What is the Impact of the Changing Distribution of Public Housing in Sydney on the Systems’ Emancipatory Potential for Vulnerable Children and Families?

Social Work in the 21st Century: Critical Issues for Practice


  • Calum Taylor BSW University of Sydney


Families, Public Housing


As Sydney’s inner city rapidly gentrifies, so too does the long-standing egalitarian fabric of its suburbs. The New South Wales government is currently facilitating a rapid shift in the spatial distribution of its public housing stock, particularly in relation to the provision of housing for families. This paper seeks to interrogate the impact of this changing spatial distribution, with a particular focus on the emancipatory potential of the system to provide opportunities for children and families. Analysing this issue through a critical and post-structuralist lens, this paper identifies a split in the literature in which there is a discord between how public housing tenants are framed – as either an economic equation or as service users with valuable lived experience. This differential is interrogated and then grounded in the context of social work, where I explore the role social work can play in bringing equality to the debate in relation to public housing and its changing spatial distribution.


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