Julie Lawson was appointed Honorary Associate Professor in 2013 for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute in the Centre for Urban Research. Her interests include international comparative research, urban development, land and housing policy and social housing finance.
Julie is currently Associate Editor of the leading journal Housing Theory and Society and has been awarded two AHURI grants in 2014 and 2015 for international research focusing on the transformation of public housing under federalism and the individualisation of housing assistance.
Her career as an urban researcher and international housing policy analyst has been guided by a strong commitment to international and interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and policy reform. Julie’s specialisations are sustainable and socially inclusive cities, urban planning and infrastructure investment, housing policy and comparative urban development. The main themes of her research concern:
- Circuits of investment underpinning urban infrastructure, including affordable housing
- International practice and progress in sustainable urban and housing policy
- Organisational development and practice in the affordable rental housing sector
- Social inclusion and environmental sustainability through strategic urban planning
- Theoretical and methodological developments in comparative urban research
As an inter-disciplinary researcher, Julie creatively draws on ideas from critical realist philosophy, institutional and political economy, banking and finance, urban planning and development. She has led many multi-disciplinary research teams and played a ground-breaking role in theoretical and methodological approaches to comparative urban research (on critical realism, comparative historical analysis, path dependency, process tracing, crises and adaptation, thin rationality and relational risk). Her extensive national and international field work has examined on urban development pathways, housing systems, security of rental housing, social housing finance and regulation.
Her research has informed critique and innovation in housing and urban policy in Australia and overseas. Her recent work includes an international review of urban and housing policy, evaluation of six international social housing financing mechanisms, development of housing supply bonds, an international review use of guarantees and specialist financial intermediaries and a proposal for an Affordable Housing Finance Corporation to promote investment in affordable rental housing in Australia.
Julie’s publication record includes more than 60 international articles and conference papers, including 11 books, peer-reviewed scientific reports and book chapters, 17 peer-reviewed articles and more than 40 conference papers and professional publications. Her work is regularly reported in the quality media, such as Australian Finance Review, The Conversation and ABC Life Matters.
Julie has a strong international profile amongst international organisations (UN Habitat, UN Economic Commission for Europe, Housing Europe) and key industry bodies and is a regular speaker at international and national forums (Australian National Housing Conference, ENHR, CECODHAS, ISH. SUM, Housing Exchange Network). Her recent awards include:
Selected awards and grants
2015 – Chief Investigator for AHURI Research Grant SRP Public housing transfers and affordable housing system development in a federal context (four country comparison) with Parkinson, S. (Swinburne) and Legacy, C. (RMIT)
2014 – Investigator for AHURI Research Grant Individualised forms of welfare provision and reform of Australia’s housing assistance system with Jacobs, K (CI), Gabrielle, M (UTAS) and K. Hulse (Swinburne)
2008 – Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) Research Grant for Innovation in affordable housing in Australia: Bringing policy and practice for not-for-profit housing organisations together Milligan, V (CI), Gurran, N, Lawson, J, Phibbs, P (University of New South Wales) and Phillips, R (University of Queensland)
2006 – Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) Research Grant for International Trends in Housing and Policy Responses Lawson, J (Co-CI) and Milligan, V (co-CI) (University of Sydney)
2003 – Netherlands Graduate School of Housing and Urban Research (NETHUR) Lawson, J (CI) Partnership Grant for Risk and Home Ownership funded by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment (VROM) of the Netherlands and NETHUR
Julie writes regularly about developments in European housing policy and their relevance to Australia for various popular journals (The Conversation, Housing Finance International, Inside Housing and Housing Matters) and her worked has featured in the Australian Financial Review, The Age, ABC Life Matters and Australian Banking and Finance.
Recent international publications
Lawson, J (2014) Progressing Capital’s Relations Mediating Housing: A Comment on “Centering Housing in Political Economy”, Housing, Theory and Society, 31 (4).
Lawson, J (2014, forthcoming) [2nd edition] Critical Realism & Housing Studies, Routledge.
Lawson, J, Berry, M, Hamilton, C and Pawson, H (2014) Enhancing affordable rental housing investment via an intermediary and guarantee, AHURI Final Report No.220. Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
Lawson, J (2013) The use of guarantees in Affordable Housing Investment – a selective international review, RMIT AHURI Research Centre, Melbourne: AHURI p. 1-93
Lawson, J (forthcoming) Progress in Conceptualising Housing – A Comment on ‘Centering Housing in Political Economy’ Housing Theory and Society.
Lawson, J (2013) Book Review ‘Australia’s Unintended Cities: The Impact of Housing on Urban Development’ by R. Tomlinson (2012) for International Journal of Housing Policy, 13 (3) 329-331.
- PhD Urban Planning (University of Amsterdam)
- Postgraduate Diploma Public Policy (Melbourne University)
- B App Sci Planning (RMIT, Distinction)
- Member of European Network for Housing Research, Editorial Board Housing Theory and Society, Associate Editor and Book Review Editor of Housing Theory and Society, regular reviewer for Housing Studies, International Journal of Housing Policy and the Netherlands Journal of Housing and the Built Environment.
- Key expert on urban developments and social housing finance in European and International forums (UN Habitat, UN ECE, CECODHAS, ENHR, ISH. SUM).
- Constructive links with the government, finance industry and non-profit housing sector in Australia and various counties in Europe.
- Regular commissions from industry and governments for expert advice on housing and urban planning issues.
- Lawson, J. (2014). Progressing capital's relations mediating housing: A comment on 'centering housing in political economy' In: Housing, Theory and Society, 31, 417 - 421
- Inquiry into affordable housing industry capacity (Administered by UNSW). Funded by: AHURI National Housing Research Program Grants 2016 from (2016 to 2016)
- Public housing transfers and affordable housing system development in a federal context, AHURI 15/PRO/53082. Funded by: AHURI National Housing Research Program Grants 2015 from (2015 to 2016)
- An individualised welfare approach to housing assistance: conceptual foundations and international experience - Administered by University of Tasmania. Funded by: AHURI National Housing Research Program Grants 2015 from (2015 to 2015)
- Enhancing affordable housing investment via a social housing guarantee (PRO/53019). Funded by: AHURI National Housing Research Program Grants pre-2014 from (2013 to 2014)
- Housing supply bonds - a suitable instrument to channel investment towards affordable housing in Australia?. Funded by: AHURI National Housing Research Program Grants pre-2014 from (2011 to 2012)