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The dominance of speculative multi-unit housing provision is not unique to Australia, with the majority of privately owned multi-unit dwellings in developed nations realised speculatively. However, around the globe, a long history of demand-led multi-unit innovations exists as a minority contribution to housing supply and has been the subject of renewed interest from both housing researchers and practitioners over recent years.


A common factor among international examples of alternative (or non-speculative) multi-unit housing provision is the redefinition of the role of the financiers and property developers.  Examples in Germany have been described as “developing without developers” and attributed with contributing to housing diversity and affordability, supporting community development and environmental investment, and facilitating urban regeneration.


Diversification of housing provision systems enables citizen participation in development, facilitating “an alternative outcome that would not otherwise have existed” (Jarvis 2015, p. 205) and realising a “flexible pathway towards diverse futures” (Ache & Fedrowitz 2012, p. 410) – all ambitions of Australia’s strategic urban plans.  


While alternative multi-unit housing sectors are maturing internationally, professionals and collectives of household pursuing similar ideas in Australia continue to face significant challenges. This research will document the experiences of stakeholders over time; examining the relational networks of social and technical actors in alternative multi-unit housing developments and building knowledge to support alternative multi-unit housing provision into the future.

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