UNSW is launching Australia’s first Master’s degree program in urban renewal and housing to support the housing challenges of the future.

Aimed at future planners and policymakers, the new Master of Urban Renewal and Housing program is being offered for the first time in 2016 by UNSW Built Environment’s Australian Graduate School of Urbanism. To be delivered in collaboration with the University’s City Futures Research Centre, the Master’s program will have a robust research aspect.

Professor Hal Pawson, an associate director with the Centre, a Professor of Housing Research and Policy, and director of UNSW’s Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, expects at least 50 per cent of Sydney to be living in apartments by 2050.

Observing that Australian cities are shifting from traditional suburban sprawl to greater density, with decades of housing densification ahead, Pawson says urban renewal is going to be the major challenge facing the country’s metropolitan areas for the foreseeable future and is already becoming the focus of the entire city planning agenda. Additionally, population growth and the ongoing shift towards more condensed, increasingly rental-based living would pose complex challenges across legal, financial and socio-economic policy frontiers.

Pawson added that the program will benefit from the policy-related research of UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre and its strong links with urban policymakers and practitioners.

The new Masters of Urban Renewal and Housing program will include housing policy and finance, city equity and wellbeing, community engagement, urban regeneration project implementation, and housing management and markets.

The program is aimed at mid-career professionals working in government, consultancy or not-for-profit organisations as well as recent graduates from relevant disciplines including built environment, social science, social policy, business and law/jurisprudence.