Associate Professor Julie Lawson

Julie Lawson was appointed Honorary Associate Professor in 2013 for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute in the Centre for Urban Research. Her interests include international comparative research, urban development, land and housing policy and social housing finance.

Julie is currently Associate Editor of the leading journal Housing Theory and Society and has been awarded two AHURI grants in 2014 and 2015 for international research focusing on the transformation of public housing under federalism and the individualisation of housing assistance.

Her career as an urban researcher and international housing policy analyst has been guided by a strong commitment to international and interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and policy reform. Julie’s specialisations are sustainable and socially inclusive cities, urban planning and infrastructure investment, housing policy and comparative urban development. The main themes of her research concern:

  • Circuits of investment underpinning urban infrastructure, including affordable housing
  • International practice and progress in sustainable urban and housing policy
  • Organisational development and practice in the affordable rental housing sector
  • Social inclusion and environmental sustainability through strategic urban planning
  • Theoretical and methodological developments in comparative urban research

As an inter-disciplinary researcher, Julie creatively draws on ideas from critical realist philosophy, institutional and political economy, banking and finance, urban planning and development. She has led many multi-disciplinary research teams and played a ground-breaking role in theoretical and methodological approaches to comparative urban research (on critical realism, comparative historical analysis, path dependency, process tracing, crises and adaptation, thin rationality and relational risk). Her extensive national and international field work has examined on urban development pathways, housing systems, security of rental housing, social housing finance and regulation.

Her research has informed critique and innovation in housing and urban policy in Australia and overseas. Her recent work includes an international review of urban and housing policy, evaluation of six international social housing financing mechanisms, development of housing supply bonds, an international review use of guarantees and specialist financial intermediaries and a proposal for an Affordable Housing Finance Corporation to promote investment in affordable rental housing in Australia.

Julie’s publication record includes more than 60 international articles and conference papers, including 11 books, peer-reviewed scientific reports and book chapters, 17 peer-reviewed articles and more than 40 conference papers and professional publications. Her work is regularly reported in the quality media, such as Australian Finance Review, The Conversation and ABC Life Matters.

Julie has a strong international profile amongst international organisations (UN Habitat, UN Economic Commission for Europe, Housing Europe) and key industry bodies and is a regular speaker at international and national forums (Australian National Housing Conference, ENHR, CECODHAS, ISH. SUM, Housing Exchange Network).

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