Alternative Housing ideas Challenge started in the City of Sydney with a goal to find new solutions to create a more diverse housing in the city. The focus of the challenge is to increase the amount of affordable housing.

The challenge hopes to inspire participants to come up with fresh ideas for affordable housing through design, financing and management. It is basically open to everyone who wants to bring innovation to this sector, like designers, financiers, architects, lawyers, planners, student and community organisers.

At the end of the challenge, the jury will choose up to six plans from participants, and each will receive $20,000 to put their concepts to the test.

The rules of the challenge state that all entries must:

  • Meet the definition of affordable housing defined by the city or be cheaper
  • Be easily replicable
  • Be scalable
  • Be environmentally sustainable
  • Be a place where residents could live
  • Be financially viable
  • Be innovative in minimum two of these areas: management, construction, design, planning, ownership, urban land supplying, financing or tenancy type

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that there is a housing affordability crisis going on in Sydney and that different variants of housing are needed to help support the diversity in the community.

Moore stated that since 2004, the city helped construct around 835 new affordable housing structures. They have managed to do so by selling the city’s land to affordable housing developers at lower prices and by collecting levies from developers. She finds that this kind of affordable housing is needed to help workers like paramedics, nurses and teachers live closer to work, which enables them to get to work faster and improve their wellbeing.

However, Moore finds that what they have done is not enough. Their goal is to help low-income workers, families and older residents in the city to be able to have access to affordable housing. This is the reason the city has decided to create an Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge. She believes that with new and creative ideas, the city might find a model that will help develop small towns.

The community will also provide feedback about the top six concepts, as part of the consultations regarding the next plan, called Sustainable Sydney 2050.

Anyone interested to share their concept will be able to participate from Tuesday 26 March until Wednesday 8 May 2019.