Dr Dorina Pojani is Associate in urban planning at the University of Queensland, Australia, with a degree in Urban Planning from Albania. She is yet another transmitter of property development lobby mantras published on The Conversation. Although she alludes to population growth as a driver of higher prices, she fails to address the turbo-charged role of our migration program in driving housing and social chaos, nor the manufactured quality of this crisis.
She is proposing the usual finger-in-the-dyke ploys to absorb the flood: More housing, more infilling, suppress civil rights to object, incentivise developers by relaxing regulations, etc. In the context of the history of the privatisation of the Australian land and housing system, her apparently slightly cuddly suggestions about public housing would, however, ultimately benefit the property development industry, at tax-payer expense. Although Dr Pojani lectures at the University of Queensland, there is no mention of how Queensland's precarious biodiversity and natural amenity - the very things that attract people there and are so threatened by overpopulation and overdevelopment- will be destroyed by more intensification.
Here is her version of housing as a basic right: "Assistance for people who wish to buy a home but have low incomes and lack access to the “bank of mum and dad” must be guided by the principle that affordable housing is a necessity, just like healthcare and schooling." Sounds good, until you realise that Australians are expected to provide assistance to house anyone from anywhere on the planet who comes here, without regard to numbers, natural amenity, property rights, or democracy.
Her version of free market affordability admits that population growth needs to stabilise so that demand will stabilise, even at market rates. It forgets that the Australian private market will never voluntarily allow that to happen: "Increases in market-rate housing supply. If enough housing is built to meet buyer demand, and the population remains stable in an area, house prices at the metropolitan level will reduce. That’s the law of supply and demand." How would population ever stabilise in any particular area under massive continuous migration? And, isn't that the point? This is an article about maximising profit for property developers, not reducing homelessness.
She also advocates reducing height limits and increasing densification so that developers will get more profit and build even more housing, and of building houses in peoples' backyards. Anticipating a revolt, she adds that [democratic] objections should be resisted and condemns objections as NIMBYism from the upper-classes who are trying to make their neighborhoods exclusive:
"Height bonuses and tax incentives should be provided to developers who build dense housing – especially in inner cities and next to public transport stations. New housing should be in the form of townhouses, condominium towers of varied sizes, and even tiny houses and co-housing compounds where households live as a community with shared spaces. The negative phenomenon of NIMBYism should be resisted. It stems from upper-income classes who cast themselves as progressives defending the local character while in fact they seek exclusivity."
This high-handed dismissal of citizens' rights to self-determination regarding their environment is shocking, but typical of the entitled attitudes that have been cultivated within the planning sector, and backed by untold billions from property developers, financiers, and their allies in mass media and politics.
Pojani is also suggesting rent-controls and student housing. It is hard to believe, however, that she is truly unaware that universities have already invested lucratively in private development aimed at students - just not in the old student halls, that offered modest and relatively cheap supervised accommodation. In fact, she is suggesting that such dormitories should be provided to overseas students in Australia. Good luck threatening the university's property development profits, not to mention the little-mentioned supply of stamp tax to the states that stems from the requirement for foreign students to buy and sell any built property within the year.
She is also promoting government rental subsidies in line with actual rental costs. In this way the tax-payer will help even more to keep up with the stratospheric rise in rents that accompanies Australia's stratospheric rise in mass migration-fueled population growth and related demand for new housing. Because, any money thrown at the population and housing growth vortex always finishes up in the pockets of the big developers.
Pojani's 'new' ideas boil down to old suggestions that predictably mimic what has been pushed on the public for years by developers and their friends in the media and government as 'planning.' Not only do developer-friendly mass media push the developer-agenda, but they are silent on the realities of Federal and State Government population-growth engineering, which is conducted undemocratically via frighteningly large mass migration numbers.
Successive Australian governments have engineered this crisis.
It is time that someone said that the mass-migration inflicted on Australia's population, environment, and democratic institutions, by the Developer-Government, amounts to an invasion, since the public, the voters, have never been consulted or listened to, and they do not want it. There is an undeclared civil war between Australian citizens who tend to have smaller and smaller families and the people who profit from massive population growth. It is conducted with bulldozers instead of tanks, and with manufactured consent, instead of a formal declaration of war, but it is war, nonetheless.