the residents themselves. This warning has emerged from a report which Shelter NSW recently commissioned from the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales reports this article by Katie Florance, Policy Officer (Research and Publications), Shelter NSW in Around the House September 2010.
Tenants’ choice or Hobson’s choice: A study of the transfer of tenanted dwellings from public housing to community housing in NSW
The transfer of housing stock from Public Housing to Community Housing is on the Government agenda for the redevelopment of Redfern and Waterloo public housing. In 2000 Shelter NSW requested Michael Darcy and Jill Stringfellow from the Urban Frontiers Program at the University of Western Sydney to investigate the issues. This paper is hence important background reading in the discussion about the redevelopment of Redfern and Waterloo public housing and its possible transfer from the Government to Community Housing administration.
Housing Stock Transfer from the Government Sector in NSW
In the NSW the conduct of Housing NSW and some individual Community Housing Providers during the stock transfer process to date has been at distinct variance with Housing NSW’s own Operational Policy EST0006B: Commitment to Service and Code of Conduct. Nor has it been in line with HNSW’s Code of Conduct and HNSW’s Business Ethics, with which Housing NSW claims compliance is a prerequisite for all who wish to do business with Housing NSW writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review of 25 January 2010.
Stock Transfer, Is it the way forward for Social Housing ?
In 2009 HNSW began the process of transferring 3,000 of its properties to community housing providers across the state and hopes to finish the transfer this year. Now many HNSW residents wait with bated breath to find out if their tenancies will stay with the Government or will be transferred on to a Community Housing Provider. Many residents prefer the devil they know to a provider they know nothing about and a sense of insecurity is felt by many tenants who don’t know what to expect from the new system reports this article in RedWater News April 2010.
Pea and Thimble of Stock Transfer
Don't be cajoled and soft-soaped into accepting unquestioningly the government’s Stock Transfer program. Make sure that there is a full and balanced debate in your community so that tenants hear both sides of the argument around Stock Transfer, the government’s chosen vehicle for delivering privatisation of public housing writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review of 5 July 2010.
Questions about Social Mix in Redfern and Waterloo
The following questions were prepared by a REDWatch member and were tabled at the REDWatch meeting with HNSW on 5 August 2010. We have included these on the website as they raise a number of important issues that should be in the public domain.
Mixed Communities - Placebo or Panacea
Paul Cheshire’s paper of 17th May 2007, Segregated neighbourhoods and mixed communities, provides an interesting insight into the concept of induced Social Mix currently being implemented in Australia on multiple levels of government writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review on 16 November, 2009.
Universal Answer to All Ills - "Sell"
The universal answer from Housing NSW, and some other public housing providers, when confronted with a problem of their own making whose cure they have placed in the ‘too hard’ basket is to say “sell”. This announcement is frequently closely followed by an endorsement of the yet to be definitively defined concept of Social Mix, which is then touted as the magic wand for all anti-social behaviour. If the estates/housing stock in question shows signs of being hard to sell, then there is the grand announcement of the handing over of the housing stock to a Social or Community Housing provider. This is the modern day version of the problem solving method initiated by Pontius Pilate – washing the problem off one’s hands – now known as the Sunlight Soap solution writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review of 28 June 2010.
Housing and Mental Health Agreement - JGOS Replacement
The NSW Joint Guarantee of Service (JGOS) for people with mental health problems arose from a 1997 partnership between the NSW Housing and Health Departments. In 2003 the signatories were expanded to include the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW, and the Department of Community Services. This marked the beginning of the current JGOS structure writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review of 14 December 2009.
Integrity, Ethics and the NSW Public Service
The NSW Ombudsman, Mr Barbour, has put into words what everyone else who has had to deal with the bureaucracy has known for many decades – that the bureaucracy has morphed the concepts of Integrity and Ethical Behaviour into things demanded of those engaging with the bureaucracy whilst exempting themselves. They have been given a different meaning by the bureaucracy to that contained in the dictionary when bureaucratic compliance is sought by the public. They have been removed from underpinning dialogue between the bureaucracy and the public in an attempt to avoid accountability and ethical behaviour on the part of the bureaucracy. The historic concepts of Integrity and Ethical Behaviour have become something to be avoided by the bureaucracy at all costs writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review of 23 November 2009.
The Dining Experience in Waterloo and Redfern
It will be interesting to see how Housing NSW conducts itself and manages the behaviour of its staff and associates/partners in the forthcoming largest Estate Redevelopment it has ever handled, which is scheduled for the Redfern Waterloo area. The area in question has some 4,500 households living in Housing NSW owned and managed properties writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review of 8 February 2010 .
Social Mix does not cure poverty, inequality or inequity
Social Mix is a generic buzzword term used by various governments to disguise their policy failures. Failures that have resulted in Poverty, Inequality and Inequity becoming endemic in some sectors of the community. The term is used to create images of manufactured nirvana in the suburbs and to portray those proposing its implementation as champions of social justice writes Ross Smith in TSN's Rimfire Review of 16 August 2010.
Claytons Based Consultancy: A Housing NSW Specialty
Claytons is an alcohol free syrup marketed as ‘the drink you have when you don’t have a drink’. It gives the appearance of an alcoholic drink without the undesirable after effects of alcohol consumption such as hangovers, nausea, and regrets for actions whilst under the influence writes Ross Smith in this Rimfire review about HNSW Consultations in Redfern and Waterloo on 13 September 2010.
'Mixed' estates found to break rather than make communities
Ms Kenworthy's study - along with extensive research by Western Sydney academic Gabrielle Gwyther, published in the recent edition of the journal Urban Policy and Research - challenges 30 years of conventional wisdom. Over the past 10 to 15 years, NSW government policy has been to break up the estates writes Andrew West in the Sydney Morning Herald of 11 April 2011.
Research Articles on Social Mix
Below is a list of references for relevant theoretical and empirical papers relating to de-concentration and social mix prepared by Housing NSW. A link to a second document containing links to material available online is at the foot of this page. This list has been prepared by HNSW and supplied as a result of requests for details of the research being relied upon.
Publicly Accessible Literature Relating to Social Mix
REDWatch, as well as a number of other stakeholders from Redfern and Waterloo, have requested research material on the topic of social mix. Below is a preliminary overview of some of the material available, with a focus on material that is available for download free of charge. It is proposed that more extensive work be undertaken in the near future, in consultation with the emerging Redfern and Waterloo Community Learning and Research Committee. This will include a substantial list of journal articles and summary notes on their relevance to Redfern and Waterloo. This material has been supplied by Davis Lilley at Housing NSW on 16 February 2011.
Social Mix Forum Apr 13, 2012 from 03:00 AM to 05:00 AM South Sydney Community Aid, Neighbourhood Centre, 73 Garden St, Alexandria NSW,
Residents’ Voices is hosting a free resident forum on Social Mix. This informal forum has been designed to allow residents and other community members to ask a panel of independent researchers questions about social mix policies and approaches that are important to residents. This forum is independent of Housing NSW and other government agencies. Come along and ask important questions and receive informed answers.