Media releases

Bright ideas reimagine the future of housing

Published 6 November 2019

Sydneysiders can hear international architects and innovative thinkers discuss the future of housing at Sydney Town Hall on Friday 15 November.

The free City of Sydney event is part of the 13th Sydney Architecture Festival, a week-long yearly festival presented by the NSW Architects Registration Board. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Making. Housing. Affordable’.

Paul Karakusevic, founding partner at Karakusevic Carson Architects and an expert in the design of public housing, will deliver a keynote address at the event, ‘Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge: Reimagining how we live’.

Mr Karakusevic has worked with residents and local government in the UK to investigate new ways of funding, building and improving homes and civic spaces. He is a design advisor to Homes England, the Mayor of London and the Design Council.

He will be joined on stage by the seven teams shortlisted as part of the City’s Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge, who will present their ideas for new housing models that will increase affordable housing supply.

“Sydney is facing a housing crisis, which demands urgent action,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Part of the solution is clear – we need increased funding for social and affordable housing from our state and federal governments.

“But we also need fresh ideas for affordable housing options that can adapt to a variety of locations and environments across our city.

“This event will bring together the best of the industry to rethink how we can use design, ownership and technology so we can meet the needs of our diverse community now and into the future.”

Earlier this year, an independent jury selected a shortlist of new and innovative housing models to increase alternative and affordable housing supply across the city and reduce housing stress.

The seven shortlisted entries were chosen from more than 230 as part of the international challenge, which invited housing ideas in the areas of financing, design, building, ownership and management. The City hopes the successful projects will help shape future affordable housing initiatives.

The selected entries are:

  • an equity housing model that provides affordability through ownership types, from Eddie Ma and Linseen Lee, co-founders of Sydney-based spatial design practice, Vigilanti.
  • a smart home that monitors its residents and collects data to offset costs for residents, by Joe Colistra and Nilou Vakil in Kansas, principal architects with US firm in situ Design and instructors at the University of Kansas.
  • a metropolitan lands trust policy framework, from Dr Louise Crabtree, senior research fellow at Western Sydney University and Jason Twill, director of Urban Apostles, an urban advisory and property development firm specialising in creative city making and alternative housing.
  • temporary pop-up shelters that repurpose buildings to provide crisis and transitional accommodation in the short to medium term, from founding board member of Housing All Australians, Robert Pradolin.
  • a ‘Right Size Service’ allowing residents to adapt the size and function of their property as their circumstances change, from Dr Alysia Bennett at Monash University, Dr Dana Cuff at UCLA’s cityLAB and Monash University, and Dr Damian Madigan at University of South Australia.
  • the Pixel Project, which would establish radically affordable, high amenity dwellings that match more closely the way people live in the city today, from Anita Panov and Andrew Scott at panovscott ARCHITECTS and Alexander Symes of Alexander Symes Architect. Pixels are 16 square metre minimal dwellings located around generous communal living areas.
  • a cooperative housing model adapting the Zurich ‘non-profit build-to-rent’ model to the Sydney context, by associate director at MGS Architects Katherine Sundermann, urban strategist Alexis Kalagas and urban designer Andy Fergus.

Speakers at the event include:

  • Lord Mayor Clover Moore
  • Professor Philip Thalis, City of Sydney Councillor
  • Paul Karakusevic, founding partner, Karakusevic Carson Architects and Mayor of London’s design advocate
  • The people behind the seven shortlisted ideas from the City of Sydney’s Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge
  • Stephen Varady, architect and director, Stephen Varady Associates and registrar and advisor, City of Sydney Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge
  • Professor Bill Randolph, director, City Futures Research Centre, Built Environment, UNSW Sydney
  • Helen O’Loughlin, social commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission
  • Deborah Brill, director of housing and infrastructure policy, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge: Reimagining how we live

When: 6-8.30pm, Friday 15 November
Where: Lower Town Hall, Sydney Town Hall

The event is free to attend but bookings are essential. For more information about the event or to register visit

For media inquiries or images, contact Roxanne Macara (0438 554 640) or Angela Salt (0455 958 503) or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Anusha Muller. Phone 0408 494 545 or email