Redeveloping Waterloo public housing

This issue is for Waterloo public housing tenants and those interested in large-scale public housing redevelopments. Waterloo tenants have the opportunity to raise their comments and concerns during the forthcoming consultation about the redevelopment of their estate and homes. This magazine and activities organised by agencies and community groups, aim to help tenants have a voice in the discussions.

This redevelopment is important, not just for those in Waterloo, but also for other estates. Estate redevelopments at Waterloo and Ivanhoe create precedents for other redevelopments. Waterloo is the largest estate in the country. Over 20 years 2012 units, of Waterloo’s 2500 units, will be pulled down to create 7000 new units with no loss of social housing.

How will these densities work for a public housing system that allocates housing to the most needy, giving priority to those with mental health, substance misuse, trauma and numerous other issues? What is necessary for these people to form a vibrant new “mixed” community with aged tenants, students and the owner-occupiers of the million dollar inner city apartments? Why is it necessary? Much could go wrong and many questions need addressing if the redevelopment is to work for tenants as well as for government.

This issue includes Waterloo specific articles on What do we know about the Waterloo redevelopment? This covers the master planning process and the key Government Undertakings for Waterloo. We also include a Who’s Who in Waterloo? to provide an overview of government and community players. The Capacity Building and Community Development projects in place to support tenants are covered in Redevelopment Support Projects.

On broader public housing redevelopment, we include More than bricks and mortar: Robyn’s Reflections on the lessons from Minto. Shelter NSW and The Tenants Union NSW have recently proposed A Compact for Renewal Projects between communities and government to avoid the problems of past developments and Shelter NSW produced a guide to Tenant involvement in public housing estate redevelopment. We also include our own Tips on being heard during master planning.

We explore the policy context in Public Housing – on the up and up and up! and City of Sydney planning density concerns provides Council’s 2016 reaction to the densities proposed for Waterloo. We also explore the public housing redevelopment vehicle in Communities Plus – something old something new and ask Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW – Is it good policy?

Renewing public housing is not just about buildings; it is crucially about people. It is about Social Mix and the Challenges in Creating It. Also From the Vault looks at What is a “Better Social Mix”? from Spring 2003Can the people problems be fixed by estate redevelopment? explores the human services challenges facing people with high needs, while Reducing redevelopment impact on health and wellbeing looks at the role of Health Impact Assessments in planning a redevelopment.

Finally we provide some housing context in Public housing in New South Wales: a brief history and explore two of the proposed housing types – Is community housing set to feature in Waterloo Estate Rebuild? and What is affordable housing and why do we need it?

Charmaine Jones and Geoff Turnbull Co-editors Inner Sydney Voice.