Urban employment growth in NZ’s smaller cities
European regional policy promotes “smart specialisation” by encouraging regions to expand into activities that build on local strengths. The idea is that bringing together people with complementary skills helps them generate new ideas that boost innovation and growth. But does this actually work in a New Zealand context?
Food for people in place
Recent research led by Building Better Researchers Dr Kelly Dombroski and Gradon Diprose (University of Canterbury and Manaaki Whenua), shows that the COVID-19 global pandemic poses significant challenges to food security, particularly with regards to food access, availability, and stability.
Life when renting for older Māori
The proportion of Māori aged over 55 years living in rental accommodation is likely to rise as home ownership becomes less attainable. To examine what the future of rental accommodation may hold, Building Better Researchers Dr Fiona Cram and Morehu Munro interviewed 42 older Māori renters in the Hawke’s Bay region.
Quality of life ultimate goal for ‘smart’ communities of any size
The knowledge of what is going on with infrastructure in a city helps city managers to anticipate and plan for changes needed to investment and operations. For this, good geospatially-referenced data is crucial to making good decisions.
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 New Zealand’s built environment which the BBHTC Challenge seeks to address. These issues include our housing supply, the quality of our housing, and the vulnerabilities and underperformance of some of our urban environments.
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.
KIDS IN THE CITY - Co-designing with young Aucklanders
02 March 2020: In two case studies, on and off-site workshops by BBHTC researchers studying co-designing with children enabled children to experience and explore physical landscapes, learn about their history, ecology, and current use, and the briefs for the transformation of two areas, the Eastern Viaduct on Auckland’s waterfront and the Puhinui Stream in South Auckland, so that they can have meaningful impact into the transformation of these areas.
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
Urban employment growth in NZ’s smaller cities
21 June 2021: European regional policy promotes “smart specialisation” by encouraging regions to expand into activities that build on local strengths. The idea is that bringing together people with complementary skills helps them generate new ideas that boost innovation and growth. But does this actually work in a New Zealand context?
Research, recently published in the international journal Regional Studies, by Building Better researchers Benjamin Davies and Dr David Maré, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, examines the potential for this way of generating ideas to promote urban employment growth in New Zealand. They find that, in New Zealand, the presence of related industries in an area is not a strong predictor of local employment growth. But why is that?
Local job networks may promote growth in big cities, but not in small ones. Wellington docks: Photo by James Coleman.
Half of Marlborough's pensioners on accommodation benefit, housing experts warn
18 June 2021
What: Stuff article by Chloe Ranford Local Democracy Reporter
In this Stuff article, Building Better Researchers Dr Bev James and Dr Kay Saville-Smith argue that rents in the Marlborough Council's senior units were too high for many seniors. The council is looking to adjust their rental prices upward.
Bev said figures from the Ministry of Social Development showed almost half of the pensioners renting a house in the region, including many in council housing, were on the Accommodation Supplement – a benefit paid to those who could not afford their own housing costs.
“This, by definition, means their current rent is unaffordable.”
Housing researcher Dr Bev James says senior rents should be capped at 25 per cent of income. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR/Stuff.
Where does housing fit into Budget 2021?
27 May 2021
What: Scoop article
A Scoop article which interviews Building Better Researcher Dr Bev James on the Budget 2021 announcements in relation to housing.
“Research shows that new builds need to be targeted to affordable rental and purchase opportunities for low and modest income households. Therefore, price points of new builds need to be affordable to families and whānau.
“A large body of research shows that there is significant exposure to poorly performing housing, and links poor housing to negative impacts on health and wellbeing.
“The acceleration of new builds is clearly important. Our research shows that housing stress affects not just low-income households, but also modest income households, including in some regions, households with incomes above the regional household income median," says Bev.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson announcing Budget 2021 highlights to media. Photo: Scoop.