This Positioning Paper is the outcome of Stage 1 of a three-stage research project: Processes for developing affordable and sustainable medium-density housing models for greyfield precincts, which is funded by AHURI over a two-year period 2012-14. The questions to be addressed in the three stages of the research project are: Stage 1: What are the lessons learned from the delivery of the Nation Building-Economic Stimulus Plan (NBESP) Social Housing Initiative? Stage 2: Where are the opportunities for land assemblage of dispersed public housing land in the middle suburbs? Stage 3: How can public housing land in greyfield precincts be developed to increase the provision of affordable housing and enhance the overall performance and contribution of these greyfield locations in terms of density sustainability and community engagement? This Positioning Paper serves two distinct purposes: 1. It provides analysis from an architectural, urban-design and urban policy perspective of the housing outcomes produced and procurement processes used in the Social Housing Initiative (SHI). 2. It provides case study material and identifies key design, locational, procurement and policy issues that will be addressed in the second and third stages of this research project, relevant to future greyfields redevelopment. The aim of this Positioning Paper is not to review comprehensively every project delivered under the SHI, but to unearth a selection of innovative design and procurement outcomes from the program and to determine the factors that influenced these outcomes and allowed them to occur. It has involved a mixed methods research approach comprising architectural and urban design analysis, design case study research, geo-spatial and statistical analysis, desktop research, tenant surveys, industry interviews and research workshop. Research findings The SHI successfully achieved substantial social housing increases within the ambitious time frames set by the program. More than 19 500 net new dwellings were delivered nationally by June 2012, representing a nominal increase of 5.5 per cent in overall social housing stock.1 The conditions of the SHI both enabled and limited innovative outcomes. On an individual project level, the processes and timing imposed by the program enabled creative flexibility in the housing delivered because there was less opportunity for development resistance. However, timing and program constraints combined with existing structural issues, such as a lack of longer-term strategic plans for social housing, also limited the efficacy of the program overall; from this perspective, the SHI might be considered a lost opportunity. This research has identified a number of projects that achieved considerable enhancements in the quality, performance and delivery of housing under the SHI. While these innovations were evidently possible under the program, they are not representative of the overall rollout. More often than not business-as-usual models were employed in lieu of more appropriate design alternatives that respond to contemporary urban contexts and housing needs. This Positioning Paper is the outcome of Stage 1 of a three-stage research project Processes for developing affordable and sustainable medium-density housing models for greyfield precincts, which is funded by AHURI over a two-year period 2012-14. The overarching aim of the larger research project is to investigate the potential strategic role of government agency-owned housing land with ageing building stock in need of redevelopment for targeted and transformative regeneration of the middle suburbs or greyfields of Australian cities. Greyfields are under-utilised land parcels in middle suburban locations where residential building stock is failing (physically, technologically and environmentally) and energy, water and communications infrastructure is in need of upgrade (Newton et al. 2011). The three stages of this project are: Stage 1: What are the lessons learned from the delivery of the NBESP Social Housing Initiative? The NBESP injected over five billion dollars into the Social Housing Initiative, and created the conditions for a flurry of affordable housing delivery by government housing agencies, the NFP housing sector, and the private sector. For reasons of expediency, projects delivered under the SHI were released from conventional planning/development processes. Stage 1 (this paper) undertakes case-study research into a selection of these NBESP projects that achieved a high level of design quality and offer potential lessons that could be replicated, or highlight key issues to be addressed in the future redevelopment of greyfields in middle suburbs. Stage 2: Where are the opportunities for land assemblage of dispersed public housing land in the middle suburbs? Due to sell-offs over the years, many public housing land holdings are scattered around suburbs, making them difficult to redevelop in a systematic way. They are characterised by low density building forms on sizeable allotments, often in poor repair with low environmental performance. The age and type of housing is often unsuitable for contemporary household profiles and needs. Stage 2 will survey where these public land holdings are in Melbourne and examine their location relative to transport, employment opportunity and other key metropolitan indices; their distribution and their potential for greyfield precinct redevelopment. Stage 3: How can public housing land in greyfield precincts be developed to increase the provision of affordable housing and enhance the overall performance and contribution of these greyfield locations in terms of density, sustainability and community engagement? The third stage will involve developing and testing two to three scenarios in which particular groups of public housing sites are selected to demonstrate how they can be redeveloped by integrating built form with urban, landscape, social and technological/service networks. This will include testing design propositions that include sketch design of buildings and urban design, cost estimates of planning and construction processes that incorporate time allowances for community engagement and land assembly, as well as a life-cycleassessment of the proposed environmental and community benefits. Community engagement will take place via design charettes that will enable communities to be involved in solving design and planning issues.