Regenerative Housing: Emerging perspectives webinar series

Australia’s COVID-19 recovery plan offers the perfect opportunity to stimulate the social housing sector and give it the respect and attention it so desperately needs.

With the right stimulus packages from the government, we may be able to not only create local jobs but also draw on the best in quality sustainable design and construction to create healthy, equitable communities on the path to meeting the national shortfall in social housing which is estimated at a horrifying 433,000 dwellings.

Join our presenters and panelists from Australia’s housing industry, research institutes and academic experts as we discuss our current housing situation and look at how we can work towards restoring this community to create healthy, equitable environments where people can thrive.

This series has been developed in partnership with Community Housing Industry Association

Events will be hosted by Claire Bowles, Sustainability Lead, i2C

Event partners

Partner websites:

Community Housing Industry Association 

Cultivating Community 

Event One:

Finding Refuge. What are the pathways to permanent housing for those most in need?

Data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, Australia’s homelessness rate was on the up having increased by 4.6% over the last five years. When we look at people within our lower-income demographic here in Australia, over half of them are forced to live in ‘rental’ distress. As we watch unemployment rise in our COVID world, what does this mean for those most in need within our communities?  Australia’s population is projected to reach around 40 million people by 2061. This event will explore the current housing situation and discuss how this housing crisis can and is being addressed.


Tom Alves, Head of Development, AHURI

Jenny Samms, Consultant specialising in Aboriginal and social housing

Nicholas Proud, CEO, Powerhousing


Event Two: 

Restoring community. How can housing transform the way we live in the community?

A housing co-operative is a community of people who voluntarily work together to meet their common need for affordable, secure and sustainable housing. Housing co-ops empower residents to make decisions about the management and maintenance of their homes. The co-op model results in economic, social and environmental benefits to both members and the wider community. Housing co-ops provide more than just housing and are an important solution, both in the past, present and into the future.


Eugenie Stockmann, CEO, Cooperative Housing

Oliver Jones, Research Director, Ryder

Ken Marchingo, CEO Haven Home Safe


Event Three: 

Cultivating Compassion. How to sow seeds of love and compassion through community and urban agriculture in housing.

In times of growing uncertainty, inequity, social isolation and pandemic disruptions, getting ourselves back into balance through gardening is a way to heal the soul and nourish the spirit. Imagine all of our social housing stock enabled a reconnection with our lands bringing love and life to those most vulnerable within our society. Growing foods and regaining our role within local ecosystems as steward, carer and gardener are incredibly valuable yet often overlooked in mainstream development considerations. What will it take for this value to be recognised for the social benefits by way of mental health and wellbeing, and access to nutrient rich fruit and vegetables?

Our speakers will examine why our urban wildlife gardens matter sharing findings from Sustain’s recent Pandemic Gardener’s Survey with over 9000 respondents.


Nick Rose, Exec Director, Sustain

Rob Rees, CEO Cultivating Community

Maree Mackenzie, CEO Homes North Community Housing


Event Four: 

Restoring ecosystems.  How can housing work in harmony with nature and deliver multiple benefits along the way?

Housing and ecosystem restoration are often not spoken about together as part of a way to harmonise our environments. Housing development currently contributes considerably to the loss of some of our most critically endangered ecosystems such as the volcanic plains grasslands being cleared for housing developments in these urban fringes of Melbourne. Housing is considered a basic right yet can often be delivered at the expense of complex living ecosystems and threatened species. What if housing was designed to play a restorative role within its complex ecosystem, offering habitat for both human and non human to thrive, providing the opportunity for humanity to regain their position as stewards of their environments and to share in the responsibility of caring for country.


Prof Sarah Bekessy, RMIT

Morag Gamble, Founder, Permaculture Education Institute

Schored Projects, Director Schored Projects


Event Five: 

Decolonising our futures. How can housing seek to imagine and enact the world differently?

Colonialism has existed and continues to exist in the systems and hearts, hands and minds of so many, and is embedded and core to our capitalist system of extraction and infinite growth. Since the destruction of the commons and the private ownership of land we have seen many brutal structures emerge across the world under the guise of ‘modernity. What will it take to decolonise our hearts, hands and minds and make a shift towards a relocalised, compassionate regenerative way of life that holds life sacred and embraces community? Housing is a fundamental aspect of the way we are and how we live in community. We explore how a profound paradigm shift is required to decolonise our futures and manifest thriving, dignified and flourishing lives for all.


Louise Crabtree, Associate Professor Western Sydney University

Margaret Pfoh, CEO Aboriginal Housing Management Association

Keith Gregory, Deadly Guardians


Event Six:  

Designing for hope and resilience. What next, how can our housing address issues we face?

Housing is fundamental in enacting and shaping our core understanding of humanity’s place in the world. In the face of multiple crisis on a global and local scales we look to explore how housing can be designed to address the complex issues of climate change and the increased likelihood of natural disasters whilst also enabling a new way of living that places reconnection with nature, each other and ourselves at the core and serves to provide a new collective way of being in this world that harmonises communities within their environments and offers the potential for thriving futures for all.

We will be hearing perspectives on the recent VIC and NSW announcements regarding social housing programmes and exploring how we can design for real social and environmental outcomes that will benefit community. Our speakers will share international case studies on rapid response projects to overcome homelessness with a focus on Passive House design as well as designing for inclusive communities and the potential that lies in timber design for social housing projects.


Wendy Hayhurst, CEO CHIA

Warren Schmidt, Ryder Vancouver

Prof Elizabeth Grant, RMIT

Dayne Davis, Managing Director, Timber Design Studio