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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Related Content

Projects

Transforming public housing in a federal context

2015–2016

This research examines the transformation of public housing in four federal states: Austria, Germany, Canada and the USA and finds Austria to be a leading example of a sustainable affordable housing industry.

News & Blog

Blog

Reforming land policy for affordable and inclusive housing

13 May 2020

How policy makers regard and manage the ownership and use of land has profound consequences for the affordability of our homes and the inclusiveness of our neighbourhoods.

Blog

How 1 bright light in a bleak social housing policy landscape could shine more brightly

22 November 2019

In the year since the Australian government created the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), its bond aggregator, AHBA, has raised funds for affordable housing providers, allowing them to refinance loans under better conditions.

Blog

Australia’s social housing policy needs stronger leadership and an investment overhaul

03 July 2019

Australia will need another 730,000 social housing dwellings in 20 years if it is to tackle homelessness and housing stress among low-income renters.

Blog

Is social housing essential infrastructure? How we think about it does matter

06 February 2019

As house prices subside from recent record highs, Australians are struggling to obtain the housing they need to be as healthy, well and secure as they could be yet many Australians have no home at all.

Blog

Labor’s housing pledge is welcome, but direct investment in social housing would improve it

18 December 2018

Despite recent falls in the housing market, housing costs and indebtedness bite deeply into household budgets, especially at Christmas time.

Blog

Australia needs to triple its social housing by 2036. This is the best way to do it

18 November 2018

Australia needs to triple its small stock of social housing over the next 20 years to cover both the existing backlog and newly emerging need.

News

Social housing in Australia must triple to meet demand: report

18 November 2018

Australia needs to triple the amount of social housing built over the next 20 years if it is to meet future demands, a new study has found.

News

Urban researchers shape Federal Budget plans for affordable housing

23 May 2017

Research to help reduce the financing costs for community housing providers by RMIT and the Australian Housing for Urban Research Institute (AHURI) is shaping national plans to improve housing affordability.

Blog

Sensible reform to finance affordable housing deserves cross-party support

02 February 2017

Much like Australia, the UK has a serious problem with housing affordability and supply, made worse by policy and market settings that fuel instability rental housing.

Blog

Federal relations – millstone or keystone in housing policy?

19 January 2017

The Australian government is reshaping federal-state relations that govern many areas of social infrastructure funding and delivery, including public housing. But what type of transformation do we want and how can this best be achieved?

News

Super investment pathway could close rental supply gap

15 April 2014

A ground-breaking report by RMIT researchers outlines a new investment pathway to lift the supply of affordable rental housing.

Publications