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This is why apartment living is different for the poor

In the first of a series of articles on The Conversation about the place of lower-income and disadvantaged residents in our cities, Hazel Easthope and colleagues write (21.8.17) that, in the push for more compact cities, we shouldn’t forget the ways that apartment living is different, and often difficult, for low-income and disadvantaged households.

‘There’s been a lot of talk about apartment living of late. Whether it’s millennials who can’t afford to buy a house, downsizers making a lifestyle change, owner-occupiers struggling to get defective buildings fixed, or foreign investors buying into new development, there’s no shortage of opinions and interest.

‘Except for one group: lower-income and vulnerable residents. In Greater Sydney, the latest census data show that almost one in five households (17%) living in apartments and townhouses have weekly household incomes of less than A$649.

‘Among this group the largest sub-group (36%) live in private rental housing. That’s more than 72,000 households living on $649 or less per week in a housing market where average weekly rents for apartments are $550.

‘… Why does this matter? It matters because some things about apartment and townhouse living are fundamentally different to living in a house. These differences have particular impacts on lower-income and vulnerable people living in higher-density housing.’

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