The Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) engages in research focused on the complex political, economic, social, cultural and environmental processes and relations that are transforming cities and regions.

Centre for

Neighbourhood housing home

This research engages with transformations in the provision, governance and lived practices of housing and home in contemporary Australian cities, and their implications for urban neighbourhood and social interaction.

Privatising neighbourhoods? Governance and social life in master-planned residential estates (ARCDP0772518)
Pauline McGuirk, Robyn Dowling (Macquarie University), Rowland Atkinson (York University, UK) 

This project investigates governance, neighbourhood life and emergent subjectivities in master-planned residential estates (MPREs), with a focus on Sydney. Using a framework of post-structural political economy, it explicitly focuses on the intersections of public and private governance mechanisms, the relationships between privatism, privatisation and social distinction, and the ways we might rethink theories of urban neoliberalism through the prism of the MPRE.

Housing/home/neighbourhood as practice
Kathy Mee

This project examines the processes through which housing becomes a home for residents, including the ways in which home is experienced through a range of home-making practices. It explores the relationship between experiences of home and neighbourhoods. The work has particular focus on the processes and experiences of home-making in public housing.


More-than-useful geographies of gardens in public housing, Nicola Vaughan (2007-2012)


Homemaking practices in medium density inner Newcastle (Tom Baker 2008)



McGuirk PM Dowling R (2011) Rethinking urban politics: new directions in governing social reproduction and everyday life in the city, Urban Studies, 48, 2611-2628

Dowling R, Atkinson R and McGuirk PM (2010) Privatism, privatisation and social distinction in master-planned residential estates, Urban Policy and Research, 28(4) 1476-7244

Mee KJ (2010) Any place to raise children is a good place: Children, housing and neighbourhoods in inner Newcastle, Australia, Children's Geographies, 8, 193-211

Atkinson R, Dowling R & McGuirk PM (2009) Home/Neighbourhood/City/+, Env. & Planning A, 41, 2816-22

McGuirk PM & Dowling R (2009) Masterplanned residential developments: beyond iconic spaces of neoliberalism? Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 50, 120-34

McGuirk PM & Dowling R (2009) Neoliberal privatisation? Remapping the public and the private in Sydney's masterplanned residential estates, Polt. Geography, 28, 170-85

Mee KJ (2009) A space to care, a space of care: Public housing, belonging, and care in inner Newcastle, Australia, Environment and Planning A, 41, 842-85

Mee KJ and Wright S (2009) Geographies of belonging: Why belonging? Why geography?, Environment and Planning A, 41, 772-779 

Dowling R and Mee KJ (2007) Home and homemaking in contemporary Australia, Housing, Theory and Society 24(3) 161-165

McGuirk, PM & Dowling, R. (2007) Understanding master-planned estates in Australian cities: a framework for research, Urban Policy & Research, 25, 21-38 

Mee KJ (2007) 'I ain't been to heaven yet? Living here, this is heaven to me': Public housing and the making of home in inner Newcastle, Housing, Theory and Society, 24, 207-228

Presentations include

Mee K (2011) Dropping off the Edge and the Skewed View: Performances from (and outside) the public housing script in Windale, NSW, Association of American Geographers Conference, Seattle Washington, USA 12-16 April 2011

Power E, Dowling R, McGuirk PM (2011) More-than-human neighbouring in Sydney, Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Wollongong, 3-6 July

Dowling R, Atkinson R and McGuirk PM (2009) Community and social life in private neighbourhoods, ASSA Workshop, Privatisation, Security and Community: How Master-Planned Estates are Changing Suburban Australia, University of Queensland 28-29th Sept

Dowling R, Atkinson R and McGuirk PM (2009) Patterns of social life in Sydney masterplanned estates, State of Australian Cities Conference, Perth, 25-27th November

Dowling R, Atkinson R and McGuirk PM (2009) Private neighbourhoods? Reflections on community and social life in MPRES, Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Cairns, 27th Sept-1 Oct

McGuirk PM (2009) Managing residential growth for equity and inclusion: lessons from master planned residential estates? ASSA/ARCRNSISS Symposium Place and Space: Informing Policy and Planning through a Spatially Integrateion Social Science, Canberra, November 3

McGuirk PM and Dowling R (2009) Rehinking urban politics: reconfiguring and repoliticising intersections of states and markets, Association of American Geographers Conferences, Las Vegas, 22-27th March

Mee K (2008) Performing Public Housing: Performing Windale, Institutes of Australian Geographers Conference, Melbourne, JulyMcGuirk PM and Dowling R (2007) Privatising residential life in 'the neoliberal city' (perspectives from Sydney, Australia) Paper presented to the Association of American Geographers Conference, San Francisco, April 2-6