Professor Heather MacDonald is the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at UTS. An urban planning specialist, she is interested in the causes and impacts of ethnic discrimination in rental housing markets, the impacts of state entrepreneurialism on urban redevelopment projects, and the ongoing efforts to reform NSW's planning system.
Heather has received research funding from a variety of sources, including the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the ARC Discovery program. Her major projects include an ARC-funded study of ethnic discrimination in private rental housing (with co-authors George Galster, Kevin Dunn, Ying Paradies, Jacqueline Nelson, and Rae Dufty-Jones), which provided the first empirical evidence of the extent of housing discrimination against Muslim-Middle Eastern Australians and Indian Australians.
Her research on the impacts of secondary mortgage markets on housing affordability, the effect that changes in the US Census had on understanding urban trends, and her evaluations of the community development and housing impacts of federal and state subsidies, received wide attention in both prestigious academic journals and in public policy debates in the US.
Heather has delivered projects for state housing and economic development agencies; this research informed two books on spatial analysis (Unlocking the Census with GIS, and Urban Policy and the Census, both co-authored with Alan Peters). She has also worked as a policy advisor to state and federal (US) agencies concerned with housing and community development.
She received her PhD in Urban Planning at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (USA).
She is a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute and the Royal Society of NSW, a corporate member of the Planning Institute of Australia, and has previously held roles as the Head of the School of Built Environment at UTS and Chair of the Graduate School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa.
Can supervise: YES
My research career has been framed around the question, “How can urban policy advance social equity?” The question exemplifies the central intellectual contribution of my discipline: that knowledge must be useful, and that it must improve cities.
One theme I have focused on is how housing policy can improve affordability and access for those who do not compete effectively in the market:
· What impacts have regulatory and industry-led reform in the housing finance sector had on affordability and access, and how could these outcomes be improved?
· How can institutional change (particularly at state government level) improve the effectiveness of the limited resources provided for affordable housing?
· What are the economic and social impacts of affordable housing policy and investments?
A second theme evolved out of my engagement with institutional reforms to affordable housing policy: how is evidence, especially spatial evidence, used to improve policy design? How should we address the limitations and potential biases associated with any standardised secondary data source?
More recently, since moving to Australia I’ve taken these interests in new directions:
· How can we develop spatially sensitive housing policy to respond more effectively to both supply and distributional issues?
· What impact does planning regulation have on housing affordability?
· How are infrastructure investments reflected in property prices, and how could we use these insights to inform infrastructure financing approaches?
· Is there evidence that ethnic discrimination affects housing access for some Australians?
New areas of work now focus on the planning and development context in New South Wales, investigating:
- How does the entrpreneurial state shape the public benefits gained from large scale urban redevelopment?
- Why has Planning Reform become a continuing project in NSW?
My work has been published in leading urban studies / planning journals, in two co-authored books, and in major reports to government agencies. I have served as a policy advisor to state and federal (US) agencies concerned with housing and community development, and my research has been funded by a variety of competitive grants (including US HUD and ARC Discovery).
MacDonald, HI & Peters, A 2011, Urban Policy and the Census, 1, Esri Press, Redlands, California.
Urban Policy and the Census helps researchers and policy analysts gain an integrated understanding of census data and other relevant policy data sources, their strengths and limitations, and how best to use this data in policy research. Researchers will be able to critically assess decennial census and the American Community Survey data, which can be the starting point for spatial analysis for realistic policy planning and decision-making. The book shows that evidence-based policy is effective only when the evidence is sound and used appropriately. It provides guidance for analyzing demographic and social trends, economic trends, housing circumstances, and transportation issues.
Peters, A & MacDonald, HI 2004, Unlocking the Census with GIS, 1st, ESRI Press, Redlands, California (USA).
MacDonald, H 2020, 'Planning for the Public Benefit in the Entrepreneurial City: Public Land Speculation and Financialized Regulation', Journal of Planning Education and Research, pp. 0739456X1984751-0739456X1984751.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The redevelopment of Barangaroo, Sydney's last vacant central city waterfront site, raised high expectations for the public benefits developers would provide in return. The story highlights the ways in which the entrepreneurial State's conflict of interest in the redevelopment eroded the quality of the public benefits negotiated in return for a valuable public asset. In contrast to the previous redevelopment projects, the State used public land and its newly centralized regulatory powers to maximize public revenues from Barangaroo, prioritizing these over both the public's interests and, on occasion, those of private developers.
Galster, G, MacDonald, H & Nelson, J 2018, 'What Explains the Differential Treatment of Renters Based on Ethnicity? New Evidence From Sydney', Urban Affairs Review, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 107-136.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This article conducts the first contextual analysis of ethnic-based discrimination in an Australian rental housing market: metropolitan Sydney. Logistic regression is employed to investigate how the likelihood of five behaviors by rental agents that may favor Anglo home seekers varies according to characteristics of the agent, home seeker, dwelling, and neighborhood. We find that several forms of discrimination favoring Anglos are consistently more likely in neighborhoods characterized by lower crime rates and shares of renter households, regardless of the ethnicity of the agent. Other patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that, in general in the Sydney rental market, agents regardless of ethnicity are motivated to discriminate by statistical discrimination. Our result that profit, not prejudice, drives discrimination implies that it will prove resilient to unfettered housing market forces and changes in societal ethnic tolerance, but instead, must be addressed through enhanced civil rights enforcement strategies.
This paper investigates the complex and continuously evolving processes of de‐democratisation evident in urban planning practice in Sydney between 2011 and 2017. New South Wales' successive rounds of planning reform, establishment of a metropolitan commission, and amalgamation of local governments over that period have aimed to reduce local democratic participation in planning decisions, but they have had uneven success. I argue that while New South Wales' efforts to streamline development and de‐democratise planning have evolved considerably in response to multiple forms of opposition, the success of the neoliberal project is still uncertain. The insights this story offers add complexity to theorists' claims about the inevitability of depoliticisation and the end of meaningful democratic engagement. The story also offers insights about how power is created, lost, and regained in particular local circumstances.
MacDonald, HI, Galster, G & Dufty-Jones, R 2018, 'The geography of rental housing discrimination, segregation, and social exclusion: New evidence from Sydney', Journal of Urban Affairs, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 226-245.View/Download from: Publisher's site
We investigate whether rental housing discrimination directed against 2 predominant ethnic minority groups in Sydney, Australia, is more likely to occur in neighborhoods with a particular mix of ethnicities, socioeconomic profiles, or quality of social goods and whether this geographic pattern reinforces spatial disadvantages of these minorities in a way that abets their social exclusion. We construct measures of differential treatment based on in-person paired testing conducted in 2013, with Anglo, Indian, and Muslim Middle Eastern testers. We summarize 4 dimensions of postcode-level social goods using a principal component analysis reflecting school quality, crime rates, resident employment rates, proximate jobs and job growth, and commuting options. Our ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions show that differential treatment in the Sydney rental market is strongly related to a neighborhood's ethnic composition and 2 aspects of its social goods involving both desirable and undesirable components but is not related to the socioeconomic characteristics of the neighborhood's population.
MacDonald, H, Nelson, J, Galster, G, Paradies, Y, Dunn, K & Dufty-Jones, R 2016, 'Rental Discrimination in the Multi-ethnic Metropolis: Evidence from Sydney', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 373-385.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Investigating differential treatment in rental housing markets is important to ensure that renters are not discriminated against based on their personal characteristics. However, little Australian research has focused systematically on this question. This paper reports the results of a study that used paired tests to estimate the extent of differential treatment of Anglo, Indian, and Muslim Middle Eastern renters in the Sydney metropolitan housing market. We find statistically significant differences in treatment on several measures, including the likelihood an agent will offer an individual appointment, will provide additional information about other housing, will provide additional information about completing the application form, and will contact a prospective renter after an inspection.
This paper examines the battle to reform and streamline the planning system in Sydney, Australia, between 2005 and 2013. It analyses the strategies the State of NSW has pursued to manage ongoing conflicts over development, and reflects on the challenges the State has encountered in its attempt to redefine democratic engagement, justify decisions, claim legitimacy and forge a consensus around a more pro-development planning system. While New South Wales' planning reform strategies have pursued an apparently 'post-political' agenda (Swyngedouw, Apocalypse forever? Post-political populism and the spectre of climate change, Theory Culture and Society, 27(2–3):213–232, 2010), using policy solutions to depoliticize difficult decisions, the reform process has exacerbated rather than defused conflicts. The story raises questions about the extent to which the new governing strategies of a post-political era can offer effective forums to forge consensus, or to stage-manage agreement over metropolitan development conflicts.
MacDonald, HI 2014, 'The forgotten people: political banishment under apartheid', African review of Economics and Finance, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 211-213.
MacDonald, HI 2013, 'Transforming Cities and Minds through the Scholarship of Engagement: Economy, Equity, and Environment', Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, vol. 6, pp. 233-235.
Widespread housing foreclosures and the growth of real estate owned inventories impose significant negative externalities on local communities and their residents. An effective 'disposition infrastructure' is needed to limit the damage, but historical ef
Funderberg, R & MacDonald, HI 2010, 'Neighbourhood valuation effects from new construction of low-income housing tax credit projects in Iowa: a natural experiment', Urban Studies, vol. 47, no. 8, pp. 1745-1771.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper estimates the valuation effects from new construction of low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects on neighbouring single-family homes in Polk County, Iowa. The evaluative models estimate the impact from LIHTC project locations on assessed values using a 19992007 panel of neighbours and their matches, while controlling for unobserved heterogeneity. The results suggest that the siting of new low-rise, concentrated low-income LIHTC projects is associated with a 24 per cent slower rate of nearby single-family home valuation and that these effects persisted for five or more years after project approval. On the other hand, no clear valuation effect is detected when the LIHTC project is high quality and targeted to mixed-income groups. It is also found that new construction LIHTC projects serving the elderly, including assisted living, are associated with a 24 per cent faster rate of growth in neighbouring single-family home values, although the acceleration appears to be short lived. It is concluded that concentrating low-income renters in subsidised housing projects has negative consequences for neighbouring property values that might be avoided with tenant income mixing and improved site planning and design.
MacDonald, HI 2010, 'Book review: Financing low-income communities: models, obstacles, and future directions, edited by Julia Sass Rubin', Urban Affairs Review, vol. 45, no. 6, pp. 849-851.
MacDonald, HI 2010, 'Financial crisis and asset disposition: history lessons for affordable housing preservation?', Housing Finance International, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 32-36.
The article focuses on financial crisis and asset disposition for the preservation of affordable housing. It evaluates asset disposition experiences of two earlier financial crises in the U.S., the Great Depression and the Savings and Loan bankruptcies. It examines asset disposition strategies to expand or preserve the supply of affordable housing. It discusses the protection of taxpayers versus the financial industry, and the conflicts between affordable housing and cost to taxpayers.
MacDonald, HI 2008, 'City Planning and the U.S. Census, 1910 to 1960', Journal of Planning History, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 263-294.
Although planners rely on census data for many tasks, they are often frustrated by its limitations. This article examines the evolution of this ambiguous relationship (during the period 1910 to 1960) through four roughly chronological development stages. Data were seen first as an engine of social reform, then as the basis for a science of planning, next as a way to manage social and economic crisis, and finally as a way to justify government decisions. The article concludes that the limitations of official statistics are historically contingent, a result of Congress's lack of support, the federal bureaucracy's indifference to spatially detailed data, and planners' abandonment of the argument. http://www.dcp.ufl.edu/sacrph/awards/planning%20History%20Award.html The Journal of Planning History Prize Winners (2009) Awarded to the best article published in the Journal of Planning History: Heather MacDonald, "City Planning and the U.S. Census 1910 to 1960," Journal of Planning History 7:4 (Nov. 2008).
MacDonald, HI 2007, 'Review: American Community Survey Data for Community Planning', Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 73, no. 4, pp. 474-475.
Review of American Community Survey Data for Community Planning by Cynthia M. Tauber (2006, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, B.C.)
MacDonald, HI 2006, 'The American Community Survey: warmer (More Current), but fuzzier (Less Precise) than the Decennial Census?', Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 72, no. 4, pp. 491-503.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The American Community Survey, which will replace data many planners rely on from the decennial Census long form, is finally in progress. The first nationwide data for places of 65,000 or more was released in the summer of 2006. It has several interesting implications for planning. On the one hand, more current data will eliminate many of the inaccuracies introduced by projection-based updates of stale census data. On the other, smaller sample sizes will mean we will have less precise estimates. Because the ACS will use averaged rather than point-in-time data, it will measure slightly different things than the decennial census. Finally, planners should be alert to the opportunities they will have to improve local data quality by improving the address file from which the sample is drawn.
The financial infrastructure of guarantees, insurance and regulation that underpins US housing markets is an important federal policy tool. Historically, housing policy in the US has relied much more heavily on regulating private market actors to achieve public goals, than it has on direct expenditures. But the commonalities between the US and restructured welfare states such as the UK and Canada have become more striking in recent decades. Similar dilemmas face policy makers in many settings: if homeownership is to be the centerpiece of housing policy, how do we ensure it is affordable and sustainable for those once served by a larger social housing sector? If direct expenditures are to be cut back, with what do we replace them? The story of the Clinton administration's efforts to reform the US financial infrastructure illustrates how these dilemmas have been addressed (although obviously not resolved) in a specific instance.
MacDonald, HI 2000, 'Renegotiating the public-private partnership: Efforts to reform Section 8 assisted housing', JOURNAL OF URBAN AFFAIRS, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 279-299.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This article reviews recent research on the link between women's commuting and labor force participation and identifies five key themes in the literature. Women's shorter work trips have been explained in terms of women's low wages, the need to coordinate dual roles as mothers and wage earners, and as a reflection of a more even distribution of jobs that traditionally hire women. Short work trips may also reflect spatial entrapment in highly localized labor markets. Finally, shorter work trips may reflect a spatial mismatch between low-income and minority women's residential locations and entry-level jobs; thus, employment may entail much longer commutes for inner-city residents. This article evaluates research within each theme, identifies future research needs, and explores the implications for current policy debates over welfare reform.
MacDonald, H 1996, 'The rise of mortgage-backed securities: Struggles to reshape access to credit in the USA', ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING A, vol. 28, no. 7, pp. 1179-1198.View/Download from: Publisher's site
MACDONALD, H 1995, 'THE RESOLUTION TRUST CORPORATIONS AFFORDABLE-HOUSING MANDATE - DILUTING FIRREAS REDISTRIBUTIVE GOALS', URBAN AFFAIRS REVIEW, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 558-579.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Macdonald, H & Peters, A 1994, 'Rural Women in a Restructuring Economy: Work and Commuting in Eastern Iowa', Economic Development Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 171-185.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Rural women's labor-force participation rates have increased rapidly over the past decade and a half, simultaneous with economic restructuring in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. This article examines women's labor-force participation and returns to employment within four nonmetropolitan counties in eastern Iowa, contiguous with three metropolitan areas. The job structures and job rewards of women employed in four industry groups in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan job locations are compared in the context of the constraints posed by commuting costs. Also examined are findings about the nature and extent of nonmetropolitan women's labor-force participation in the context of the employment restructuring trends in the metropolitan and nonmetropolitan portions of the study area. © 1994, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.
ABSTRACT The paper presents a model of worktrip length for rural nonmetropolitan resident women. We find that some factors important in constraining the length of urban women's commute, such as linking worktrips with household‐related trips. are less relevant in a rural setting. We also find that women working in non‐feminized occupations, women receiving employer‐provided health benefits, and women with better transportation resources, tend to have longer worktrips. Copyright © 1994, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
MacDonald, HI 2018, 'Livability and access to urban goods in Melbourne' in Caves, RW & Wagner, F (eds), Livable Cities from a global perspective, Routledge, New York and Oxon, pp. 176-187.
This chapter argues that livability indices, although often taking account of overall levels of social inequality, have usually ignored the distribution of the urban goods that underpin the concept of livability—public safety, health and education services, housing access, traffic congestion, environmental quality, and cultural life. Indices such as the Mercer Quality of Living survey, Economic Intelligence Unit, and the Most Livable Cities index have simplified complex social measures by abstracting them from any spatial context. Although this is not surprising given the focus of most indices on global corporations and their employees, city rankings are powerful tools of urban boosterism that can have a dampening effect on legitimate criticism of urban trends. If "what we measure is what we pay attention to," a more sophisticated understanding of livability indices may improve policy debates about metropolitan futures. This chapter will use detailed spatial data on a set of key urban goods to analyze the distribution of access to "livability" across the Melbourne metropolitan regions. On the basis of this analysis, I will draw conclusions about how the experience of "livability" is distributed among cohorts of the population. For example, how does the experience of recent immigrants, elderly homeowners, and young globally mobile renters differ? The conclusions may offer some insight into alternative ways of constructing livability indices to offer a more spatially nuanced picture that would be more useful for urban policy.
Nelson, J, MacDonald, H, Dufty-Jones, R, Dunn, K & Paradies, Y 2016, 'Ethnic discrimination in private rental housing markets in Australia' in Housing in 21st-Century Australia: People, Practices and Policies, pp. 39-56.
MacDonald, HI 2015, '"Green, Global, and Connected": can Sydney solve its metropolitan governance problems?' in Wagner, F, Mahayni, R & Piller, AG (eds), Transforming Distressed Global Communities: Making Inclusive, Safe, Resilient, and Sustainable Cities, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Burlington VT, pp. 211-229.
Nelson, J, MacDonald, HI, Dufty-Jones, R, Dunn, K & Paradies, Y 2015, 'Ethnic discrimination in private rental housing markets in Australia' in Dufty-Jones, R & Rogers, D (eds), Housing in Twenty-First Century Australia: People, Practices and Policies, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Aldershot.
MacDonald, HI 2014, 'Geographic Information Systems' in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 381-382.
MacDonald, HI 2011, 'Housing and Urban Policy: Fair housing and fair lending' in Cunion William, E & Quirk Paul, J (eds), Governing America: Major decisions of federal, state and local governments from 1789 to the present, Facts on File, New York, pp. 697-705.
MacDonald, HI 2008, 'Census, U.S.' in Kemp Karen, K (ed), Encyclopedia of Geographic Information Science, Sage Publications, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, pp. 32-36.
Ge, X, MacDonald, H & Ghosh, S 2016, 'Accessibility and dwelling prices: a pilot study of the Epping-Chatswood rail link', Proceedings of the 2016 Asian Real Estate Society's (AsRES) Conference, The 2016 Asian Real Estate Society's (AsRES) Conference, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bengaluru India, pp. 1-13.
Location is one of the important elements to be considered in the dwelling purchase decision-making process. If a property is close to work opportunities, shopping centres, schools and other facilities, the property is likely to be in high demand and thus command a higher price than properties further away. Infrastructure investments improve accessibility by saving time and costs for people to travel for work and other activities. The proximity to transport thus is one of the factors contributing the purchasing decision. Relative little research has done on infrastructure investment on property value in Australia.
The Epping-Chatswood rail link was developed in Nov 2002 to Dec 2009. As a consequence, the dwelling prices along the link have increased dramatically. This paper conducts a pilot study to investigate the relationships of dwelling prices surrounding Epping station and the link development. Epping station is one of the stations along the Epping-Chatswood link. The station is located in a suburb of Sydney about 21.6 kilometres north-west of the Sydney CBD. A total of 1,474 sale transaction prices from January 1991 to July 2012 were collected from RPData for this study. Each of the data sets includes transaction price, number of beds, bathrooms, garage or car spaces and living rooms, which represent the physical characteristics as explanatory variables entering the hedonic model. An accessibility factor is measured by the direct distance of a dwelling to the Epping station. The estimated results indicate that, in addition to the dwelling's physical characteristics such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces, accessibility ranks relatively low among the factors that explain variations in dwelling prices in the Epping area.
MacDonald, HI 2013, 'Sydney's Housing Markets During the Global Financial Crisis: How was globalisation mediated?', State of Australian Cities Conference 2013: Refereed Proceedings, State of Australian Cities (SOAC) Conference, State of Australian Cities Research Network, Sydney, pp. 1-12.
In the five years since the GFC began, Australia has experienced very different housing market impacts than most other Anglo economies. Housing prices did not crash, and homeowners remain relatively stable. Nevertheless, there were significant consequences. The effects of temporary stimulus measures, of changing patterns (and regulation) of foreign investment, and changes in the availability of credit, have different implications for the affordability of homeownership and rental, and have affected different types of owners and renters in distinctive ways. The spatial outcomes of these changes are particularly interesting, and help explain some of the development barriers that Sydney has faced over the period. The paper defines different segments of Sydneys housing markets, and investigates how home prices and rents varied across those markets. The conclusion reflects on the housing market outcomes of Sydneys changing global integration.
MacDonald, HI, Peters, A, De Pooter, N & Yu, JY 2013, 'What impact does workplace accessibility have on housing prices? Sydney 2006 - 2011', State of Australian Cities Conference 2013: Refereed Proceedings, State of Australian Cities (SOAC) Conference, State of Australian Cities Research Network, Sydney, pp. 1-15.
Labour markets evolve continually changes in the number and types of jobs, the spatial location of firms, and clustering or dispersion, continually restructure the citys economy. The relative accessibility of those labour markets also evolves, reflecting changing travel patterns and preferences, and changing transportation investments. This paper investigates what impact labour market changes between 2006 and 2011 have had on prices of houses and units in di fferent locations. The data is drawn from a custom property sales dataset, Census 2006 and 2011, and other secondary sources. The analysis uses a repeat sales method and controls for other locational attributes that might contribute to explaining price changes. GIS-based analysis incorporates spatial measures and statistics into the analysis. The paper contributes to our understanding of the urban economy by addressing the question how does employment accessibility affect peoples housing preferences?
Zarafu, ME, MacDonald, HI & Glazebrook, GJ 2012, 'The environmental and urban impact of personal rapid transit system in edge cities: Macquarie Park case study', Next City: Planning for a new energy and climate future, International Urban Planning and Environment Association Symposium, ICMS, Sydney NSW, pp. 84-100.
This paper investigates the environmental and urban impact of alternative land use and transport strategies for Macquarie Park, with a focus on transport emissions reduction. Macquarie Park is a typical high car-dependent 'edge city' within an emerging Australian multi-centred city form. Detailed simulations compare a transport scenario that incorporates a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) network as a feeder for the existing transit nodes to a business-as-usual projection by 2030, and one reflecting current planned transport improvements ('Planned'). The environmental and urban impacts of the three scenarios are evaluated based on estimated differences in energy use, emissions, noise, and land area required for car parks.
MacDonald, HI 2012, 'Rental markets and tenant vulnerability in Sydney', 6th Australasian Housing Researchers' Conference, Australasian Housing Researchers Conference, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, pp. 1-21.
Rents have increased rapidly in Sydney since 2006 as home ownership gains have stalled, and housing production has slowed. Who is likely to have been most affected by these increases? This paper examines the spatial distribution of renters, investigating concentrations of households with specific demographic, social and economic characteristics (based on a cluster analysis of 2006 ABS data). Next, trends in rental rates are charted over the 2006-2011 period, to investigate which suburbs and which categories of renters have been most vulnerable to rent increases. The paper concludes with an analysis of the spatial concentration of disadvantage among private sector renters.
Ge, J, MacDonald, HI & Ghosh, S 2012, 'Assessing the impact of rail investment on housing prices in north-west Sydney', Proceedings of 18th Annual Pacific-Rim Real Estate Society Conference, Pacific Rim Real Estate Conference, PRRES, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 1-22.
Rail investments alter the accessibility and amenity of residential properties, and thus affect housing prices and overall affordability. This project investigates the impact of the Epping-Chatswood rail link in North-west Sydney on home prices, testing out alternative methodologies for estimating price impacts through spatial analysis of historical property sales data obtained from the RP Data Australia. The paper focuses on one station, comparing price trends before and after the construction of the rail link was announced in 2002, and before and after the opening of the rail line in early 2009. The paper concludes with an assessment of the usefulness of alternative methodologies.
Ghosh, S, MacDonald, HI & Ge, J 2012, 'Urban form and rail investment: impacts on housing prices in Sydney', 6th Australasian Housing Researchers' Conference, Australasian Housing Researchers Conference, The University of Adelaide, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, pp. 1-26.
New infrastructure investments alter the locational attributes of nearby land uses, and these changes are often reflected in changes in property value. However, the effects of new amenities may differ based on local characteristics. This paper explores whether urban morphology and urban form differences are associated with differences in the impact that new rail investment has on housing prices. We focus on a single case study - the Macquarie University train station on the new Epping- Chatswood rail link in Sydney. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geocoded sales data from RP Data Australia, we investigate the impacts of the construction and completion of the rail line on housing prices, using a repeat-sales approach. We identified the urban form characteristics of two precincts within 1.5km of the station, using GIS to compare variables such as building footprints and bulk, dwelling densities, street patterns and intersection density, and tree canopy cover. On-site inspection and photographs enabled us to add assessments of the quality of the pedestrian environment, likely perceptions of safety, and the legibility of pedestrian connections. Statistical analyses of repeat sales in each of the precincts, controlling for dwelling characteristics, resident profiles, and other sales information, enabled us to determine that there were statistically significant associations between the rail line impacts and the urban form attributes of the local precinct. Our study suggests that public transit investment may offer more value-added in neighbourhoods with well developed pedestrian environments.
Zarafu, ME, MacDonald, HI & Glazebrook, GJ 2012, 'Retrofitting the edge cities - Macquarie Park Case Study', Conference Proceedings, 5th Healthy Cities: Working Together to Achieve Liveable Cities Conference, Non-peer reviewed papers, 5th Healthy Cities Conference, AST Management Pty Ltd, Geelong, Victoria, pp. 118-126.
This paper investigates the health and urban impacts of alternative strategies to retrofit edge cities, including one that incorporates a Personal Rapid Transit network as a feeder for the existing transit nodes. Macquarie Park has been identified as a typical 'edge city' within an emerging Australian multi-centred city form. The health impact is evaluated based on the outcomes for air pollution, accidents and physical activity due to active travel. The avoided public health costs total $25 million per annum when weighed against a continuation of the existing transportation trends. A positive urban impact occurs from the smaller amount of land required for parking spaces with a potential capital cost saving of more than one billion from building car parks.
MacDonald, HI 2011, 'Housing affordability dynamics in Sydney's housing sub-markets: the case for spatially sensitive policy', Planning's future - Futures planning: planning in an era of (global) uncertainty and transformation, World Planning Schools Congress, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, pp. 1-27.
This paper argues that policy makers need a more fine-grained understanding of housing submarkets, to avoid the often perverse outcomes of aspatial incentives and regulations on housing affordability. A cluster analysis provides an outline of the differentiation within Sydney's housing submarkets, identifying five distinct types of submarkets. The policy implications of these distinct submarkets are explored to demonstrate the utility of a spatially sensitive decision support system.
MacDonald, HI 2011, 'Resolving the affordable housing conundrum in slack housing markets: the Sydney case', State of Australian Cities National Conference 2011, State of Australian Cities (SOAC) Conference, SOAC, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-11.
Sydney's metro-wide housing deficit is a barrier to the city's future growth, and its economic and social prosperity. The state's projections that the metropolitan area will grow from 4.2 million people in 2010 to 6 million in 2036 (NSW Department of Planning 2010) raise difficult questions about how the housing market will cope with this growth. Estimates put the 2009 NSW housing deficit at approximately 57,600 homes (National Housing Supply Council 2010). Future population growth will require an additional 770,000 new homes by 2036 (NSW Department of Planning 2010). Residential development has not kept pace with household growth, even given that households have grown less fast than we would expect based on population (average household size remains fairly high at 2.51) - a classic indicator of frustrated demand, reflecting households doubling up as a response to high housing prices. The housing deficit adds to the affordability problems faced by new market entrants, who must defer home purchase while saving for a deposit, or take on large mortgage debts. Continued affordability problems are likely to affect the availability of a skilled labour force, and thus dampen economic growth, in addition to the costs of the growing material inequality in a two-tier society made up of a landed gentry of property owners, and those trapped in escalating rental housing or who are indentured to high mortgage debts.
MacDonald, HI 2010, 'Can we make affordable, accessible housing financially feasible in Sydney?', 5th Australasian Housing Researchers' Conference, 17-19 November 2010: refereed papers, 5th Australasian Housing Rersearcher's Conference, The University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ, pp. 1-18.
Stimulating affordable, accessible infill development is essential if Sydneyâs housing deficit is to be reduced without the environmental impacts of large scale Greenfield development. But despite a Metro Strategy that targets 70% of new development for infill sites, an enhanced array of Commonwealth and State housing supply subsidies, and increased state government intervention in development regulation, too little affordable market rate housing is being developed (NHSC 2010). One important reason claimed by some commentators is that low-priced housing is not financially feasible in accessible locations. Some interesting recent analyses have identified a significant gap between the costs of housing development and the price at which it will sell, and suggest that merely increasing densities will not resolve this problem (NHSC 2010; Graus 2010). Is it possible to rethink the form in which subsidies are provided, or the ways that development is regulated, to enable developers to produce housing that is both affordable and accessible? This paper investigates this question, using a hypothetical set of development options for three sites in Sydneyâs middle ring suburban southwest. I focus on market rate housing affordable to new home buyers (although there is significant overlap with the provision of affordable market rate rental housing). I do not address the provision of social housing which generally provides deeper subsidies to low income households, although the argument presented here may have implications for subsidized housing provision. Sydneyâs housing affordability problems stretch quite far up the income distribution, with median home prices reaching $625,488 in mid-2010 (APM 2010).
MacDonald, HI 2008, 'Teaching housing finance to planning students: reflections from US experience', ANZAPS Conference 2008: Planning Education in a Globalised World, ANZAPS Conference 2008: Planning Education in a Globalised World, ANZAPS (Australia-New Zealand Association of Planning Schools), University of Sydney, pp. 205-213.
Twenty years ago, few US planning programs taught much finance and very few taught housing finance. That has changed: housing finance has become an important part of the curriculum in many US schools, at least at the post-graduate level. Some comparable changes appear to be underway in Australia. After more than decade of little federal involvement in expanding the affordable housing supply, Australia appears to be in the process of re-inventing a framework for public- private housing partnerships. However, significant differences remain between planning systems in Australia and the US. Nevertheless, there is a case to be made for improving financial literacy among Australian planning students. First, planners may play greater role in the emerging professionalised community-based housing sector, if they have the skills needed to respond to new development opportunities. Second, innovative regulatory strategies to expand the supply of affordable housing could also increase the entrepreneurial possibilities open to local government planners. Third, looking beyond housing issues, planners with a sound grasp of development financing will be much more effective regulators. Financially literate planners will be in a better position to analyse the public's costs and benefits in development proposals and to argue to feasible improvements to those proposal
MacDonald, HI, Marsh, C, Simeon, M, Ralston, C, Kuecker, C & Joshi, A University of Iowa 2008, Scott County Housing Needs Assessment, pp. 1-99, Iowa City, Iowa.
Research on county and city housing markets, reviewed by clients and local experts
MacDonald, HI Iowa Finance Authority 2007, Affordable Housing in Iowa: meeting new challenges, pp. 1-47, Des Moines, Iowa.
. Iowa faces a signi? cant challenge over the next decade. In the words of a recent report, The state faces the danger of worker and skill gaps that could undermine its businesses, erode the earning power of its workers, and slow its economic growth. (Iowa Works Campaign, 2006) Iowas economic and demographic stability depends on attracting new immigrants and slowing the departure of residents. Eroding housing affordability and quality will make this more dif? cult. Housing alone cannot solve the problem, but it must be part of the solution. This study examines trends in the states major housing markets, analyzes the achievements of housing programs in the recent past, and incorporates input from more than 80 housing experts across the state. The second part of this study (included on the attached CD) analyzes housings impact on the economy. We developed three major policy recommendations
MacDonald, HI, Funderberg, R, Swenson, D, Russett, A & Simeon, M Iowa Finance Authority 2007, Housing's Economic and Social Impacts, pp. 1-101, Des Moines, Iowa.
Larger family housing developments slowed neighboring property value appreciation in Polk County by 3.8% in the first year or two after developments were approved, but had no significant effect once developments were established (three to four years after approval). Mixed-income, high-quality developments had no significant effect on neighboring values during the first year or two, but once developments were established, had significant positive effects on property values, increasing them on average by 8%. Elderly housing developments increased neighboring property value appreciation by about 5% in the first year or two, but had no significant further effect.