News Archive 2021

NEWS: 2021

Ecology of community

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: He Kāinga Whakamana Tangata, Whakamana Taiao (BBHTC) was pleased to invest in a PhD scholarship to allow James Berghan (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri) to complete his important mahi on social tenure. In 2020, James successfully defended his PhD thesis at Otago University and is now officially Dr James Berghan. He is now also a Lecturer in Urban Design in the School of Surveying, at the University of Otago – the first Māori academic to join the school.

Dr Berghan’s PhD studies social (or communal) tenure – a system of rights which are based on social norms, processes, and relationships.

“Social tenures are a feature of many Indigenous cultures, where land and resources are managed from a collectivist, rather than an individualist, standpoint,” says James.

“For instance, in New Zealand, Māori society was traditionally based around territorial tribal living, with hapū (sub-tribes) controlling and defending particular territories.

“Western governance ushered in by Te Tiriti o Waitangi eroded this form of living by favouring individualised land tenure, and individualised tenure, private ownership and commodification have since tended to dominate the literature on housing and property.

Dr James Berghan at graduation. Photo: Kate Herdman.


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Christchurch Conversations: Towards 2030

What if you could get everything you need for daily living within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from home? Is it worth getting an EV? How can we keep our homes comfortable and the country running while reducing emissions? How do we make homes and buildings that are suitable to our changing climate?

These were just some of the questions raised in Christchurch Conversations: Towards 2030, a series of five events this year presented by Te Pūtahi Centre for Architecture and City Making, in collaboration with Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Urban Wellbeing – Ngā Kāinga Ora programme and the Christchurch City Council (CCC), exploring how the city can achieve its climate goals and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The talks are now all available on Te Pūtahi’s YouTube channel.

The free events took place in-person and online, and featured experts, businesses, individuals, and community groups who shared their knowledge and experiences on the given topic with the audience.

Christchurch locals shared their experiences of having easy access to the things they need for day-to-day living, by bike or on foot. Photo: Robyn Simcock, Landcare Research/BBHTC.


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COVID-19 and media constructions of housing and home in Aotearoa New Zealand

Mainstream media persistently reduces housing to a property investment and housing stock as a commodity for trade according to new research by Building Better’s Dr Gauri Nandedkar, a researcher in the Affordable Housing for Generations team.

“Despite the home being the central mechanism of defence in the Government’s ‘bubble’ strategy to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, with the public required to isolate at home, mainstream media rarely made connections between public health strategies to manage COVID-19 and the state of housing, and persistently treated housing as an aspect of the property market – a financial asset, commodity and wealth generator – even while the pandemic and the requirement to isolate were in full swing.

“Some Māori media did make more direct connections between COVID-19 and housing and framed those connections through its focus on whānau and wellbeing. Narratives typically portrayed COVID-19 not as creating a housing crisis, but the housing crisis increasing vulnerabilities to COVID-19. The lack of adequate, safe, and secure housing was presented as meaning many were unable to ‘shelter in place’ in order to protect themselves and their families.”


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Kāhu ki Rotorua: Compass helps define road to holistic papa kainga – Te Tatau me te taonga kapehu

This New Zealand Herald/Rotorua Daily Post article includes an interview with BBHTC researcher Dr Amanda Yates (Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngati Whakaue, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Rongowhakaata) Associate Professor at AUT and Leader of BBHTC’s Kainga Ora – Urban Wellbeing programme about the team’s Compass Tool.

“It’s a collaboration between AUT, Canterbury, with Te Tatau as our key research partner, and SCION and Manaaki Whenua partners also, we are looking at how to increase urban mauri ora – social, cultural-ecological wellbeing. It’s really important at this time because of the climate emergency, but also because we’re in a biodiversity emergency also, a 6th mass extinction event. At the same time there are these issues around the pandemic, around access to affordable homes, energy, food etc.”

Te Tatau o Te Arawa Housing Development Wellbeing Compass. Image: Te Tatau o Te Arawa


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Non-slip, sustainable pavers could resolve Timaru’s slippery tile woes

New ideas can be a slippery slope, but not if University of Canterbury student Imogen McRae has her way.

The third-year product design student has been working on developing non-slip pavers made of waste material sourced from South Canterbury businesses as part of Venture Timaru’s ‘Sustainable Is Attainable’ initiative. She recently featured in the Timaru Herald News and on Stuff in this article by reporter Yashas Srinivasa.

The project is sponsored by Venture Timaru, AgResearch, and is part of the Building Better Home, Towns and Cities Thriving Regions programme.

University of Canterbury school of product design student 20-year-old Imogen McRae is working on non-slip pavers for Timaru’s CBD.


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Spotlight on housing

The Royal Society Te Apārangi’s recent report Spotlight on housing features research from a number of Building Better reports and contributions from several Building Better researchers.

The report, one in a series by Te Tapeke Fair Futures panel, puts a spotlight on housing through a fairness lens and finds that differences in housing is a large contributor to inequity in New Zealand.

“Differences in housing are a huge part of inequity in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says panel member Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, University of Otago – Wellington, “but the wide-reaching impact on our society also means that if we solve the housing issue, we all benefit, not just those struggling to find decent housing.”


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BRANZ: Scholarships for research

BRANZ is pleased to announce that the 2021 BRANZ postgraduate scholarship round is now open.

They welcome applications from scholars whose postgraduate study will begin in 2022. BRANZ funds scholarships for university students with outstanding academic credentials to undertake post-graduate research in the building and construction sector. For information on BRANZ’s priorities for research, please refer to the Levy Investment Signals. Examples of current scholars’ research topics include: low-carbon construction, sustainable building, home maintenance, environmental resilience and mental health and wellbeing.

Allocations are $20,000 for a Masters Research thesis, or up to $25,000 p.a. (for up to three years) for a PhD.

Applications close on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

Photo: Keira Burton, Pexels.


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Te Tiriti-anchored housing strategies

The Government’s recently released MAIHI Ka Ora, the National Māori Housing strategy, envisages a future where “all whānau have safe, healthy, affordable homes with secure tenure, across the Māori housing continuum.” – it’s an ideal that should ultimately be extended to all New Zealanders, so why the particular focus on a Māori Housing strategy?

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: He Kāinga Whakamana Tangata, Whakamana Taiao research has helped highlight the alarming decline in Māori homeownership – in 1936, 71 percent of Māori lived in dwellings that the whānau owned, by 1991 the ownership rate had fallen to 56 percent, by 2013 it was at 43 percent (See Homeless and landless in two generations). Māori homeownership rates are well below those of the rest of the population, even when accounting for the differences in age structures of the populations.

Ngā Wai a Te Tūī researcher and Building Better research partner Jackie Paul (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga) says this is a social and cultural issue, which needs to be challenged. A circuit-breaker is needed.


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The great divide


What: North and South magazine, by Rebecca Macfie

In a single generation New Zealand has transformed itself from a home-owning democracy into a society fractured by property wealth — between those who have it, and those who do not. How did it happen and what is it doing to us?

The cover story, involving BBHTC researchers and evidence, is one that affects every Kiwi. In a must-read article, award-winning journalist Rebecca Macfie follows the thread of soaring house prices, plunging home ownership and exploding housing insecurity all the way back to its starting point. It’s the story of a country where most people could afford a healthy home, where you could work hard on a modest wage and buy a house in which to raise a family and leave something behind for your kids, a country with one of the lowest inequality rates in the developed world — and how we deliberately dismantled all of that, piece by piece.

Although the housing crisis is in the news every day, what Rebecca uncovers, aided by BBHTC research, is shocking.

  • Since the late 1980s, houses owned by investors have increased by 191 per cent.
  • More than 40 per cent of children live in rented houses.


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Pensioner in emergency housing says more support is needed


What: TVNZ 1 News broadcast and article

Figures from the last Census show severe housing deprivation among Kiwis aged 65+ rose more than in any other age group – a 24 per cent increase between 2013 and 2018.

The Government’s Homelessness Action Plan 2020-2023 says older people are “increasingly vulnerable to homelessness”, with single older women renting in the private market identified as a particularly at-risk group.

Building Better housing researcher Bev James says homelessness among older Kiwis can often be “hidden”.

“We’re not talking about these people necessarily being visible like rough sleeping or on the streets. They’re more likely to be in situations where they’re sharing with others in difficult circumstances.

“They’re under sufferance there or they’re in sleepouts, garages, sheds, non-residential dwellings like farm buildings or commercial buildings.”

BBHTC researcher Bev James appearing on TVNZ 1 News.


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Building Better 20 eNewsletter out now

Issue 20 of the Building Better newsletter is out now, packed full of research news and views from Building Better researchers.

Articles include:

  • Food for people in place – building resilient food distribution systems;
  • Mahi Aroha: Māori work in times of trouble;
  • Enhancing the role of benevolent property developers in town-centre regeneration;
  • Urban employment growth in NZ’s smaller cities;
  • A mobile sense of place: Methodology to study urban cycleways; and
  • The social impacts of irrigation.

Following the Canterbury earthquakes, Māori Wardens mobilised to door knock and deliver food, water, and other resources. Read all about it in the latest Building Better eNewsletter. Photo: Leonie Wise, Unsplash.


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Retirees and housing security


What: RNZ The Panel with David Cormack and Ali Jones

Listen from 11:15 for a radio interview with researcher Dr Kay Saville-Smith on life for older renters and the impact

“We are living in a different world. So now, in the next 20 to 30 years, around 50% of those coming up to 65 years old, so on their 65th birthday, they are not going to be in owner occupation. They are going to be in rent and that presents a very different world.”

Photo: Vlada Karpovich, Pexels.


Co-Director (Tangata Whenua) appointment for Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamahorahora

Rihi Te Nana has been appointed to the role of Co-Director (Tangata Whenua) of the Building Better Homes Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamahorahora National Science Challenge.

Treaty Partnership is at the heart of our challenge and the appointment of Rihi to the role of Co-Director (Tangata Whenua) is a major step in the implementation of Building Better’s Te Tiriti Partnership Commitment.

Rihi (Ngāti Haaua, Ngāpuhi, Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa) comes to the Challenge from the Ngā Wai ā te Tui Māori and Indigenous Research Centre, Te Whare Wananga o Wairaka – Unitec. She has been working in the kaupapa Māori research space for nearly two decades. Rihi’s research ideas and knowledge have been committed to developing and empowering whānau to grow whānau agency and capability skills. Rihi has worked alongside whānau, hapū, and community groups to develop and strengthen tikanga practises that support positive transformative healthy whānau well-being practises.

Rihi Te Nana has been appointed to the role of Co-Director (Tangata Whenua) of the Building Better Homes Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamahorahora National Science Challenge. Photo: Desna Whaanga-Schollum.


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Renting in retirement: Divorce, financial shocks and illness revealed in new research


What: NZ Herald article by reporter Ben Leahy

Divorce, unexpected financial shocks, illness and sky-high house prices are leaving more older Kiwis renting in their retirement, with new research highlighting the challenges they face.

Reporter Ben Leahy discusses recent BBHTC research in a special edition of the New Zealand Population Review journal with researcher Dr Kay Saville-Smith.

About one in five Kiwis aged over 65 are now renters, with a greater proportion living in the regions.

According to the 2013 Census, one in three people aged 75 and over in Ruapehu were renting – the district with the highest percentage of elderly renters in the country.

Photo: Sofia Shultz, Pexels.


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Mahi Aroha: Māori work in times of trouble

Building Better researcher, social scientist Dr Fiona Cram (Ngāti Pahauwera) recently investigated the response of Māori to both the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns. Her research was focussed on “mahi aroha” – work done by Māori out of a love for the people.

She said that the Canterbury earthquakes prompted expressions of mahi aroha during a natural disaster emergency. Similarly, the Covid-19 level 4 lockdown that began in the last week of March 2020 showcased Māori caring for one another during a pandemic.

“Whether people were paid or unpaid, out in their communities as essential workers, or broadcasting via the internet from their living rooms and kitchens, Māori around the country engaged in mahi aroha.”

However, Fiona cautions that while celebrating the capacity of Māori to move swiftly and effectively to care for others, the past two decades have seen an overall decline in the time Māori have been able to devote to mahi aroha, particularly voluntary work.

Following the Canterbury earthquakes, Māori Wardens mobilised to door knock and deliver food, water, and other resources. Photo: Leonie Wise, Unsplash.


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The social impacts of irrigation

A Building Better research team has recently looked at the social impacts of irrigation developments in the Waitaki Valley (North Otago) and Amuri (North Canterbury) as part of evaluating the success of regional regeneration initiatives, along with developing methods and capability in assessing social impacts. The work is important to see how the actual impacts line up with the predicted Social Impact Assessment of such work: What worked well, and for whom? What patterns of change were not anticipated and how were these addressed? What can be learnt from these experiences?

The team have been conducting after-the-fact analyses of a number of initiatives for regional social and economic regeneration in Aotearoa New Zealand’s South Island. The research confirms that regeneration typically is a complex, incremental process involving multiple stakeholders over a lengthy period. Part of Building Better’s “Thriving Regions” work stream, the first tranche of research examined the social impacts of tourism infrastructure developments, including the Alps to Ocean (A2O) National Cycle Trail in the Waitaki Valley. The second tranche is looking at strategies for primary production, especially irrigation, and housing for a changing workforce and population.

Irrigation in the Lower Waitaki and Amuri brought changes in land ownership, land uses, farming systems, and farm size. Photo: Dr Mike Mackay.


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Enhancing the role of benevolent property developers in town-centre regeneration

A team of Building Better researchers studying town-centre regeneration in the South Island say a lot more could be done by local and central government to assist and work with benevolent property entrepreneurs who want their development projects to be both profitable and enhance the social, economic, and aesthetic elements of their home communities.

Regional settlement regeneration in New Zealand is usually undertaken by locally-based people with very limited external resourcing. Since 1984, New Zealand’s central government, consistent with a neo-liberal market-centred policy stance, has pursued only limited regional development objectives. The net results are uneven impacts on regions, their economies, settlements, and people.

The rise of e-retailing and changes in transport and vehicle parking preferences, and opportunities in edge- and out-of-centre sites, has meant that regional town-centres must innovate to attract investment. Timaru’s Stafford Street.


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A mobile sense of place: Methodology to study urban cycleways

A Building Better research team has developed a user-centred methodology for collecting, categorising, visualising, and interpreting data on urban cycling infrastructure and related cycling events using smart phones to measure accelerometer, gyroscope, speed, and global positioning (GPS), and 360-degree cameras to record audio and visual data.

The team has collected data on eight recently built major cycle routes in Christchurch, and they are now using the data from one of the routes to examine future research opportunities and potential applications of the methodology to support efforts to advance the planning, design, and implementation of urban cycleways around New Zealand.

Lead researcher Dr Andreas Wesener, a senior lecturer in Urban Design at the School of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University, says the promotion of active transport, including cycling, is an important aspect of sustainable urban design.

Smartphone with attached Giroptic iO 360-degree camera. Photo: Dr Andreas Wesener.


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Number of homes in the hands of investors almost triples since 1986


What: Stuff Life and Style article on housing affordablity by reporter Geraden Cann

Reporter Geraden Cann discusses a recent BBHTC Research Bulletin and interviews BBHTC’s co-leader for Affordable Housing for Generations, Dr Kay Saville-Smith.

The number of properties in the hands of investors increased about 191 per cent between 1986 and 2018, research has found. In real terms, that constituted 288,714 more properties entering the hands of investors, resulting in the group owning over a quarter of the occupied housing stock, or 440,025 properties.

In the same period, the number of properties owned by occupiers grew more modestly, around 36 per cent, and houses held by the likes of state housing and council housing fell by 10,755.

The figures, from Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge (BBHTC), reveal how investors have grown into a driving force behind New Zealand’s housing crisis.

Dr Kay Saville-Smith. Photo: Louise Thomas.


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Looking for hope in our housing crisis: When the facts change


What: The Spinoff article and podcast by Bernard Hickey

Reporter Bernard Hickey was shocked at how shocked readers were at his loss of hope for the housing futures of young renters. Challenged to come up with new ideas unconstrained by political and financial limits, he went in search of hope elsewhere and dreamed up a big new idea of his own.

Bernard spoke to BBHTC’s co-leader for Affordable Housing for Generations, Dr Kay Saville-Smith, in a podcast. Kay said she was more hopeful than she’d been in decades of housing research and policy advice. She said policy makers, politicians and many in the sector had finally realised the scale of the issues and the need to change many things, through regulation, investment and policy changes. She was positive about the role of community housing providers and Kāinga Ora in building new homes, and also pointed to the potential for councils to use special rates to capture value uplift on land values when councils rezone areas and/or make the land more valuable by investing in infrastructure in and around it.

Photo: Louise Thomas.


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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?

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: James Coleman.


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Half of Marlborough’s pensioners on accommodation benefit, housing experts warn


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.


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Where does housing fit into Budget 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.


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Food for people in place – building resilient food distribution systems

Aotearoa New Zealand is a massive food producer. We are in the enviable position of being one of the few countries that can be self-sufficient as well as contribute to global food needs. With 45% of New Zealand’s arable land dedicated to food production, as well as supplying the domestic market, food producers annually export enough food to feed 20 million people.

Despite this abundance of nutrition, food security is not guaranteed in our country. The food price index has steadily risen, with fresh fruit and vegetables in particular becoming increasingly expensive. New Zealand has increasing issues of socio-economic inequalities which sees some people having insufficient resources to purchase or access food. Currently, almost one in five children (19.0%) live in severe to moderately food insecure households, while food surplus is dumped in skips.

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.

Photo: Mark Stebnicki, Pexels.


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Building Better 19 eNewsletter out now

Issue 19 of the Building Better newsletter is out now, packed full of research news and views from Building Better researchers.

Articles include:

  • Life when renting for older Māori;
  • Quality of life ultimate goal for ‘smart’ communities;
  • Building the foundations of collaboration: From housing development to community renewal;
  • Supporting geospatial decisions;
  • Financialisation of NZ’s housing market driving house price increases; and
  • 2020: A Year without Public Space.

“2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic” is a webinar series which includes presentations and moderation by BBHTC Urban Wellbeing researcher Manfredo Manfredini, Associate Professor in Achitecture and Planning at the University of Auckland. Read all about it in the latest Building Better eNewsletter. Photo: Edwin Hooper, Unsplash.


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Woman says housing crisis has robbed her of her identity as a New Zealander


What: Stuff article, part of a series called Off the Ladder on housing affordablity, by reporter Geraden Cann

A 2019 report by Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities researchers Matthew Rout, John Reid, Di Menzies and Angus MacFarlane titled Homeless and landless in two generations – Averting the Māori housing disaster found in 1936, 71 per cent of Māori lived in dwellings owned by their whānau.

By 1991, the ownership rate had fallen to 56 per cent, by 2013 it was at 43 per cent, and by May 2019 it was likely below 40 per cent.

This article about Julia Frelan, who lost her family home in 2009 after a family illness resulted in some financial problems, discusses the housing crisis for Māori using research by Building Better researchers.

A Ngāpuhi woman, Julia Frelan, who has been priced out of ever owning another home says she feels the housing crisis has resulted in the loss of her identity as a New Zealander. Photo: Chris McKeen/Stuff.


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Building the foundations of collaboration: From housing development to community renewal

Collaborative governance and planning are usually seen as an improvement on technocratic “top-down” approaches, but they can be criticized for exacerbating power imbalances, failing to be inclusive and/or impartial, and for ignoring historical conflict. A team of Building Better Researchers Drs Zohreh Karaminejad, Suzanne Vallance, and Roy Montgomery from Lincoln University investigated how strong foundations for collaborative housing-renewal may be built to address these concerns and facilitate broader community-renewal ambitions.

State houses in Aranui, such as this multi-unit building, were designed without consultation and with reduced cost in mind. The dwellings caused widespread dissatisfaction because of the lack of privacy and limited private outdoor spaces. They were monotonous and the proximity of several multi-unit buildings promoted territorial gang wars and created safety issues for other residents. Some have been replaced, some still remain, and they remain unpopular. Photo: Zohreh Karaminejad, Lincoln University.


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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 for older Māori, Building Better Researchers Dr Fiona Cram and Morehu Munro interviewed 42 older Māori renters in the Hawke’s Bay region of Aotearoa New Zealand about their experiences.

Participants had moved to their current home to be closer to whānau or out of necessity, and their whānau had often helped them make the decision to move. While some found paying their rent manageable, they often struggled with other living costs. Some struggled with the cost of rent.

“Until the mid-1970s, the proportion of Māori households whose members owned their own home exceeded those who lived in rented accommodation, but this has now been reversed,” says Fiona.

Between 1986 and 2013, the proportion of Māori living in rental accommodation increased from 41% to 77% of Māori.


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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. City managers also need the capacity to analyse, diagnose, and communicate in order to improve quality of life for citizens – the ultimate goal of being ‘smarter’.

The management of public assets faces a similar challenge of ensuring that the goal of managing assets is to improve quality of life for the communities they serve.

A Building Better project by WSP’s Vivienne Ivory, Kai O’Donnell, and Phil McFarlane investigated how smaller local authorities can harness the power of smart data to analyse and diagnose infrastructure performance and allow communities to participate in decisions over the whole life of assets.


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Financialisation of NZ’s housing market driving house price increases

In Aotearoa New Zealand, our housing stock is now seen as a commodity and this financialisation of the housing market is driving exponential increases in house prices. At the same time, home ownership is a dominant aspiration for New Zealanders.

Evidence from Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge shows that it is not land costs that determine whether houses are built or not, it’s what people can sell those houses for on the open market, and a profit margin that is attractive to banks and equity lenders.

The reality of undersupply: This infographic shows that in the 1960s over 35% of new builds in Aotearoa New Zealand were in the lowest quartile of value. By 2003, only eight percent of new builds were in the lowest quartile of value.


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Legally blind teen gets just one flat viewing in three years in tough housing market


What: Stuff article, part of a series called Off the Ladder on housing affordablity, by reporter Geraden Cann

In March 2018, home-ownership was at its lowest in almost 70 years. Since then the median price has almost doubled and rent is up by a quarter. Stuff’s Off the Ladder series talks to those priced out of the market.

This article about legally blind student Roamen Humphris’s struggles to find a flat mentions work undertaken by the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Affordable Housing For Generations (AHFG) programme, led by researcher Kay Saville-Smith, which also found older people in rentals were much more likely to be disabled than those in their own homes.

Roamen Humphris is now on a waitlist for social housing and hopes to have a place of his own in time for university in 2022. Photo: Monique Ford/Stuff.


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Supporting geospatial decisions

Urban planning is complex. How do you address population growth in cities without degrading the local environment, while promoting social and environmental sustainability, liveability, health, and wellbeing? Decisions should be informed from the current evidence for better social, environmental, and economic outcomes at the city and neighbourhood scales.

However, planners face the challenge of having to comply with planning processes and regulations which don’t necessarily have an integrated approach to environmental, social, and economic assessment of planning and regeneration scenarios. There are also significant pressures to urban transformation, with the rise of national and transnational standards and neoliberalism which can see business interests directly influence local development decisions at the expense of other considerations.


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BBHTC researcher profile: Gradon Diprose

Gradon Diprose has a curious mind, he has always questioned the world around him. Now he is a geographer working as a social science researcher at Manaaki Whenua—Landcare Research. He is a key researcher in Building Better’s Huritanga research team and was a key researcher on the Delivering Urban Wellbeing project. He is passionate about communicating solutions to social and environmental issues in an accessible way.

BBHTC early career researcher: Gradon Diprose. Photo: Royal Society Te Apārangi.


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2020: A Year without Public Space

2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic is a webinar series which includes presentations and moderation by BBHTC Urban Wellbeing researcher Manfredo Manfredini, Associate Professor in Achitecture and Planning at the University of Auckland.

The videos are now available on the BBHTC website.

The World is temporarily closed. Photo: Edwin Hooper, Unsplash.


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