Friday, July 26, 2013

Residents’ Voices Book Project

Interested in redevelopments of social housing estates? You may like to keep in touch with the Residents’ Voices Project. 

Residents’ Voices is a global network where social housing residents are the experts.  Two current projects are a website and book.

The Residents’ Voices website provides a resident-led forum for tenants to share their experience and knowledge of being a social or public housing tenant and, where necessary, to challenge the views of non-residents. Through this website you can get involved in a redevelopment debate, contribute to an existing Residents’ Voices project or start a new project. You will have the opportunity to highlight the issues that are important to you and your community and to share your stories with other tenants in different streets, states and countries. The website also has video snap shots.

Residents, community workers and researchers from Inner Sydney, Western Sydney and Chicago are also collaboratively writing a book that challenges the misrepresentations of public housing tenants and estates. This book is about challenging policy assumptions and validating the experiences of residents. 

The book will outline a suite of public housing tenants experiences and observations that critically investigate poverty, place and disadvantage. Drawing on empirical case studies from the US and Australia the contributions will challenge conventional approaches to researching poverty, place and disadvantage. The central aim of the book is to challenge the representations and misrepresentations of public housing tenants and estates by validating the narratives and knowledge of residents.

Over the last decade policy-makers in the US, UK and Australia – often through a public, private or non-government housing manager – have set out to ‘de-concentrate’ poor households. These policy interventions have been justified and undertaken in the absence of conclusive research data about the many drivers of concentrations of disadvantage. International inquiry into poverty, place and disadvantage has been dominated by conventional research methodologies that have failed to determine whether the geographic concentration of disadvantaged households exacerbates disadvantage or contributes to the reproduction of poverty.

When participatory research methodologies are used to collaborate with the residents of so-called ‘disadvantaged places’, questions and definitions of poverty, place and disadvantage are radically restructured. The book will argue for an approach to understanding and addressing disadvantage that draws on the knowledge of the residents themselves.  Currently there is a call out for residents to participate in the book.

For more information about the book project contact Dallas Rogers.  
Telephone: 0432 295 605

The broader university research project that Resident Voices is part of is being supported by the Australian Research Council, St Vincent de Paul Society, The Tenants' Union of NSW, the University of Western Sydney, Flinders University and Centre for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University, Chicago.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Anzac Parade South: consultation

As we mentioned in our last post the NSW State Government is proposing to increase heights and density along Anzac Parade South.

Kingsford and Maroubra from the air (photo: Bidgee)

Some social housing estates are included in this process.

The Government is about to start consulting with the community on these projects and like Randwick Council, who provided this information in a recent e-news bulletin, we think it is important residents know what is going on and how to be involved.

Find out about the consultation processes in the Draft NSW Urban Activation Precincts Guideline.
    We liked the following in the Draft NSW Urban Activation Precincts Guideline:
      “Community engagement is important when investigating potential changes to a precinct. In addition to the formal public exhibition process, community reference groups may also be established where the Department considers it appropriate. These groups should include a broad membership from the local community. The purpose of these groups will be for representative members of all sections of the community to access information and provide better informed feedback throughout the investigation process. Other community engagement techniques may also be used, tailored to the individual precincts.”
        We think major changes to social housing make it appropriate to have a community reference group. Local communities know what local communities need.