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Population Diversity and Housing Access Challenges

Question:

Discuss about the Developing Sustainable Places for Urbanism.

The City of Parramatta is facing sustainability challenges with regard to offering its inhabitants or residence a fair chance to all of them to benefit from achieved growth equitably. The city has unique sustainability challenges that it seeks to address going forward. (Freire and Stren, 2001) These include lack of access to green and open space, high housing cost and population diversity and housing access among other challenges. This paper will seek to address the question of population diversity and housing access with regard to its sustainability.

The city population currently stands at 245, 282 people and this is expected to increase by 152, 057 in the next twenty years. (Cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au, 2017) This is more than double of the current population and considering the fact that there is no evidence at the moment that indicate that natural resource such land is likely to expand in future then the need for land for expansion in the city is likely to increase going forward. It is therefore imperative that these challenges are addressed with the view of coming up with strategic and sustainable measures/policies upon which the issue of population diversity and housing access in the city can be addressed.

The City council of Parramatta should ensure that a good strategy in offering quality affordable houses to everyone in Parramatta is implemented. One way of doing so is by first looking at the demographic distribution or spectra of the city. The council can do this by considering partnerships with local financial institutions such that the residence of the city can visit any of their preferred financial provider for the purposes of obtaining mortgage for acquiring or building a decent home. Considering the fact that the population will continually increase to unprecedented levels then the local government of Parramatta would not afford to build or acquire everyone a house at a subsidized rate to make everyone acquire a decent house. Through the partnerships the banks can advance house loans or mortgage to the residences depending on their ability to repay the loans. The loans can be guaranteed by the council so that it can attract lowest possible interest rate that will make beneficiaries repay the loans without much burden occasioned by high interest rates. The council should come up with a partnership policy that will guide the nature of relationship the banks or the financial institutions will have with the council. This should be made such that since The City Council of Parramatta is a reputable organization, actually a local government, the interest rates pegged on the mortgage advanced to the residents and guaranteed by the council should attract least interest rates than the prevailing market rates because the risk associated with the loan is low considering the reputation and the stability of the guarantor who is the council.  This way every resident will have a chance of acquiring a decent home so as long as he or she is the resident of the city and has a viable plan of repaying the loan. With this strategy many people in the City of Parramatta will be able to acquire decent housing against their salaries or business or any other venture that earns them a leaving. This strategy will standardize issue of housing such that decent houses will not be a preserve of the privileged only in the city. Essentially what the council will be doing is taking the risk on behalf of the resident while carrying out due diligences in the manner in which loans are advanced to the applicants. This can be achieved by setting up a credit reference bureau co-owned by the partnering banks or financial institutions and the City council of Parramatta. The reference bureau will generate credit score for every applicant of the program such that people with poor record of repayment may further undergo analysis and be assisted in areas they experience challenges in repaying the loans advanced to them.  Alternatively, people who score less on the credit score can be monitored more closely by releasing the funds in trenches such that if they decide to take up the option of building a home as opposed to acquiring ready one then, funds for foundation can first be released and the same to be accounted for first before the next bunch is released for subsequent parts of the project.  (Bloom, 2008) The council in partnership with the financial institutions should also construct apartments containing several units taking advantage of the space in the atmosphere and selling or mortgaging these units to the residents of the city. The units contained in the apartment should be able to accommodate diverse demographic spectra in the Parramatta population. This program can be pegged at 10 years after which the program can be relooked again in regard to the conditions that would be prevailing at that point in time and further adjustments can be made or a new strategy can be adopted altogether. The impact of economic factors on this strategy will be minimal considering the fact that the city will be the main guarantor of the mortgage facilities thereby all the residents of the city  will have an equal chance and opportunity which will be mainly driven by viability of his or her repayment plan. Social factors such as unemployment will be the main challenges of the strategy but this can be countered by the fact that all that is needed is a viable plan on the part of the borrower to repay the loans. (Bloom, 2008) In any case the property will still be available for reposition incase the borrower completely fails to honor his or her pledge. Political factor is likely not to affect successful implementation of this strategy given the fact that the all people in the city will have an equal opportunity to apply and be considered to take part in the project.

Mortgage Partnership with Financial Institutions

To further tackle the issue of population diversity and housing access sustainability challenges in Parramatta, the council can consider adopting alternative ownership strategy that would see residence that by any chance will not be able to acquire houses under the Council-Banks mortgage partnership can still achieved the same objective of having a decent home for living. This strategy is developed in acknowledgement that not everyone in the city will qualify for the mortgage as a result of lacking a viable repayment plan that can be admitted by both the council and the banks. (Soen, 2013) The alternative ownership strategy will offer the occupier of the house a chance have a decent housing while at the same time paying less as it would be the case of taking up mortgage. This strategy can be implemented again in partnership between the City Council of Parramatta and the financial institutions offering mortgage service. In this case the mortgage will be advanced to the council instead of the resident such that the units constructed will belong to the council but be advanced to residence of the city who will not be able to qualify for the mortgage themselves. Considering the fact that unemployment is a major issue of concern in the city it means that there would be a number of people who will not make the cut for the mortgage facility based on the ability to repay. However with alternative ownership this group of the people will be able to acquire affordable houses or units for living or staying as a home. This concept is based on the fact that the council is not out to make profits out of the units it will build using its own resources or mortgages advanced to it by the financial institutions unlike the private property owners who will need profit. (Soen, 2013) This strategy is aimed at one main objective of lowering and stabilizing the cost of both the residential and commercial houses in the city. The law of demand and supply in the market dictates that when demand is high supply is low and the prices go up, which is the current state of property market in the City of Parramatta. What will this strategy do is that it will increase the supply of decent houses in the market especially for the people in the lower segment of economic stability. This will in turn decrease the demand and therefore prices will fall further improving the issue of housing in the city. This strategy will also be in force for 10 years after which changes can be made either wholly or in part. (Cho and Kriz?nik, 2017) Looking at the strategy in regard to impact of the economic factors it is evident that the strategy will work well for the less privileged in the Parramatta society considering the fact that the council will not be charging profits on the monthly rents but only the capital invested in the project unlike what the private developers will do. This means that the economic factor in the city will not be a major determinant in the process of acquiring this type of houses. Social factors will however be a challenge to this program in view of the fact that the population of city has diverse demographics which include people with families, people leaving with disability among others. This will present logistical challenges in that the houses will need to be constructed in tandem with they way the population is demographically stratified but the study envisages that this challenge will be minimal if the city council first carry out censors to determine numbers in each category of people. (Flint, 2010) The study also envisages that there will be minimal impact on the strategy in relation to political factors given that the project will be an open opportunity for all without any bias or favor.

Alternative Ownership Strategy

The design of the houses should be such that they utilize the lateral atmosphere or simply put be storey building. This is in response to the fact that in the next 20 years the population of the city is may increase by about two-thirds of its current population size. This means that land for expansion is going to be one of the major challenges in housing in the city. To avert or minimize this effect the design of the housing should be such that residential areas area grouped together and of storey structure. The grouping together of the residential areas will also ease connection of social amenities such as water, roads and electricity to the residential areas thereby presenting a more sustainable way of handling housing issues in future.  (Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies appropriations for fiscal year 2008, 2008) The design of the house should also consider demographic representation of the city’s population such that buildings should be able to accommodate even the physically challenged the elderly and any other disadvantaged group. The designs should also be as simple as possible such that it does not lead to high cost of construction rendering the whole program unsustainable given the amount of money required for implementation. (Ewing and Clemente, 2013) Analyzing the impact of economic factor in this strategy it is evident that the cost of construction should be kept as low as possible and as such the design of this project should be simple as possible. Social factors will also affect the way the design of the houses will be made. For example, depending on the number of people with families in the city the council will be required to accommodate this figure will constructing the units. (Bloom, 2008) On the other people living with disabilities should also be accommodated by designing appropriate pathways or lifts that can make them to easily access their homes on their own. This report does not envisage much impact on the strategy from the political factors given that the project will be open for all the people who qualify and the terms of agreement are agreeable to them. (Chavan, Peralta and Steins, 2007) However to ensure that political factors does not become an issue in the entire project the City Council of Parramatta should invite opinion and input to the strategy from the residents of the city so that all the grievances are listened to before the program can be launched.

Design of Houses

While implementing the project the council should put the needs of the customer first by considering their applications with the view of having them qualify for the first option of the strategy, the mortgage financing. This will ensure that as many people in the city will be owners of the affordable decent homes. The second option of renting should be reserved for those people who in all aspects can not manage to repay the mortgage in good time.  Ewing and Clemente, 2013).  This way, many people will move from their old homes to either take up the option of mortgage or rent houses from the council at a very affordable monthly income. Since the City also intends to reach out to all the people in the city without discrimination or inadvertently leading to a situation where a section of the people in the city are not able to enroll for the mortgage program by design, the council should roll over all the applicants who can not benefit from the first strategy to the second one where the can have decent hosing through alternative ownership. The main issue for the city is to ensure that housing problems are sorted out before it sprawls out of control. Thus those who will not qualify for the mortgage program can enroll for the less costly program of renting the units from the council. (Soen, 2013) This will have achieved the overall goal of assisting the residents especially the less privileged to acquire decent housing will at the same time ensuring that funds committed for building these units are not put to unfeasible risk of repayment.

The council should also ensure that a detailed census is first carried out in the city of Parramatta to find out details about how the city population is demographically stratified. This will ensure that when the project is implemented the units constructed should be a fair representative of how the population of the city is stratified in terms of people with families, singles, people living with disability, age groups among other details that will guide how the units will be constructed. (Soen, 2013) This way the city will ensure that all the diverse groups in the population will be given a fair chance in acquiring the units.

The above mentioned strategies should undergo continuous improvement depending on the outcome from the market upon implementation. This will ensure that unique challenges that may arise are dealt with at early stages.        

Conclusion

In conclusion urban sustainability challenges concerning population diversity and housing access should be handled in early stages of the challenge to avert future problems which are likely to become more challenging. The strategies laid down by this paper have a good chance of ensuring the issue of population diversity and housing access in the city of Parramatta is dealt with effectively and early enough considering the current population of the city and the expected population in the next 20 years as mentioned in this paper. The City Council of Parramatta should therefore look at the raised strategies in this paper with a view of looking at the possibility of implementing the strategy to resolve the current population and sustainability challenges in the city.

References

Bloom, N. (2008). Public housing that worked. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Chavan, A., Peralta, C. and Steins, C. (2007). Planetizen contemporary debates in urban planning. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Cho, I. and Kriz?nik, B. (2017). Community-based urban development. Singapore: Springer.

Cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au. (2017). City of Parramatta. [online] Available at: https://www.cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au [Accessed 28 Oct. 2017].

Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies appropriations for fiscal year 2008. (2008). Washington: U.S. G.P.O.

Ewing, R. and Clemente, O. (2013). Measuring urban design. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Farr, D. (2012). Sustainable Urbanism. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Flint, J. (2010). Housing, urban governance and anti-social behaviour. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Freire, M. and Stren, R. (2001). The challenge of urban government. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

Jorgensen, A. and Keenan, R. (2012). Urban wildscapes. Londen [etc.]: Routledge.

Larice, M. and Macdonald, E. (2010). The urban design reader. London: Routledge.

Soen, D. (2013). New Trends in Urban Planning. Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies appropriations for fiscal year 2009. (2009). Washington: U.S. G.P.O.

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