NSW Social Housing Upgrades: Uplifting Communities with Impactful Residential Developments


Project Title: Multiple Projects

Property Types: Multi-Residential

Site Locations: Throughout NSW

Client: NSW Government



Over the years, YGP has served several social housing corporations associated with the NSW government. By collaborating with these entities, we’ve helped the government to provide higher quality housing to the region’s residents, improving quality of life for citizens and bringing greater value to the areas of construction.

In these projects, the client goals ranged from revitalising impoverished areas to upgrading existing facilities to meet the latest standards. Our work has encompassed projects of various scales and levels of complexity. We’ve carried out design conception and preparation for development, as well as full management of construction all the way to completion.

Below, we’ve provided profiles of a few of these projects, detailing the targets, challenges, and results of each.


Dubbo Group Home

The Ageing, Disability & Home Care division of NSW’s Family & Community Services department had begun planning the development of a special needs housing facility. They contracted YGP to take on this $4 million project, entrusting us to deliver a design that could meet the government’s needs for cost-effectiveness while still providing residents a high-quality environment that accommodates their physical and behavioural capacities.

In response to ADHC’s request, we took a compassionate approach to the design process, keeping the residents’ needs at forefront when considering every architectural element. Our team set out to optimise the functionality of the facility in a way that could make everyday activities easier and more comfortable for the occupants.

Our proposal was a suite of modern residences that range from 1- to 2-bedroom units. The housing units span over a beautifully landscaped lot, which features a communal area in its centre. Here, a lush lawn and terrace gives residents a tranquil setting to spend time outdoors, while the facility’s lounge, office, and laundry facilities are located in a common building.


Claymore Community Regeneration Program

Blighted by poverty, gang activity, and high unemployment, the Claymore Estate had fallen into a state of urban decay. The 125-hectare estate’s construction was completed in 1981 and was based on the a Radburn design concept, setting the housing to face a central community square rather than the streets.

Since its conception, the Radburn concept has come under criticism, being linked to high crime rates and safety concerns in neighbourhoods with a lower socio-economic status. This effect was also seen in the Claymore Estate, where the central square had become dominated by criminal activity and was thus avoided by most residents.

The state government aimed to replace the Radburn-style community design with a new concept that fosters a safer environment. Their concept includes incorporation of private housing that will bring in residents from higher socio-economic backgrounds, thereby uplifting the community’s opportunities.

YGP was contracted to contribute to the new mixed-development with the upgrade of 72 cottages. In addition to this renovation, we were also commissioned to improve this part of the estate’s layout through the planning of new roads and closure of pre-existing walkways. [3] 

Construction of the urban renewal project is currently underway. With these changes effected, the Claymore Estate is prepared to offer residents a harmonious neighbourhood that strengthens community ties and gives families a peaceful place to call home.


Belvoir Street, Surry Hills

NSW’s Land and Housing Corporation had recruited YGP to upgrade an existing high-density housing complex. The scope entailed the replacement of windows and doors throughout the facility. All windows were completely replaced, while a number of the property’s original doors were given restorative treatments. This included the removal of rust, discoloration, and other damages, restoring them to a like-new state. 

After we fulfilled the project’s original scope, the client requested that we also perform a complete redesign and renovation of the commercial building on the ground level of the property. This project is currently active.


Contemporary Residential Development in Redcliffe: Sophisticated Living Envisioned in Two Designs

Project Title: Redcliffe Apartments

Property Type: Multi-Residential

Site Location: Redcliffe, Queensland

Client: Private

Budget: $5M+

Status: Development Application


Demand for housing in the Moreton Bay region has increased strongly, thanks to the recent influx of major infrastructure upgrades and additions. A property developer sought to make a lucrative investment in the area with the construction of an upscale, medium-density apartment complex.

Their high-potential site was set overlooking the Redcliffe Showgrounds, offering green views and close proximity to the venue for many of the area’s most celebrated events. Located two blocks back from the bustling intersection of Anzac and Oxley avenues, the site can serve as a peaceful haven for everyday living while still providing quick access to local dining, services, and the scenic bayside.

This abundance of valuable features makes the site a prime location for a profitable residential development. The client aimed to build housing that would attract buyers who valued first-class amenities and sophisticated design. Units in the facility needed to appeal to different household types, from single residents to small and mid-size families.

Having seen our past work in the multi-residential sector, the developer approached YGP for design services and preparation of the project’s development applications. We were asked to create two separate design options for the project: one facility with 17 units, another with 26. Our team accordingly planned to tackle the project in two separate stages in an effort to simplify the process.

Stage 1

We started our process with the design of the lower-density structure: the 17-unit complex. As this concept was intended to accommodate a conservative number of residents, all but a few of the units were planned to be 2-bedroom apartments. The handful of remaining units feature 3 bedrooms, making them attractive options for small to mid-size families.

Individual Unit Design

Our team set out to create spacious, comfortable living quarters by implementing open floorplans throughout the units. This maximises flow between different areas within the apartments, keeping the atmosphere airy and free.

The open floorplans also make the most effective use of the natural light that shines in through large floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors. The latter open toward stylish private balconies featuring ample space, modern glass barriers, and ornately designed metal screens. Included in all units, these balconies are major selling points that enhance each apartment’s value—a great benefit for our client and the residents alike.

Remaining aspects of the unit design include sophisticated interior styling choices. We opted for a universally-appealing bright yet neutral colour palette, one that contrasted pristine white walls and surfaces with rich, natural wood finishes for elements like flooring and kitchen cabinetry.

Optimising Facility Features

The overall design of this facility placed maximum emphasis on the comfort and convenience of future residents, not only in the design of the individual apartments, but also that of the complex’s common areas and amenities.

Each unit received designated parking spaces in the private underground garage, where access to the building’s interior has been streamlined to accommodate residents and visitors with disabilities. On the building’s rooftop, residents will find a breezy entertainment area where they can host barbecues and socialise with neighbours. This feature gives residents access to an outdoor space that is a more private alternative to public parks, but still a welcoming, community-centric environment.

The final element in need of planning was the property’s 20-metre frontage. To complement the complex’s contemporary exterior, we placed minimalist-style fencing around the garage entry, with a separate section for walk-in access. The surrounding landscaping was selected for its subtle, manicured appearance that matches the pared-back theme of the property without deviating too far from the general aesthetic of the neighbourhood.

Stage 2

Upon the first stage’s completion, we began work on the project’s second design concept: a higher-density facility with 26 units. This alternative design was planned to appeal to the same demographics, with ⅕ of the units being 3-bedroom apartments and the rest having 2 bedrooms.

The design of the units in this concept is very close to that of the first, featuring similar open floorplans and the same style aesthetic. Here too, each of the units have been granted their own private balconies. However, this concept’s differing exterior has by necessity made the styling of the balconies more minimalistic, displaying only sleek glass barriers and no ornamental screens. Their natural wood encasements add warmth to the exterior’s otherwise monochrome colour scheme, presented with white surfaces dominating the lower section of the building, and a chic charcoal grey contrasting on the upper section.

To accommodate the larger number of units, this building’s design rises higher than the first. There are 6 upper stories all housing the apartments, while the ground floor contains storage spaces allotted for each. A private parking garage is enclosed in the building’s basement level.


Choosing from either of these designs, the client is able to bring a high-value addition to the neighbourhood, creating a fruitful opportunity for their development interests while meeting the needs of new residents who are flocking to the area.


YGP’s residential architecture services extended to the preparation of development applications for both design concepts. The application for the first has been approved, while the second concept’s application is still pending. 


Draft Medium Density Design Guide

The draft Medium Density Housing Code sets out the development standards that a proposal for medium density housing must meet in order to be assessed as complying development.

As outlined in the Explanation of Intended Effect, the new Medium Density Housing Code will enable the delivery of a range of low rise medium density housing as complying development.

It will apply in both established areas and new release greenfield areas to ensure a consistent approach across NSW.

Importantly, medium density housing will only be able to be carried out as complying development in areas that already allow medium density development under a council’s local environmental plan.

NSW council amalgamations

19 NEW COUNCILS CREATED IN NSW TODAY NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole said 19 new councils announced in NSW today will work harder for residents and deliver better services and community facilities. “The most comprehensive local government reform in more than 100 years will result in 19 new councils beginning operations from today,” Mr Baird said. In principle, the Minister for Local Government supports creating a further nine councils, subject to decisions of the courts. “Our plan to create stronger new councils in Sydney and regional NSW will be supported by NSW Government investment of about $500 million,” Mr Baird said. “We are ensuring our communities have stronger and more efficient councils, which will free up money for important projects such as local roads, parks, playgrounds and footpaths. The rate protection policy commitment means residents of new councils will pay no more for their rates than they would have under their old council for four years. “Reducing waste and red tape through local government mergers could free up close to $2 billion over the next 20 years, allowing councils to fund better services and new infrastructure for communities or lower rates.” The Government will conduct a review in four years to ensure the community was continuing to benefit from stronger councils, Mr Baird said. Mr Toole said it will be business as usual for residents in new council areas, with services operating as normal. Each new council will receive up to $10 million to meet the costs of merging and up to an additional $15 million to kick start new investment in community infrastructure through the Stronger Communities Fund, Mr Toole said. “New councils and their communities will decide how to spend their community funds. Projects could include pools, libraries, sporting fields, car park expansions or grants to junior sporting groups,” Mr Toole said. Mr Toole thanked delegates who examined the proposals and the Boundaries Commission for its important work. Many people have taken the opportunity to have their say during the consultation process, by speaking at inquiries or making written submissions. “The NSW Government has listened to community concerns and created new wards that reflect the identity of existing communities,” Mr Toole said. Mr Toole said that residents should also feel confident that planning protections would remain in place with existing Local Environmental Plans remaining in force under the new councils. An Administrator and an interim General Manager have been appointed to new councils ahead of council elections on 9 September 2017. 

Neighbour Consultation

Building works can cause disruption, but talking through your designs and likely timeframes with neighbours will usually help alleviate concerns before the work begins.

Pre-approval notification

Talking to your neighbours about your development proposal big or small is always a good idea and often saves a lot of trouble down the track. The Department encourages talking to your neighbours as early as possible in the design process to help ensure the development process is as smooth as possible for all involved and doesn't come as a surprise.

In metropolitan areas a certifier or council is required to inform your neighbours that you have applied for a complying development certificate 14 days before it can be approved. This is called pre-approval notification.

While there is no formal pre-approval notification required in residential release areas and most rural and regional areas, it is still a good idea to make your neighbours aware of any development proposals.

Pre-construction notification

Once your complying development certificate has been issued, you must notify neighbours prior to any work commencing. This is called pre-construction notification.

If you live in a metropolitan area, you must give your neighbours at least seven days' notice. If you live in rural and regional areas or a residential release area, you must give your neighbour two days' notice.