Dr Megan Nethercote

Dr Megan Nethercote is an ARC DECRA Fellow. Her research focuses on higher-density housing development, governance, and consumption and what we might do to improve associated urban and social outcomes.

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.

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Related Content

Projects

Infill Developments: Housing Outcomes Metrics and Evaluation (Project Home)

2016–2021

The project links housing outcomes to metrics and evaluation of housing design in the rapidly growing infill multi-residential sector.

Lifetime Affordable and Tenable City Housing

2014–2016

Research into homebuyer decision making and lived experience of households.

News & Blog

Blog

Build-to-rent surge will change apartment living for Australians, but for better or worse?

12 March 2021

Australia’s emerging build-to-rent sector is growing — “booming” by some accounts with a 70% jump in value in the past year.

News

How can high-density living house Victoria’s growing population?

23 November 2018

As our state’s numbers grow, we need plan how we accommodate every person. Here, our experts provide their insights on the critical challenges facing Melbourne’s housing needs.

News

2017 Vice-Chancellor Fellows at CUR

23 May 2017

The Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellows are researchers with an excellent track record who can make a significant contribution to RMIT's research priority areas.

Blog

Fuzzy households in an era of urban growth

13 February 2017

Housing affordability stress is acute for both low-income households and a growing number of middle-income households, and with housing increasingly commodified and financialised, and as affordability reaches crisis levels, owner-occupation models are also being challenged.

Publications