The Missing Middle Housing

The Missing Middle Housing Design Competition NSW

Following on from successful 'Missing Middle Housing' design competitions being held in Michigan and Chicago, the NSW Department of Planning & Environment has launched its own competition seeking high-quality, innovative design solutions for low-rise medium density housing.

The term 'missing middle' or 'missing middle housing' refers to housing types like duplexes, fourplexes, terraces, manor homes, live/work units, and courtyard style apartments. Perth saw some development of this style being constructed before WW2, however, the shift to vehicle-dependent patterns of development, driven in part by the 1955 Stephenson-Hepburn Plan, meant we 'missed the boat' and have mainly seen a heavy focus on of single-family home ownership with direct access to two car garages. Perth's apparent love for this type of housing is only being perpetuated by infill density targets and 'clunky' planning framework which allows for poor design outcomes which are considered deemed-to-comply, often escaping design-based scrutiny.

Hemsley Planning understands the shift in household demographics and subsequent housing type demands, we advocate for high-quality, socially responsible outcomes. We applaud the policy shift indicated by the NSW Government and their recognition of the fact that new policy and ideas need to be marketed correctly and sold to their constituents.



Entries will be used to road test the NSW Government’s new draft Medium Density Design Guide, which is currently on exhibition.

The competition is open to architects, building designers, students and other industry experts. Entries will be assessed by a jury led by NSW Government Architect Peter Poulet.

Winners will receive $10,000 and runners-up will receive $5,000. Competition entries will close on 16th December.

For more detail visit



Tags: Missing Middle, Missing Middle Housing

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Alex Hemsley | Director & Principal Planner

0415 337 100