Message from the Chair

    Kia ora koutou

    As the end of the first phase of funding for the National Science Challenges approaches, a lot of material is appearing in various forms reporting on findings from the research that has been supported by the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities | Ko ngā wā Kāinga hei Whakamāhorahora National Science Challenge. This Newsletter contains links to a number of these outputs and outcomes.

    The Director, Ruth Berry, and Director (Maori) Dr Jessica Hutchings are currently working through the first stage of the investment process for identifying research programmes that will deliver on the research priorities that are detailed in the Challenge's "Future Strategy for Phase II, 2019-2024". This Strategy, which was approved by the Science Board late last year, can be found here. Details of the investment process were circulated in earlier newsletters and can be found here.

    The Challenge's Board is reviewing the structures for governance and operations as part of its preparations for Phase II. A more transparent and meaningful partnership with Māori researchers and communities is a high priority given the Challenge's aspiration to deliver positive outcomes for Māori living in different settlement and rohe contexts. Further information about these developments will be contained in future newsletters.

    In early June, the Challenge will partner with Community Housing Aotearoa to deliver The Shift Aotearoa, a major conference on housing and urban development. The first day of the conference will be devoted to a hui on Māori housing research. Again, further information on this conference will follow in a subsequent newsletter.

    There is a lot going on that is linked with BBHTC's mission-led research programme. The website is continually being up-dated and there are regular links to activities and outputs that are being disseminated via social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Hopefully those interested in our research are able to stay informed via one of these channels.

    Ngā mihi nui
    Richard Bedford
    Chair, BBHTC Governance Group

    The regeneration of Oamaru

    With a population of around 14,000 and climbing, the regeneration of Oamaru continues to be a New Zealand success story for the revitalisation of second-tier settlements. The town provides a primer for how to reboot a region and prevent the development of “zombie” settlements.

    The Oamaru case study by Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, led by Dr Mike Mackay, Lincoln University, and involving Drs Nick Taylor and Karen Johnston, and Emeritus Professor of Planning Harvey Perkins, provides an analysis of Oamaru’s past, present, and future initiatives for regeneration. How did Oamaru become an attractive place to live, visit, work, and do business?

    Home and business: Living in harmony

    In a column in Architecture Now, Arthur Grimes, programme leader for the Supporting success in regional settlements research team writes about the findings from his team's recent study on what individuals and businesses prefer when it comes to locale. It seems that the things that make a place liveable and the things that make a place good for business are at odds. But can we have both?

    Functional housing for older people

    New Zealand has struggled to deliver new builds that are accessible to all ages and abilities. Now, a Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities research project is looking at ways to deliver affordable functional housing, particularly for older people.

    The Building solutions for affordable, functional housing in ageing and changing communities project is a collaboration between CRESA, Massey University, Public Policy and Research, and BRANZ.

    The team expects to deliver their first research findings by late 2019.

    Waimahia Inlet affordable housing study

    A new study, Developing community: Following the Waimahia Inlet affordable housing initiative, by Building Better researchers Karen Witten, Simon Opit, Emma Ferguson, and Robin Kearns, is now available on the BBHTC website.

    The Waimahia Inlet is a 295-dwelling greenfield development over 16 hectares in Weymouth, on the edge of Manukau Harbour. The Waimahia Inlet development is a partnership between the Crown, The Tāmaki Collective, and three community housing providers – Te Tumu Kāinga, The New Zealand Housing Foundation, and the Community of Refuge Trust (CORT) Community Housing. This consortium of Māori organisations and community housing providers (CHPs) shared a mission to provide affordable, good-quality housing, with a focus on meeting the housing needs of Māori and Pasifika families.

    It was also the first Special Housing Area (SHA) designated under the Auckland Housing Accord signed between central government and Auckland Council in September 2013.

    Rangatahi: Perceptions of housing and papakāinga

    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.

    Auckland’s housing supply challenge

    According to future projections, Auckland’s population will reach two million in 2033. Since the city is already afflicted by a serious housing crisis, at the beginning of 2017 the newly elected Mayor Phil Goff set up a task force. A Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge think-piece commissioned from Unitec researcher Paola Trapani explores the role that designers should play in this field. Its ideological position is that the house cannot and should not be considered as a commodity on the free market; nor should focus solely be on bringing down prices by increasing the number of houses on offer. Over time, housing might evolve to being more about social (use) value than exchange value.

    Several new reports are now available from the research programme Auckland's housing supply challenge: A Unitec response to the Mayoral Housing Taskforce Report. Please see our publications page for other titles.

    PM’s Chief Science Advisor says hui with Māori experts ‘Ka rawe!’

    Building Better's Director Māori Dr Jessica Hutchings chaired a Rauika Māngai hui in February for the Māori experts who are playing leading and advising roles within each of the 11 National Science Challenges. Hosted by the SfTI Challenge, the group’s special guest was Professor Juliet Gerrard, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

    Success in Regional Settlements team delivers results at RSA Conference

    Building Better’s Supporting Success in Regional Settlements research team was out in force to deliver research results from Phase 1 at the Regional Studies Association of Australasia Conference, held last month in Christchurch. Led by Emeritus Professor Harvey Perkins, the team examined the lived and comparative experience of regional small-town New Zealand.

    “Part of our mission is to interpret and support local efforts to make these places more attractive to live in, visit, work and do business. Identifying practical solutions for settlement regeneration success is a central goal.

    “The research team is examining the broad contexts of regional settlements, their trajectories, and how residents are defining their situation and engaging in initiatives to improve their towns economically, socially, culturally, and environmentally,” says Harvey.

    Virtual environments in urban design

    Designing an urban environment involves complex physical and social issues. The design decision-making process should be configured to deal with these complex issues, but most of the design methods used by urban professionals are top-down approaches, where the scope for involving laypeople in the design process is poor.

    A lack of visual information and tools in the design process doesn’t allow end users to speculate on new design ideas before they are built. In addition, to address construction and the post-occupancy period details, design processes can become cumbersome. This level of detail seldom helps people to understand design ideas.

    A new study by Building Better’s Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods team members Professor Marc Aurel Schnabel and Shuva Chowdhury, Victoria University of Wellington, develops a design discussion platform to produce urban forms by employing virtual tools.

    Māori designers a hit at RAIC

    In May 2017, members of Ngā Aho, a national network of Māori design professionals that includes several Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities researchers, attended and presented at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) International Indigenous Architecture and Design Symposium in Ottawa.

    The researchers, including Rau Hoskins, Jade Kake, Jacqueline Paul, Rebecca Kiddle, and Desna Whaanga-Schollum, delivered a series of seven short, sharp presentations done in the Pecha Kucha model. Known as a “Kora” event, it represented the diversity of Māori design practice - igniting conversation and ideas.

    Proceedings from the conference are now available.

    Red zone stories to be told via new app

    While plans are being made for the future of Christchurch's red zone, one researcher is keen to ensure the area's past is not forgotten. Radio New Zealand Morning Report interviews Canterbury University's Donald Matheson. Donald is a researcher in Building Better's contestable research project called Understanding Place, and has developed an app that enables people to upload videos of themselves talking about parts of the red zone that are special to them.

    Power to the people: Maia Ratana

    Architecture researcher Maia Ratana is on a mission to empower young Māori to take control of their spaces.

    "I can remember when buildings first began to fascinate me," Maia Ratana recalls. "I was seven. Ever since, I’ve compulsively picked up pen and paper to map out floor plans."

    Currently studying for her Masters in Architecture at Unitec, Maia is one of the three emerging researchers who make up the rangatahi ahu for Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua – the flagship Māori housing research programme for the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge.

    Read Maia's interview in Architecture Now.

    Solving urban homelessness with manaakitanga

    Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua Principal Investigator Jenny Lee-Morgan talks on air about her team's research and why the work being done at Te Puea Memorial Marae is successful at getting people off the streets for good.

    Te Puea manaakitanga tangata kaimahi - core team led by Hurimoana Dennis. Photo: The Treehouse Creative.

    Te Manaaki o Te Marae

    In the winter of 2016, Te Puea Memorial Marae - based in South Auckland’s Mangere - was spurred to action to provide safe haven for vulnerable whānau seeking emergency housing.

    In the legacy of Te Puea Herangi, the Marae opened its doors to homeless whānau across the Tāmaki rohe. Initiating this kaupapa Māori response was vital.

    Some members of Building Better's Te Manaaki o Te Marae research team at Te Puea Memorial Marae, from left Anaru Waa, Rau Hoskins, Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan, Rihi Te Nana, Professor Linda Smith, and Reuben Smiler.

    Shift Aotearoa Conference 2019

    The Shift Aotearoa Conference 2019 on 5-7 June at Wellington's Te Papa will bring housing-sector actors together to trigger collaborative action for one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most urgent problems.

    Policy makers and officials across government, iwi, community housing practitioners, Māori-housing providers, researchers, analysts, and those delivering housing from the ground up – builders, architects, the construction sector, finance providers, planners, philanthropists, and front-line staff – will join community representatives and rangatahi Māori for three days of learning, networking, and solution creation for fixing Aotearoa New Zealand’s housing delivery system.

    Sparked by the latest research from Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Ko Ngā wā hei Kāinga Whakamāhorahora National Science Challenge, international researchers, and case studies from community housing practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand the conference will seek to develop a platform for cross-sector action

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