Growth in Student Population and Declining Housing
Sustainable Neighbourhoods: Growth in Student Population and
Declining Housing Affordability
Presenter: Nnenna Ike
PhD Candidate, University of The Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia)
AHRC 2015 Conference –Housing Futures,
Transforming Living, Changing Lives
The Study in Context
• Growth in population- In the past six decades, the Australian HE sector has undergone
significant changes with significant increase in enrolment by both domestic and overseas
students (Bradley et al., 2008, Australia Universities, 2013a).
• Limited university-provided housing spaces - Australian universities provide
accommodation for about 5% of the nation’s over 1,000,000 students (Earp, 2010).
• Influx of students into the private rental market- Logically from point 2 above, 95% of the
student population are either in the private rental market or living at home. This can put
pressure on the private rental housing (Susilawati and Armitage, 2004).
• Decline in affordable housing- Often, it is difficult for students to find affordable housing
within reasonable distance of university campuses, in both inner cities and regional areas
(Universities Australia, 2014) as ‘housing affordability in Australia has deteriorated substantially
in the last twenty years’ (O’Neill et al., 2008 pg. 9).
Definition adopted in this study: Housing is said to be affordable if it is of a standard that may be considered adequate (safe and suitable) and does not cost the individual more than 30% of their
income such that they are still able to meet their other basic living costs on a sustainable basis (Yates and Milligan, 2007).
Theoretical Framework of the Study
A process arising from the
(over) concentration of
students living in an area
(neighbourhood); leading to
the formation of “student
areas or enclaves” in
THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF STUDENTIFICATION
Over-concentration of students in university neighbourhoods can lead to economic, physical, social and cultural changes based on
students’ unintentional activities in the neighbourhood (Smith, 2008, 2009; Hubbard, 2008; Rugg et al., 2010; Pickren, 2012;
Anderson, 2013). Local residents perceive this as either positive or negative. Where negative, it can lead to resentment towards the
students as well as impact the community’s sustainability (National HMO Lobby, 2008).
Students can be
perceived as voracious
consumers of alcohol
leading to drink-fuelled
violence and vandalism
Spending in the local economy
creates spin-offs for restaurants,
groceries, clubs, pubs, sporting
events and facilities bringing
commercial vibrancy during
Unkempt properties, indiscriminate
rental adverts, squalor and
dereliction which may cause
permanent street blight and
background can enrich
community life and
bring about diversity in
dressing, food and
How can safe, affordable and suitable student housing be provided for students, who are an identifiable segment of the
Australian housing market?
How can sustainable communities/neighbourhoods be achieved or promoted by the various stakeholders (Government,
university administration, property developers and investors, local community and urban planners) against the backdrop of a
high number of students living in non-university accommodation?
WHAT ARE THE KEY QUESTIONS?
1. What trend exists in student accommodation provided by Australian universities located in urban and regional areas?
2. What are the factors students consider and the trade-offs they make when deciding on accommodation? How can this
inform a suitable student housing design model?
3. What are the impacts of students’ accommodation in university neighbourhoods and how can this inform policy?
4. What are the institutional and non-institutional factors that influence the supply of student housing? How can planning
policy be used to influence the supply of affordable student housing?
Mixed methods and two case studies of different sized regional universities:
1. University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), Queensland
2. University of New England (UNE), New South Wales
Type of Data
What trend exists in student accommodation provided by Australian universities
located in urban and regional areas?
What are the factors students consider and the trade-offs they make when deciding Quantitative
on accommodation? How can this inform a suitable student housing design model?
What are the impacts of students’ accommodation in university neighbourhoods
and how can this inform policy
Desktop analysis of universities provided bed spaces across
the 39 universities in Australia
Telephone interviews with an officer from Student Services
of 15 universities
Online survey of USC and UNE students
Semi-structured interview of USC students using Photo
Semi-structured interviews of local residents in focus
What are the institutional and non-institutional factors that influence the supply of Document Analysis Analysis of existing state housing policies and planning
student housing? How can planning policy be used to influence the supply of
affordable student housing?
Semi-structured interview of key stakeholders (policy and
planning official, rental property developers, not-forprofits, and university authority)
A significant number of studies have been carried out about housing affordability and
the Australian housing sector (Gabriel et al., 2005, Yates and Gabriel, 2006, Yates and
Milligan, 2007, Dockery et al., 2010, Lovering, 2013, Rowley et al., 2014, SCHAA,
2008, Gilmour and Milligan, 2008, Beer et al., 2006, Burke et al., 2007, Meen and
Nonetheless, there is limited literature on student housing affordability as a subset of
the broader housing sector. This study, in exploring student housing as an identifiable
and growing sector of the Australian housing market, offers original and practical
applications by advancing:
student housing design models to address the housing affordability issue experienced
by students. This will provide useful knowledge on how to increase the student
housing supply stock.
theories on studentification and its relational role to neighbourhood changes. This
can be used to inform policy and planning approaches that enhance student and