On Wednesday, August 1st, in a special event at UNSW, Professor Patrick Troy AO, Adjunct Professor in the City Futures Research Centre, will be launching his new book Accommodating Australians: Commonwealth Government Involvement in Housing.  The book explores the way the Australian Government took stock of the critical situation facing Australia’s housing supply in the middle of a world war and then developed a housing program in the post war period to improve the way they were accommodated, but how that vision became derailed in the following forty years.

The story is about the ambitions of those who witnessed the extremes of housing deprivation during the Depression and resolved to improve the quality of housing, to make it more affordable and the nation fairer.  It is a story about the rise and fall of public housing and helps explain why Australian housing is now among the most expensive in the developed world. The book also addresses Commonwealth initiatives, in large part driven by various States who were critical of the prevailing approach to urban development, that led to the introduction of town planning in Australia.

But it is a book with an edge: a story about the way a rational consideration of the way we develop our cities succumbed to a pre-occupation with accommodating the short term needs of the development industry and the rise of political ideologies antagonistic to the idea of public intervention.  Professor Troy charts the history of this key, but sadly neglected, aspect of Commonwealth-State relations over the last 70 years, not least in its impact on the suburban development of Sydney from the 1950s to the 1970s. It also explores the way interpretations of the Constitution have evolved to result in the Commonwealth gradually assuming greater authority over the States in the development and management of our housing (as in other areas).  The book, in large measure, documents the fragile and limited nature of the idea of the Federation and the few opportunities taken to see things as a nation rather than a loose coalition of States.

The launch will take place in the Tyree room, Scientia building at UNSW, 6.30 - 8pm (there will be pre-event drinks / canapés served from 5.30pm.) Keep an eye on our website for more details.  The book will be launched by Prof Peter Spearritt, one of Australia’s leading urban historians and an internationally acclaimed speaker on Australian urban affairs. 

About the Author:

Professor Patrick Troy AO is an Adjunct Professor in the City Futures Research Centre at the Faculty of the Built Environment at UNSW. He holds a degree in Town Planning from West Australia and a Masters degree in Highway Engineering from UNSW as well as Honorary Doctorates from Melbourne and Griffith Universities. He is an MICE, FPIA and FASSA. Before pursuing a research career Professor Troy worked as an engineer and planner in the private sector and for State and municipal agencies. He has served on Statutory authorities of State and Federal government agencies. He was head of the Urban Research Program at the Australian National University and was Deputy Head of the Department of Urban and Regional Development and Deputy Chair of the Australian Housing Corporation. He has had a close relationship with the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW since its inception in 2004.

A limited number of signed copies of the book will be available for purchase on the night; alternatively the book may be purchased via The UNSW Bookshop website: http://www.bookshop.unsw.edu.au.