In this episode of Talking Architecture & Design, we talk to AIA president-elect professor Helen Lochhead about the ‘latte line’ dividing Sydney, as well as inequality in the architecture profession. 

Identifying Sydney as one of the most inequitable cities in Australia, Lochhead says the homogenous city of her childhood, which had a large middle class, a small upper class and a robust working class, now shows a clear divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, often described geographically as the ‘latte line’. 

“The [latte line] description is quite unflattering since the divide makes it quite clear who has access to education, jobs, quality housing, community services and transport among others,” says Lochhead. 

“Sydney is a victim of its own success; what it needs is a robust housing policy, which will ensure everyone has a good quality of life – this will make Sydney a liveable city.

“[However], it’s a highly political process in Sydney. Development is big money and a big part of the economic engine that drives the city.”