This project aims to evaluate, and protect, the health and wellbeing of tenants of the Waterloo public housing estate as it is redeveloped to an ultra-high density and mixed tenure precinct.

Chief investigators

  • Christopher Standen
  • Fiona Haigh
  • Hazel Easthope
  • Susan Woolfenden
  • Xiaoqi Feng
  • Melanie Andersen
  • Erica McIntyre
  • Patrick Harris

Project Rationale

The Waterloo public housing estate has about 2,000 medium/high-density dwellings, many in need of refurbishment. Approximately 8% of residents are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

The NSW Government in 2015 announced plans to redevelop the estate at a higher density to include 7,000 dwellings, with two thirds private and one third social. Construction is expected to commence in 2022 and to last 15–20 years.

A health impact assessment (HIA) of the proposal by Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) focused on the potential for residents to experience psychological distress while awaiting rehousing. It recommended a longitudinal study to assess and act on the health impacts of the redevelopment.

Project Aim/s

  1. Assess the health impacts of a large-scale, long-term public housing redevelopment and change in tenure mix.
  2. Inform the planning and design of future public housing redevelopments in NSW and elsewhere, leading to improvements to environmental determinants of health.
  3. Respond to immediate health needs of tenants.
  4. Enhance relationships between project team members and Sydney Local Health District

Project Design and Method

The pilot study assessed the self-reported health status and behaviours of a sample of tenants, using a questionnaire administered online or face-to-face. Participants identified as being at risk of psychological distress or alcohol use disorder were referred to a link worker.

The full-scale study will use a quasi-experimental design with linked administrative data.


Christopher Standen
Phone: 02 9065 6081

Key Partners

  • Sydney Local Health District
  • University of Technology Sydney


Healthy Urban Environments Collaboratory


  • Standen C, McIntyre E, Easthope H, Green J, Haigh, F. (in press). Assessing the health of tenants of a social housing estate undergoing redevelopment: lessons from a pilot project. Public Health Research & Practice
Project lead centre


Research Area

Health Environment