Australia is a nation of pet owners with over 60 per cent of households including a companion animal. Cats and dogs are amongst the most popular pets. Since the 1950s the ways that people live with these animals has changed. They are now more likely to be kept inside the home and to be considered as members of the family.

Housing and urban policy has not always kept pace with these changing cultures, with implications for people and their pets. For example, it can be difficult to find pet friendly housing with restrictions in condominium and strata schemes; many renters also report challenges finding pet-friendly rentals. Within communities pets can play an important role in building social connections. At the same time there can be conflicts about the rights and responsibilities of pet ownership and the place of pets within public places. This program of research investigates the housing and urban policy implications of pet ownership, and the experiences of pet owners.

Housing and housing assistance pathways with companion animals

Housing and housing assistance pathways with companion animals: risks, costs, benefits and opportunities

Funder: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)

This research investigates how companion animals shape housing and assistance pathways in Australia, exploring the risks, costs benefits and opportunities of companion animals in the housing system. The research involves analysis of national survey data including resident interviews, policy analysis, mapping of housing pathways, review of international best practice and key informant interviews.

Team: Wendy Stone, Swinburne University; Debbie Faulkner; The University of Adelaide; Emma Power, Western Sydney University; Selina Tually, The University of Adelaide; Sharon Parkinson, Swinburne University; Amity James, Curtin University; Caitlin Buckle, Western Sydney University.

Report: AHURI - Housing and housing assistance pathways with companion animals: risks, costs, benefits and opportunities

Renting with pets

Renting with pets: a social and animal welfare challenge

Funder: Petcare Information and Advisory Service and Western Sydney University

This research investigated the experiences of renters living with companion animals in the private rental market. The research identified connections between pet ownership and rental insecurity, including perceptions about the low availability and poor quality of advertised ‘pet-friendly’ properties. It suggests that pet ownership should be considered as an important variable impacting secure occupancy.

Living with dogs in high rise apartments: community and homemaking

Community, homemaking and human-animal relations: living with dogs in high rise apartments

Funder: Western Sydney University Seed Grant

This research examined the place of pets in high density strata apartments. The research investigated the governance of pets in strata and how pets shape senses of community in apartment buildings. It also asked broader questions about strata governance and the impact of apartment design on community governance processes.

Pets and home-making

Today companion animals are widely considered as members of the family and live with people inside the home. This research asked what these changing relationships mean for understandings of family and home.

  • Stone, W., Power, E., Tually, S., James, A., Faulkner, D., Goodall, Z., & Buckle, C. (2021). Housing and housing assistance pathways with companion animals: risks, costs, benefits and opportunities, AHURI Final Report No. 350. 
  • Power ER (2017) Renting with pets: a pathway to housing insecurity?, Housing Studies, 32, 3: 336-360.
  • Power ER (2015) Placing community self-governance: Building materialities, nuisance noise and neighbouring in self-governing communities, Urban Studies, 52, 2: 245-260.
  • Power ER (2013) Dogs and practices of community and neighbouring, Anthrozoos, 26, 4: 579-591.
  • Power ER (2012) Domestication and the dog: embodying home, Area, 44, 3: 371-378.
  • Power ER (2008) Furry families: making a human-dog family through home, Social and Cultural Geography, 9, 5: 535-555.
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