City Futures Research Centre UNSW Built Environment

City Living: Urban consolidation and the social sustainability of cities

The project is investigating the broader implications of the lived experiences of apartment residents and owners for the social sustainability of cities. The project aims to raise awareness of the unique challenges of apartment ownership and apartment living and provide proposals to support better outcomes for apartment residents and for the broader community. The research will provide information that will help us to understand how the needs of different people living together in strata schemes can best be accommodated and what can be done to make strata properties attractive places to live for everyone. It will open new opportunities for inter-disciplinary and international collaboration and provide evidence to inform planning and urban development policy nationally and internationally.

Research Questions

Why is it that some strata schemes seem to run really well – they are well managed and the people who live them are content – while others are not run so well and the people who live there are less happy?

Does this have anything to do with the mix of people who live in a scheme and the relative control different people have over how the scheme is run?

What can we learn from those strata schemes that are actively tackling specific management issues? Can we use this information to provide tools and resources to assist people who live in and manage schemes to make their schemes better places to live?

Research Methods

1. A survey of residents of strata titled properties across Greater Metropolitan Sydney about what they like or dislike about strata living, whether they feel at home in their properties and how well managed their properties are.

2. In-depth case studies with strata titled buildings across Sydney as they work through specific management issues. Namely:

a. Managing building retrofits to improve water and energy efficiency

b. Dealing with defects rectification

c. Introducing strategies to promote social interaction

d. Dealing with overcrowding

3. Analysis of datasets about strata properties and the people who live in them.

Project Status

The survey is now closed. We received over 2,000 responses to the survey, which is a great result. Thank you to all who participated.

We are currently recruiting case study buildings. To find out more about nominating your building as a case study location for this research, please contact Dr Hazel Easthope (ph. 9385 6041).

Special thanks to the following organisations for their assistance in promoting the Strata Experience Survey:


Easthope H; Warnken J; Sherry C; Coiacetto E; Dredge D; Guilding C; Johnston N; Lamminmaki D; Reid S, 2014, 'How property title impacts urban consolidation: a lifecycle examination of multi-title developments', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 32, pp. 289-304, 10.1080/08111146.2014.899210

Randolph B; Easthope H, 2014, 'The Rise of Micro-government: Strata Title, Reluctant Democrats and the New Urban Vertical Polity', in "Gleeson B; Beza B" (ed.), The Public City: Essays in Honour of Paul Mees, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, pp. 210-224,

Leading organisation

University of New South Wales

Funded by


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