City Futures Research Centre Arts, Design and Architecture

Governing the Compact City: The Role and Effectiveness of Strata Management in Higher Density Residential Developments

This research project, supported by the NSW strata industry and the NSW State and Federal governments, charted the key issues facing the governance and management of strata buildings. The research was undertaken by the High Density City team at the City Futures Research Centre. The project is the first major study of the strata sector undertaken in Australia.

The research had three main aims:

  • 1. To explore the role, capacity and effectiveness of owners’ corporations as agencies of property governance and management.
  • 2. To explore the capacity and effectiveness of strata managers.
  • 3. To assess how well residential strata works from strata owners’ points of view.

The project, which focused on NSW, delivered systematic information about the operation of the strata system. The findings will assist residents, owners and those involved in strata management and policy development to better understand the nature and scale of issues facing the strata sector and its capacity to self-manage these issues. The research provided an informed evidence base to support improved best practice and policy development across the sector. While it focuses on NSW, the results are expected to inform policy and practice in the strata sector across Australia.

The research was being undertaken by the City Futures Research Centre in partnership with:

  • Strata Community Australia (NSW)
  • The Owners Corporation Network of Australia
  • Lannock Strata Finance
  • Macquarie Bank
  • NSW Land and Property Information
  • NSW Fair Trading

Funding and support to carry out this project has been received from our partners and from the National Competitive Grants Program run by the Federal Governments’ Australian Research Council.

Who was involved?

As part of this research, we conducted surveys and interviews with:

  • Members of executive committees of strata schemes across NSW
  • Strata managing agents across NSW
  • Owners of residential strata units across NSW

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Dr Hazel Easthope.

For associated media coverage, click here



' Strata Title Living - how much do you know?' Link to You Tube interview with Dr Hazel Easthope

NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts (centre) with Dr Hazel Easthope and Prof. Bill Randolph of the UNSW Faculty of Built Environment at the launch of their strata title study 21 May 2012


Easthope, H., & Randolph, B. (2018). Collective responsibility in strata apartments. In E. Altmann, & M. Gabriel (Eds.), Multi-owned property in the Asia-Pacific Region: Rights, Restrictions and Responsibilities (pp. 177-196). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

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,

Easthope H, 2014, 'The role of retirees in residential private governments', Journal of Urban Affairs, 10.1111/juaf.12138">

Easthope H; Tice AJ, 2011, 'Children in Apartments: Implications for the Compact City', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 29, pp. 415 - 434,">

Easthope H; Randolph B, 2009, 'Governing the compact city: The challenges of apartment living in Sydney, Australia', Housing Studies, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 243-259,


Hazel  Easthope
Professor Hazel Easthope
Chief Investigator
Prof Jane Marceau
Chief Investigator
Dr Raymond Bunker
Chief Investigator

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