Dr Megan Nethercote is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. Within the Centre for Urban Research she co-leads the Housing Research Program and co-convenes the Housing@RMIT network for the Urban Futures ECP. In 2017, Megan was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship and Malcolm Moore Industry Research Award.
Megan is currently undertaking a three-year research project on the financialization of rental housing. The Rent City project examines the accelerating growth of build-to-rent as an asset class and as a new housing tenure in Australia and the UK. The project aims to identify what the entry of institutional investors into our private rental systems means for urban communities, neighbourhoods and housing systems. By producing a robust evidence-base of build-to-rent’s real-world impacts, Megan plans to co-develop design, tenancy and planning policy interventions to achieve the best possible urban and social outcomes from these new rental housing developments.
Megan’s DECRA project builds on her longer-term program of research into housing development, governance, and consumption and her particular interests in vertical/high-density housing and the plight of urban private renters. In her forthcoming book Inside High-Rise Housing (Bristol University Press), Megan enters the high-rise condo tower to explore the hidden social and territorial dynamics of private vertical communities. Condominium and comparable legal architectures make vertical urban growth possible but in this book queries whether we really understand the social implications of restructuring city land ownership in this way. Informed by residents’
accounts of Australian high-rise living, Megan shows how legal and physical architectures fuse in ways that jeopardise residents’ experience of home and stigmatise renters. As cities sprawl skywards and private renting expands, her geographic analysis of property identifies high-rise development’s overlooked hand in social segregation and urban fragmentation and raises bold questions about the condominium’s prospects. This book and Megan’s other research contributions span urban geography, urban studies and housing studies.
Megan has extensive experience on major, multi-institution interdisciplinary Australian Research Council Linkage grants with government and industry partners. Most recently, on Project HOME: Housing, Outcomes, Metrics and Evaluations, Megan led an international, four-city study of infill high-rise apartment development and design quality. Her aforementioned book, which provides the first in-depth account of the lived experience of high-rise apartments in Australia, was informed by this project. Earlier, Megan worked on Project LATCH: Lifetime Affordable and Tenable City Housing where she examined home-buyers’ decision-making and housing experiences. Megan conducted her PhD research on Indigenous housing policy reform and tenancy management as part of another ARC Linkage grant: More than a Roof Overhead: Meeting the Need for a Sustainable Housing System in Remote Indigenous Communities. Megan has also worked on contract research projects for state governments and Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute grants, including most recently: Improving outcomes for apartment residents and neighbourhoods.
Before undertaking a PhD, Megan worked as an architect on large residential and civic projects at major international practices in London and Melbourne.