Welcome to the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities National Science Challenge
The National Science Challenges are designed to find solutions to some of the large, complex issues that matter most to us.
Why a Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) Challenge?
Housing is a fundamental human need. Every person is involved in housing, but we have needs and wants beyond simply a roof over our heads. A home should nurture and protect us. It should be hospitable. It should be dry, warm and insulated to keep us healthy. It should have clean air and sunlight. And it should be part of a community or built environment that also nurtures and protects us.
However, there are significant difficulties in
Challenge Vision - Ka ora kainga rua: Built environments that build communities
Challenge Mission - Manaaki tangata: Co-created innovative research that helps transform people’s dwellings into homes and communities that are hospitable, productive and protective.
Rangatahi: Perceptions of housing and papakāinga
04 December 2018: The Rangatahi Ahu within the Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua research programme recently led three wānanga in Kaikohe, Auckland, and Dunedin. The Rangatahi Ahu engaged particularly with young Māori around their aspirations for and perceptions of housing. James Berghan, Maia Ratana, and Jackie Paul made a video summary of their thoughts after the last wānanga in Dunedin.
We Believe - Auckland Community Housing Providers Network
10 June 2019:The "We Believe" video, which was introduced by Hope Simonsen, the Chair of the Auckland Community Housing Providers Network, at the SHIFT Aotearoa Conference on 6 June.
Latest news and updates
Regional district and town profiles show positive results
21 October 2019: While there are key issues facing many regional settlements, such as aging populations, the research shows that there are also many positive influences afoot in some areas.
Building Better Thriving Regions: Supporting Success in 2nd Tier Settlements researcher Malcolm Campbell has recently completed an analyse of three regional settlements, Ashburton, Timaru, and Waitaki Territorial Authority areas, using data from the 2013 New Zealand Census to give an indication of the similarities and differences between these places on a number of key measures.
He writes that it is important to recognise the economic success of the study areas. Ashburton, Timaru, and Waitaki have had further reductions in unemployment from already low levels, as well as increases in the level of employment, most notably Timaru, which is a positive story to tell. “It is reasonable to say that these areas are doing well. They are ‘healthy’ economically at present.”
Designing walkable neighbourhoods
18 October 2019: Having a neighbourhood where the residents are free to walk has wide-ranging benefits for the community and the individual - from the health benefits of physical activity; reducing the use of cars, which can contribute to reducing both noise and environmental pollution; enhancing stronger social connections, as a result of pedestrian encounters; to reducing social exclusion by enabling neighbourhood access for those without private transport.
A Building Better Urban Wellbeing team, Patricia Austin, Jacquelyn Collins, Kate Scanlen, and Polly Smith, have been researching what makes a great walkable neighbourhood, including whether those neighbourhoods allow for a diverse range of pedestrians.
Are suburban neighbourhoods meeting the needs of children for independent mobility and access to play?
Green infrastructure fundamental in water-sensitive urban design
27 September 2019: Urban areas typically alter landscapes from vegetated ground, which is able to absorb water, to a series of interconnected hard surfaces that result in large quantities of storm-water runoff scouring our waterways. In addition, this run-off can be polluted with contaminants such as metals, motor oil, garden pesticides, litter, and sediment.
This run-off requires management, but the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) team says this isn’t just a matter of guttering in the right place and piping the excess straight to waterways, but also aesthetically pleasing urban lay-outs that promote water re-use and enhance urban liveability and human wellbeing.
Team leader Robyn Simcock, from Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, says they’ve found that Green Infrastructure (GI), the use of a network of natural systems involving soil and vegetation, used in WSUD is fundamental to achieving wellbeing – rather than just being ‘nice to have’.
Christchurch roadside raingarden and densely planted trees provide beauty, shade, and WSUD. Photo: Robyn Simcock, Landcare Research.