Citizens and Cities : Citizens and Cities
9 EY and citizen-focused cities | 8 | EY and citizen-focused cities Citizens express considerable frustration and fear about the current and future affordability of their cities and, in particular, the affordability of housing. But they also understand the value of being able to participate in the city experience and its power to help them create the life they want. “If you don’t build enough housing and you don’t build enough offices, offices and housing become very expensive. This is one of these factors that’s just very, very hard to get around. I cannot tell you how much I argue with British politicians who think that there is something we can do on the demand side of the market without addressing the supply side. The problem is that no one in this room wants that policy either, not when it comes to their own neighbourhood or their own small place where they’re living. So, I don’t know how we get around this.” Henry Overman, Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics Cost of living More than half of respondents say they are frustrated by the high cost of living, a figure that rises to 64% in Sydney. Only 29% believe that everyday costs of living are reasonable. People are particularly concerned about the high cost of transport, especially parking (45%) and public transport (34%). As cities expand and people seek affordable housing further out, the cost and provision of transport is becoming a larger part of family budgets. 55% I’mfrustrated bythe high cost of living 26% housing isaffordable in my city housing is well planned in my city 1in3 “ Infrastructure isn’t keeping up with population growth. It’s always going to expand, but the further out you push from the CBD, the more isolated communities get, so you can’t be culturally integrated with everyone else”. (Young adult, Inner Melbourne) 38% 56% housing is not affordable in my city Melbourne Sydney 45% 64% I am frustrated by the high cost of living Melbourne Sydney “ Infrastructure needs to keep up with growth. But it isn’t. Infrastructure is not keeping pace with the development of houses and apartments. Hold on, it seems like the planning developers have more say than the people that live in the street.” (Older family, Outer Sydney) Housing Younger generations are starting to question if they will ever own a home, especially one where they want to live. Older generations share this concern, as well as the broader implications for their family if members are forced to live further apart. Although citizens accept the need for different home ownership options, the ultimate desire for home ownership remains strong. To be unable to afford a home, is deemed an unacceptable compromise to the Australian lifestyle and an indicator that Australian cities have lost their way. Despite the desire for affordability, citizens take issue with housing that does not consider the broader community context. Ill-conceived development that erodes community experience is not seen as a long- term solution. Affordability | Agility | Amenity | Safety | Spaces | Opportunity What citizens want in their cities The affordability balance Not only is the cost of housing a real pain point for citizens, it can also restrict their ability to enjoy other aspects of city living. To help balance financial affordability pressure, citizens look to other benefits that the city may offer, such as events, access to different environments, social connections and employment opportunities.