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Inclusive and collective urban home spaces: The future of housing in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Wellbeing, Space and Society, 3,

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This article discusses the rapid urbanisation of Aotearoa New Zealand and its impact on the wellbeing of people, their families, and communities, as well as the environment.

It emphasises the complexity of defining “home,” which is influenced by cultural, social, and political contexts and extends beyond individual dwellings to encompass neighbourhoods and broader areas. The paper argues for urban development that not only addresses capacity and environmental challenges but also incorporates diverse cultural and contextual sensitivities to create meaningful home spaces where individuals and communities can thrive. The authors critique current housing affordability issues in Aotearoa, characterised by a historical preference for low-density, single-family dwellings that fail to meet the population’s diverse needs. They call for a mix of high-quality, medium-density housing options that include collectively-oriented interventions and shared, multi-generational, or socially-based tenure options. This demand extends to transport infrastructure, advocating for urban forms that facilitate equitable access to sustainable travel options. Significantly, the article addresses the need to confront Aotearoa’s colonial history to ensure that urban development does not perpetuate historical injustices against Māori, the indigenous people. It highlights government initiatives, like the Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), aiming to create inclusive, collective urban home spaces that meet diverse needs and aspirations. However, the authors argue for more ambitious efforts to realise this vision, particularly in providing housing models that empower Māori and support self-determination. The paper underscores the importance of inclusive, collective, and culturally sensitive approaches to urban development in Aotearoa New Zealand. It suggests that rethinking housing and urban planning can contribute significantly to the wellbeing of all residents, honouring the Treaty of Waitangi’s commitments and embracing the diversity of contemporary Aotearoa society.

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