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?
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 in water-sensitive urban design fundamental
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’.
An alternative functioning piped system, Wanaka. Photo: Robyn Simcock, Landcare Research.
New designs offer range of options for marae
23 September 2019: BBHTC researcher Rau Hoskins talks with Waatea News about the innovative resources for marae looking at housing programmes that were launched at Te Puea Marae in Māngere last week.
These resource were developed over the past two years by researchers funded through the Kainga Tahi, Kainga Rua programme in the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, National Science Challenge.
Rau Hoskins, who led the Te Manaaki o te Marae along with Unitec Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan, says marae started as the centres of kainga, but over the years most have lost their housing apart from a few kaumātua flats.
Cultural Ambassador - The Built Environment
11 September 2019: Dr Rebecca Kiddle, from Victoria University's School of Architecture, discusses the concept of the ‘third place’ on Radio New Zealand's Night show. Suburbanites are increasingly seeking greater opportunities for place attachment, community cohesion and identity, often despite the lack of any public or visible community space to facilitate these actions.
Without this public urban provision, the community has flourished in unexpected spaces. So, where do we dance?
Rebecca and her colleague Chantal Mawer, from Victoria University's School of Geography, Environment and Earth Science, have had their research on suburban shopping malls as spaces for community health and wellbeing published online this month (ahead of print) by the Journal of Urban Design. Click the link below for a PDF copy.
Where do we dance? Photo: Rebecca Kiddle.
Dr Amanda Yates Lead Researcher Mauri Ora and Urban Wellbeing Project
26 August 2019: Waatea News interviews Dr Amanda Yates about her research for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) Ko Nga wa Kainga hei Whakamahorahora National Science Challenge. New Zealand could be positioned to lead the world by developing a first-ever Mauri ora or "all-of-life" urban wellbeing data tool and framework, according to Amanda's recently published research.
For more radio interviews and podcasts check out our podcasts and audio page.
Radical rethink of our cities will improve urban wellbeing
15 August 2019: New Zealand could be positioned to lead the world by developing a first-ever Mauri ora or “all-of-life” urban wellbeing data tool and framework, according to the latest findings from Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) Ko Ngā wā Kāinga hei Whakamāhorahora National Science Challenge.
As high energy users and generators of planet-warming carbon emissions, cities are well-placed to take a lead in strategising for and implementing zero-carbon transitions that utilise existing technologies.
“For Māori, ora is wellbeing and Mauri is the integrative life force that connects it all - the rocks, rivers, trees, people, etc. We need to develop our cities in ways where humans are viewed as part of the environment - one where climate, biodiversity, transport, and housing infrastructure are all working in harmony to take care of ecological wellbeing," explains lead researcher of the Mauri ora and urban wellbeing project, Dr Amanda Yates from Auckland University of Technology (AUT).
A crowd gathers to examine E Amio Haere Ana te Ao I Te Ra | Circling The Sun – Revolution Cycle installation part of Te Mana o Te Ra | The Power of the Sun solar-power, zero-carbon energy workshops and installation at the Auckland City Library, Ngā Pātaka Kōrero o Tāmaki Makaurau. Photo: Amanda Yates.
Understanding Place: Red Zone Stories
15 August 2019: Everyone has a different story to tell about the Red Zone surrounding the Ōtākaro Avon River. Building Better researchers from the Understanding Place research project invite you to share your stories using "Red Zone Stories", a website and app designed at the University of Canterbury.
Red Zones Stories is a space for you to record and share your stories, memories, and hopes for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor, whether you grew up here, have a family connection, or have ideas about how places here should look in the future.
The Red Zone Stories App is downloadable from Google Play and The App Store. With the app, a user can record their stories via text, photograph, video, etc. for an interactive map on the redzonestories.nz website. There are already many photos and videos available on the map, showing what the red zone now means to people. This information helps researchers record the different ways local residents and manawhenua respond to this place. It will also help urban planners understand what parts of the red zone are important to people and why. The research is independent from Regenerate Christchurch, but has been developed in consultation with them.
Jenny and Sam in the Red Zone. Photo: Red Zone Stories/ University of Canterbury.
14 August 2019: NEW PODCAST: This podcast focuses on a papakāinga (settlement of homes and associated environment) in Ahipara where the whānau of Rueben Taipari (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāi Tuhoe) are building a papakāinga of muka-reinforced, cement-stabilised rammed earth homes – or whare uku – on Rueben’s ancestral whānau whenua. Dr Rebecca Kiddle talks to Rueben, his wife, Heeni Hoterene (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngāi Tahu) and their tamariki to understand the everyday realities of life on the papakāinga. Rebecca also talks to Dr Helen Potter, a researcher working alongside the whānau to tell their story in an upcoming book on Māori Housing being produced by the Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua research programme.
Rueben Taipari and whānau at their papakāinga, Ahipara. Photo: Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
Papakāinga in the 21st Century: Going up
14 August 2019: NEW PODCAST: Building papakāinga in urban settings where land is expensive and in short supply, is the focus of today’s papakāinga. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have been grappling with exactly these questions on their Orākei whenua. Dr Rebecca Kiddle explores with Anahera Rawiri from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, alongside researchers Rau Hoskins and Irene Kereama-Royal, the notion of a ‘vertical papakāinga’. They have been working to understand whether this apartment housing typology fits well with the ways that Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have historical lived and how they want to live in the future. This innovative exploration builds on their existing papakāinga development that draws on medium density housing typologies to use land efficiently and house as many of their whanau as possible.
Concept design for vertical papakāinga. Image: Design Tribe Architects.
In service to homeless whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau
12 August 2019: Just before winter 2016, Te Puea Memorial Marae (TPMM) opened their doors to anyone in desperate need of shelter and support. Following in the cultural tradition of manaakitanga and the legacy of Te Puea Hērangi, TPMM’s grassroots initiative was dubbed by the Marae, ‘Manaaki Tāngata’.
Research led by Building Better's Associate Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan (Waikato-Tainui) and Rau Hoskins (Ngāpuhi) explores the work of the Marae, which has continued and developed with a focus on supporting whānau not only to secure housing tenancy, but also on supporting home-building to achieve whānau ora. The linked report below is part of the first phase of a two-year research project entitled ‘Te Manaaki o te Marae: The role of marae in the Tāmaki Makaurau housing crisis’.
The Manaaki Tāngata Programme Kaimahi.
Study shows Gisborne quality of life average
9 August 2019: Reporter Andrew Ashton from the Gisborne Herald examines the implications for Gisborne from Motu's Research for the Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challenge.
At the time of the 2013 census, Gisborne was ranked around the middle of urban areas in New Zealand for quality of life and quality of business. 'Natural’ factors such as climate have a positive impact on quality of life of places, but the study shows that Gisborne has room to improve in the quality of life and quality of business on offer to residents and prospective newbies.
Andrew interviews Motu's research programme leader Arthur Grimes to get his views on where to from here for Gisborne.
Building Better Newsletter Issue 15
7 August 2019: Issue 15 of the Building Better newsletter is out now, packed full of research news and views from Building Better researchers.
Under construction. Photo: Louise Thomas.
Moving for business or pleasure?
26 July 2019: A new study from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research for the Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challenge uses a deep-dive analysis of census rent and wage data to look at whether people choose to move to locations with better quality of life or better quality of business.
Migrants are defined as ‘domestic’ if they lived in New Zealand five years ago and ‘international’ if they were not living in New Zealand.
Locations with a high quality of life attract migrants from other urban areas, but do not attract international migrants. Locations with a high quality of business do not attract domestic (urban or rural) migrants, but do attract international migrants.
“A one standard deviation increase in a location’s quality of business is estimated to increase international migration into that location by approximately one-third, while raising domestic residents’ migration out of that location by approximately one-fifth,” says programme leader Dr Arthur Grimes.
Do people choose to move to locations with better quality of life or better quality of business? Moving. Photo: Mike Bird from Pexels.
Hobsonville Point: Living at higher density
26 July 2019: How do the residents of Auckland's Hobsonville Point – New Zealand’s largest master-planned residential development, feel about living at higher density? That's the focus of a new report recently released by Building Better's Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods research team.
Living at higher density now has a number of drivers that includes urban planning for compact development, the efficient use of land, and achieving more sustainable urban forms. In Auckland, there is an increasing proportion of higher density attached housing being delivered: over half of residential development in Auckland now involves attached housing types such as terraces and apartments. Does this change towards New Zealanders living at higher density lead to necessary housing satisfaction on the part of residents, and deliver wellbeing? This is particularly of interest where living in lower density suburban housing in the past has been the norm.
Hobsonville Point. Photo: Errol Haarhoff
SHIFT: Housing as a human right
23 July 2019: Co-hosted by the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, the SHIFT Aotearoa Conference in early June was a catalyst to provide a clearer picture to those in the government and the housing sector of what needs to happen to see all New Zealanders well-housed. One of the key-note speakers, Paul Hunt, the Chief Commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, outlined a human rights approach to housing and provided a way forward for action in the New Zealand context.
Paul introduced the concept of housing as a human right, and said that we need to refresh human rights in New Zealand for our times and our place.
The right to a decent home is espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which New Zealand helped to draft.
In New Zealand, most rights are guaranteed in our laws, such as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. “But some of the rights . . . are just about invisible in New Zealand.”
Key-note speaker, Paul Hunt, the Chief Commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, at the SHIFT Aotearoa conference in June 2019. Photo: Louise Thomas.
SHIFT: Fixing a broken system
23 July 2019: At the SHIFT Aotearoa Conference in early June, key-note speaker, the Associate Minister of Housing and Urban Development and Minister of Māori Development, the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, said in her address, from a Government perspective, the housing system in New Zealand was broken.
“. . . the extent of how broken the system was when we came into office became so evident - from the issues of homelessness; from the lack of provision of housing into secure accommodation; supported accommodation and what that required, especially in the mental health services; [and] building up the public stock of housing.”
However, she said they weren’t starting at ground zero, “We were starting with a wealth of knowledge and information about what it took to build financial capability [and] skills amongst the whānau, what it took to invest in whānau thinking about a better utilisation of their whenua in order to grow their aspiration, and what papakāinga aspirations might sit along side that.”
Key-note speaker, the Associate Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Minister of Māori Development, and Minister of Local Government, the Hon Nanaia Mahuta.
Better places to live: community and housing
15 July 2019: Lead researcher Dr Rebecca Kiddle is mentioned in this Talk Wellington article for her research "investigating (amongst other things) the extent to which modern Ao-NZ urban form systemically prioritises private space in our suburbs, cities and towns. Turns out we do this a lot, and to the detriment of the public realm and common spaces."
The article says, "This is bad news for us collectively because it’s common and public spaces, third places that let us connect with other humans outside our household, 'bumping into' spaces where you can have regular, low-stakes interactions with people. 'Bumping into' spaces in modern towns let us quietly expand our 'circle of empathy' to others beyond those we select to invite to our private space (who are inevitably A Lot Like Me)."
Dr Rebecca Kiddle. Photo: Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
Māori Housing 4-Part Podcast Series
15 July 2019: A series of four podcasts focussed on Māori housing has been produced by Dr Becky Kiddle with support from Desna Whaanga-Schollum and Associate Professor Jo Smith as part of the Ako ahu team in the Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua (KTKR) research programme.
The role of the Ako Ahu team is to support KTKR researchers to build a community of interest related to the current housing issues facing diverse Māori communities and to help create research that our communities might find relevant, and ideally, transformative.
Māori housing is a complex issue and requires a whole of landscape (systems) research approach that is embedded in kaupapa Māori methodologies. The Ako Ahu team worked to use pūrākau (storytelling techniques) to synthesise research findings across the three whenu of papakāinga, hauora, and whai rawa to identify key issues, concerns, innovations, and educational opportunities relevant to Māori housing.
Housing Kaumatua. Daisy Haimona Upokomanu outside her Hamilton whare. Photo: Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
Dr Hutchings appointed to NZ's MBIE Science Board
10 July 2019: Building Better's Tumu Whakarae Dr Jessica Hutchings has been appointed to New Zealand's MBIE Science Board by the Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods.
“Dr Hutchings is a well-respected kaupapa Māori research leader. Her expertise working at the interface of science and society will strengthen the Board,” the Minister said.
Jessica has 25 years of experience in the development and implementation of Māori science strategy which includes building and leading Māori research teams and programmes across a wide range of disciplines and science models.
Dr Jessica Hutchings (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Huirapa, Gujarati), Tumu Whakarae for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamahorahora, has been appointed to New Zealand's MBIE Science Board. Photo: Louise Thomas.
Where do we dance? Planning social spaces in the suburbs
9 July 2019: The UK has its pubs. In China, people go out at dusk to exercise in the streets. So, where do Kiwis go to socialise in the suburbs?
In this NZ Local Government Magazine article by Building Better researcher Rebecca Kiddle from Victoria University of Wellington, she writes that research shows a significant gap in planning for neutral ‘bumping spaces’. She presented her findings to date at the recent NZPI Conference in Napier.
"Aotearoa New Zealand suburbs are seemingly the spatial underdog of our towns and cities. As part of the research programme Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities I am leading a project called Where Do We Dance? with dance being the metaphor for socialising, making friends and building community. The project asks where, physically, community happens in this country and how might we improve the way we design and plan our built environments to better serve the making of communities."
Where do we dance? A street mural in Naenae, Lower Hutt. Photo: Rebecca Kiddle.
Urban design can’t come from the top down
9 July 2019: In this Ideasroom feature on Newsroom, Building Better researchers Marc Aurel Schnabel and Shuva Chowdhury from Victoria University of Wellington write about their BBHTC research project on using virtual reality tools for user collaboration in urban design, using a public-space development in Karori, Wellington, as a test case.
"Designing an urban environment involves confronting complex physical and social issues such as cultural contexts, economic situations, regulatory systems and personal and community preference.
"The design process should take these issues into account, but most of the design methods currently used by urban design professionals are ‘top down’ approaches where the designer, rather than users, dictates the process and outcomes."
One of the obstacles preventing a better relationship between designers and citizens is the lack of tools available to visualise the space through the planning process. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Newsroom.
Unlocking solutions to the Māori housing crisis through kaupapa Māori research
24 June 2019: At the SHIFT Aotearoa conference earlier this month, Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua kaupapa Māori research evidence was presented that showed that since 1991, and the disestablishment of state support for housing in Aotearoa, there has been a rapid decline in Māori home ownership. The research concluded that if the government does not make structural interventions at the economic level, Māori will be almost entirely a population of renters by 2061.
Dr Jessica Hutchings (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Huirapa, Gujarati), Tumu Whakarae for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamahorahora, shares her kōrero in the Tertiary Education Union newsletter, Hau Taki Haere, on the importance of Kaupapa Māori research paradigms and methodologies in unlocking solutions to the Māori housing crisis. Photo: Louise Thomas.
Housing advocate wants Māori inclusion helping families
24 June 2019: A RNZ article reports on the SHIFT Aotearoa conference in Wellington earlier this month, which saw people from across the housing sector get together for three days to discuss the current and future state of housing in New Zealand.
Mother, Tammy, addressed the large crowd at the conference, telling a story that, unfortunately, is all too familiar to many whānau in Aotearoa.
"Our home was cold, it was damp, we had no curtains or flooring. One of my children who was 6 years old, he also was not well and had attended hospital clinics 317 times. I looked at my children and I was sad, I was working part time and I promised I would not move them until we owned our own home. We had many houses but we didn't have a home."
Mother, Tammy, addresses the SHIFT Aotearoa conference. Photo: Louise Thomas.
Māori housing experts gather under one roof
24 June 2019: Te Ao Māori News reporter Tema Hemi covered Day 1 of the SHIFT Aotearoa Conference earlier this month, where over three hundred researchers gathered at Wellington's Te Papa Museum to share innovative ideas on how to best tackle housing issues for Māori. He reports, "One of the country's top Māori researchers says there is no cohesive communication between government and Māori around sustainable and affordable housing, particularly in urban areas."
Lawyer and Māori researcher Moana Jackson says, "Māori have the right to have shelter in our own home and this land is our home so ultimately, like in so many things, I think constitutionally, Māori need to be given the authority back to work out how that can best happen."
Lawyer and Māori researcher Moana Jackson on Māori Television.
Treaty needs to serve as inspiration for Māori homelessness solutions - academics
21 June 2019: The vexed issue of Māori homelessness, could a treaty-based housing solution provide the answer? Reporting on the SHIFT Conference earlier this month, Eruera Rerekura - Te Karere explores this question.
BBHTC's Dr Ella Henry on TVNZ's Te Karere.
Field days in 'meanwhile spaces'
10 June 2019: From 1 March to 31 May 2019, the Building Better Mauriora and Urban Wellbeing team led a South Auckland-based wellbeing-focused co-design project with AUT sustainability students, local communities, The Southern Initiative, Healthy Families, Panuku, and the Auckland Teaching Gardens at the Papatoetoe Food Hub ‘meanwhile space’. The project was projects aligned with the Papatoetoe Food Hub principles of manaakitanga (hospitality, kindness) and whanaungatanga (making of relationships, connection). They employed a range of tactics to improve local mauri - the integrated wellbeing of people and place - through innovative engagement with under-utilised ‘meanwhile spaces'.
A field day for primary children designed by the Mauri ora and Urban Wellbeing research team: An AUT Sustainability Studio co-design, holistic wellbeing, project with local communities, the Southern Initiative, Healthy Families, Panuku, Auckland Teaching Gardens, and AUT sustainability students at the Papatoetoe Food Hub ‘meanwhile space’. Diagram: Angelica Wong, Dione Tay, Ken Tong, Poppy Schubert, and Tegan Jade Martin.
Dr Fiona Cram, MNZM
7 June 2019: BBHTC researcher Dr Fiona Cram was admitted as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to Māori health and education. Fiona, Ngāti Pahauwera, is a member of the Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua research team, as well as the Improving the architecture of decision-making team. She has been involved in a multitude of housing research projects, including "The Architecture of Decision-Making: Uncovering the dynamics that inhibit us getting the housing we all say we want" and "Building the Future with Good Homes for the People".
Dr Fiona Cram, MNZM. Photo: Louise Thomas
Biodiversity can enhance urban wellbeing
28 May 2019: The Building Better Mauriora and Urban Wellbeing team were at Auckland’s Ōtara Library over the Easter school holidays presenting urban wellbeing research news, leading biodiversity activations, and discussing how a more biodiverse Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland could enhance urban wellbeing.
Te Mauri o te Kererū ko te Mauri o nga Tāngata
A wellbeing activation called Te Mauri o te Kererū ko te Mauri o nga Tāngata (The Wellbeing of the Kereru is the Wellbeing of People) brought together children’s art workshops with three works exploring how birds, trees, and human lives are connected together and interdependent.
Participants in the sound workshop at Auckland’s Ōtara Library answer the question "What sound does a kererū make?".
Mauriora and Urban Wellbeing
Solar-power, zero-carbon energy workshops
23 May 2019: The Building Better Mauriora and Urban Wellbeing team were at Auckland Library over the Easter school holidays presenting urban wellbeing research news, leading solar-power activations, and discussing how we might transform Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland to a zero-carbon city.
Their solar-power drawing machine Amio I Te Ra drew attention to the power of the Sun - with each solar-powered revolution it draws a circle in black carbon. Accompanying workshops used the Sun’s energy to draw with photo-sensitive paper and power solar cameras.
E Amio Haere Ana te Ao I Te Ra | Circling the Sun [Revolution Cycle] installation: Dr Amanda Yates.
Te Mana o Te Ra workshops: Dr Kathy Waghorn.
A crowd gathers to examine E Amio Haere Ana te Ao I Te Ra | Circling The Sun – Revolution Cycle installation during Te Mana o Te Ra | The Power of the Sun solar-power, zero-carbon energy workshops and installation at the Auckland City Library, Ngā Pātaka Kōrero o Tāmaki Makaurau, on 27 and 28 April.
A Kaupapa Māori quantitative methodology
22 May 2019: Dr Ella Henry and Professor Charles Crothers from the Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua research team have published a strategy for gathering and analysing large-scale data, that will contribute to understanding how Māori might better fulfil aspirations for the designing, financing, and building of housing, as well as understanding their perceptions of housing and papakāinga, and the contribution this has to Māori wellbeing.
Dr Henry says a study of this kind will contribute new knowledge and better understanding of Māori aspirations, in this case around housing, but that there is potential for such a methodology to be applied to a range of issues, where the data collected will contribute to improved wellbeing for Māori.
Ngā Wai o Horotiu marae, Auckland University of Technology. Photo: Louise Thomas.
Child’s play: Involving kids in the design of public spaces
21 May 2019: Cities are generally designed for adults and cars. Their built form and safety concerns constrain children’s play and mobility, and a default planning position largely confines children’s use of the public realm to places such as playgrounds, skate parks and sports grounds. If children’s well being is compromised through restricted outdoor play and mobility opportunities, the social sustainability of our towns and cities is in question.
A Building Better project is researching the best ways to engage children in the co-design of public spaces so that our towns and cities become more child-friendly. Read all about it in Architecture Now.
A neighbourhood drawing of the Puhinui Stream regeneration project from one of the Wiri Central School’s student co-designers.
Practicing respectful, reciprocal, and relational co-designing
8 May 2019: A new report Problematizing replicable design to practice respectful, reciprocal, and relational co-designing with indigenous people examines the tensions with designing among indigenous and non-indigenous people. The authors provide personal stories as Māori, Pākehā, and Japanese designers, which show accountability and articulate pluralities of practices. “In respecting design that is already rooted in local practices, we learn from these foundations and construct our practices in relation to them. For us, respect, reciprocity, and relationships are required dimensions of co-design as an engaged consciousness for indigenous self-determination.”
The report was coauthored by Desna Whaanga-Schollum from Building Better's “Ako Ahu: Pūrākau as Support for Co-created Research Practices” research team, with colleagues Yoko Akama and Penny Hagen.
Report coauthor Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
Job Vacancy: Principal Advisors - Te Kāhui Kainga Ora | Wellington
3 May 2019: Te Kāhui Kainga Ora (Māori Housing) is a newly established group within the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They are looking for two highly credible, influential professionals with strong connections to Māori, who have the capability and experience to provide strategic leadership and strong policy advice to a wide variety of stakeholders with focus on iwi partnerships across New Zealand.
Together these strategic roles will help create a platform for the development and delivery of these aspirations, navigating the housing system by working in collaboration with iwi, Māori Housing providers, sector leaders and other government agencies to ensure better housing and community outcomes for Māori.
Applications close Friday, 17 May 2019.
Lincoln Planning Review - Special Issue: Building Better Towns and Communities
15 April 2019: The Lincoln Planning Review has just published a special issue of their journal focussed on building better towns and communities. The publication features a number of research projects supported by Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities including Waimakariri Way: Community Engagement in Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan; Tourism-led settlement regeneration: Reaching Timaru’s potential; and Planning for Regeneration in the town of Oamaru. The journal also published an Australia and New Zealand Association of Planning Schools (ANZAPS) Conference Report by Hamish Rennie.
Developers and financiers: impacts in the NZ housing market
10 April 2019: Counter to the theory that developers and financiers simply respond to market wide forces of supply and demand, new research from Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities researcher Dr Larry Murphy of the University of Auckland says that developers and financiers actively create and operationalise practices that govern acceptable profit margins, operational structures, and house prices. In addition, access to finance and the conditions under which finance is offered have profound impacts on residential development practices and processes.
Under construction. Photo Louise Thomas.
Airbnb: Disrupting the regional housing market
4 April 2019: Is Airbnb disrupting the regional housing market in New Zealand? If so, how and to what extent? The first stage of a Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities study by Malcolm Campbell, Hamish McNair, Michael Mackay, and Harvey Perkins shows short-term rental hotspots have been created in New Zealand.
For example, Queenstown Hill has 204 Airbnb listings per 1000 residents. The area with the highest number of Airbnbs is Wanaka, a smaller South Island tourist destination. But has long-term rental availability and pricing suffered as a result? Another key issue for future research is how short-term rentals pose a challenge to local authorities who collect property taxes based on the value of the property, with some local authorities proposing or enacting specific by-laws in relation to Airbnb.
The study, published in the Regional Studies Association journal, shows a snapshot in time of the spatial distribution of accommodation provided through Airbnb throughout New Zealand.
Gauging the appeal
3 April 2019: A Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge study has looked at why some places are better to live and do business in. Lessons from this could help other towns and cities improve their economic viability and liveability.
Which are New Zealand’s best settlements to live in? Where are the best places in which to do business? Both of these are important when considering local development opportunities since a successful town will have both attractive work opportunities – quality of business – and be an attractive place for families to live – quality of life.
Future-proofing Auckland: is building a sustainable city really possible?
When: 5-7pm, 10 April 2019
Where: Grand Millennium, Auckland City Centre
3 April 2019: With Auckland’s population set to swell to 2 million by as early as 2029, growing demands on housing and infrastructure, and climate change exposing our city to impending natural disasters, future-proofing Auckland has become more important than ever before.
The way we plan, design, construct and govern our city will determine Auckland’s future viability. The world’s cities are under threat by climate change. Building a sustainable city is an integral part of Auckland’s future.
But what does the ideal sustainable city look like? And is it possible?
Building Better researcher Landscape Architect Jacqueline Paul will be on the panel.
The four key essentials for a functional housing system
1 April 2019: As KiwiBuild and capital gains tax dominate headlines about the direction of the housing sector, Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities says it has clear evidence of New Zealand’s housing delivery system being dismantled over the last 30 years.
This means there is no quick fix, nor is there a silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to building a functional, fit for purpose, housing system from scratch.
In order to deliver housing suitable for all, BBHTC has identified that a widespread shift needs to occur on four fronts. These are urban wellbeing; Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua (Māori housing); affordable housing; and supporting regions to thrive.
Local growth is complex!
15 March 2019: Current European regional policy promotes "smart specialisation" by encouraging regions to expand into activities that "build on local strengths". Smart specialisation rests upon the idea that bringing together people with complementary skills helps them generate new ideas that boost innovation and growth. But does this actually work?
In a study funded by the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, Benjamin Davies and Dr David Maré, both of Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, analyse 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.
Functional housing for older people
11 March 2019: 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
11 March 2019: 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.
The regeneration of Oamaru
4 March 2019: 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?
Where do we dance? - PARKing space symposium
When: 8.00am to 6.00pm, Friday, 08 March 2019
Where: Cuba Street, Wellington
1 March 2019: Where do we dance? Where do we create community, have social interactions, be kids, be teenagers, be older people, be Māori, be Pākehā, be New Zealanders in the public spaces of our cities AND what should these places look, feel, and be like?
The Building Better research team are out in force for PARKing Day in Wellington City, delivering research news and views about how we might transform our urban environments.
Click below for a timetable of events throughout the day.
Te Manaaki o Te Marae
27 February 2019: 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. While the grassroots programme disrupted the wider Auckland housing narrative by revealing the ‘crisis’, for whānau Māori who were homeless, the Manaaki Tāngata E Rua transitional housing programme offered not only a chance to get off the streets but ultimately by taking a uniquely Māori approach - based on manaaki tāngata and tikanga Māori principles in general - many families were effectively transitioned into homes and stable living environments.
PM’s Chief Science Advisor says hui with Māori experts ‘Ka rawe!’
22 February 2019: Building Better's Director Māori Dr Jessica Hutchings chaired a Rauika Māngai hui this month 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
15 February 2019: 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 this week 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.
Places that are attractive to live in tend to be sunny, dry and near water. Kerikeri River. Photo: Louise Thomas.
Māori designers a hit at RAIC
7 February 2019: 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 and include: The evolution of Marae Aotearoa, New Zealand as a critical factor in cultural resilience by Rau Hoskins; Papakāinga Design Principles and Applications by Jade Kake; Te Aranga Design Principles by Jacqueline Paul; Decolonizing the Colonial City by Rebecca Kiddle; and Ngā Aho: Network of Māori Design Professionals by Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
Virtual environments in urban design
4 February 2019: 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.
Auckland’s housing supply challenge
31 January 2019: 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.
Power to the people: Maia Ratana
28 January 2019: 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.
Maia Ratana. Photo: Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
Home and business: Living in harmony
17 December 2018: In a column in Architecture Now, Arthur Grimes, programme leader for the Supporting success in regional settlements research team writes about findings from a recent study his team has completed regarding 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?
Phase 2 investment process
14 December 2018: Following renewed investment from the Government, Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge (BBHTC NSC) is releasing its investment process for phase two. There is a research budget of up to $3.25m per annum to invest in research activities that align with the phase two strategic direction. The Challenge will invest in four research programmes of three-five years in duration with a maximum investment of $750km per programme per annum, except for the cross-challenge Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua programme, which has a maximum budget of $1m per annum.
The first round of research investment in phase two will be a co-created, negotiated investment, building on the lessons of phase one. It will not be an open contest of ideas. Research ideas for phase two must be appropriately co-created and critiqued to ensure that they are well aligned to the Challenge vision, mission and strategic research domains. There must also be a strong case made to show how they will deliver impact. Building on phase one means that we build on our current strengths and relationships with communities and collaborators.
Solving urban homelessness with manaakitanga
14 December 2018: 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.
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.
Red zone stories to be told via new app
28 November 2018: 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.
Strategy for Phase II released
23 November 2018: What will success look like in the long-term in the areas of housing and urban development after the next five years of research funded by the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities | Ko ngā wā Kāinga hei Whakamāhorahora National Science Challenge (BBHTC)?
Following the National Science Challenges midway review, Building Better is releasing its strategy for phase II, where our innovative research programme will help ensure that, on the occasion of the bicentenary of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 2040, “housing shortages and homelessness” and “house prices and affordability” are no longer significant factors that negatively impact the life course and outcomes for New Zealanders, as they are doing today.
Amenities and the attractiveness of New Zealand cities
20 November 2018: A new report by Building Better’s Supporting Success in Regional Settlements team, Kate Preston, Arthur Grimes, David Maré, and Stuart Donovan, analyses the factors that attract people and firms (and hence jobs) to different settlements across New Zealand. The team compiled quality of life and quality of business indicators for 130 settlements from 1976 to 2013, using census rent and wage data.
"Households and firms prefer different amenities, which means places with high quality of life often have low quality of business. For instance, households appear to prefer sunny, dry locations near water, while firms appear to prefer to locate in larger cities," says Dr Grimes.
Building Better performing well, $24.3m approved for next five years
19 November 2018: The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge is set to continue to develop and deliver world-leading research into our built environment.
Following the National Science Challenges midway review, the MBIE Science Board has approved Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge phase II funding of $24.3M, bringing its total investment in the Challenge to $47.9M over 10 years.
The funding announcement was made by Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods on 17 November, with this second period of investment to run from 1 July 2019.
The Science Board’s approval follows a positive mid-way review of the 11 Challenges.
16 November 2018: Models of land administration often promote the formalisation of land under multiple ownership to a more individualised, Western style of tenure, such as the British system of land tenure imposed on a communal Māori society. However, the dangers for Māori land under multiple ownership are that Māori values might become diluted or even lost in this transition as social responsibilities become divorced from land rights. Recognising this, planners of some Māori land development projects have sought to reintroduce key communal or socially-based tenure principles to the planning equation. But what are those principles? Are they succeeding? Do some principles produce better outcomes than others? And why might they work in some instances but not others?
Building Better's Next Generation Information for Better Outcomes researchers James Berghan, David Goodwin, and Lyn Carter from the University of Otago presented and published research into community land ownership at the Remaking Cities conference in Melbourne earlier this year.
Designed to disrupt: A digital tool for urban regeneration
5 November 2018: Building Better's Next Generation Information for Better Outcomes researchers Rita Dionisio and Mirjam Schindler discuss the new Envision Scenario Planner (ESP) in a column in Architecture Now magazine. The ESP is a free, web-based geo-spatial planning tool that uses digital, evidence-based information to assist the exploration of urban regeneration scenarios at a neighbourhood level.
The ESP was nominated as one of three finalists in the Environment and Sustainability category at the Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards held at Te Papa in Wellington in October, and it has recently received high praise for the way it embeds sustainability at every level. It was created to help planners and decision-makers assess the impact that different urban regeneration scenarios, building typologies, and open spaces will have on a range of outcomes.
Resilience and housing markets
5 November 2018: Research has found that some groups are inadvertently privileged in the housing market by existing resilience policy. Building Better’s Improving the architecture of decision-making Principal Investigator, Dr Iain White, and colleague Dr Graham Squires have published a report on resilience and housing markets in a top international journal, Land Use Policy. The report, Resilience and housing markets: Who is it really for?, examines how resilience theory and rhetoric relating to the economy and housing markets has been translated into policy and practice. The research includes a case study of Auckland, with a nationally dominant housing market and high unaffordability.
“By bringing these selectivities and limits to light we argue for a shift in focus away from an institutional frame to one with a deeper understanding of both the balance of an economy and the wider forces that create and reproduce housing markets.”
Action-packed month for New Zealand’s housing sector
1 November 2018: Throughout November, planners, policymakers and the public will gather around the country to look at how to plan and build in ways that create more connected communities.
This month Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) - Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora - is sponsoring a number of key events to inform how we deliver affordable, healthy homes, create attractive, functional urban neighbourhoods and build Māori housing.
Cultural landscape approach to design at ICOMOS
31 October 2018: Integrating Kaupapa Māori and Te Aranga design principles into design processes was the theme of a paper presented by Building Better researchers Jacqueline Paul and Jade Kake at the ICOMOS 2018 conference in Suva, Fiji earlier this month. The aim of the conference was to share knowledge, celebrate the rich culture of the Pacific, and discuss common issues of heritage conservation across the region.
Jade reflected on her experiences of the conference, finding some presentations troubling, while others were uplifting.
Renting for the over 65s
1 October 2018: Dr Kay Saville-Smith discusses the burgeoning renters sector on Radio New Zealand's Lately with Karyn Hay, predicting that in 20 years' time more than half of those over 65 will be renting - and even now many are turning to flatting.
Virtual reality for urban design decisions
1 October 2018: A new study by Building Better Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods research team members Prof. Marc Aurel Schnabel and Shuva Chowdhury investigates using virtual reality (VR) to create user-friendly interfaces to generate and visualise urban form. Typically, current urban design processes can’t visualise urban form in real time during the decision-making stage. Virtual environment design instruments offer a realm to generate, visualise and analyse urban form. The researchers believe that engaging stakeholders using a VR design platform can reduce the gap between design intent and design outcomes leading to a more favourable design process.
Concepts of Neighbourhood: A Review of the Literature
27 September 2018: The Shaping places: Future Neighbourhoods research programme is focused on researching liveable and well-designed neighbourhoods, including houses, which contribute to successful towns and cities. It is seeking to develop our understanding of the principles and processes that create more successful neighbourhoods. This includes both the physical and social structure of neighbourhoods. Within this context, researcher Dr Natalie Allen has developed a literature review. This working paper is designed to offer a frame of reference for subsequent research into New Zealand’s neighbourhood context and to provide an overview of why considering the concept of neighbourhood is important.
Marae model to support urban homeless touted as possible solution
20 September 2018: The grass-roots model an Auckland Marae developed to house hundreds of homeless people is being seen as a viable way to deal with urban homelessness. For the last year, Te Puea Marae has worked with the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge on a research project to show why its transitional housing programme has been a success.
Dr Jessica Hutchings at the Te Puea Marae. Photo: RNZ/ John Boynton
Te Puea Marae model of manaakitanga 'key' to tackling homelessness crisis
19 September 2018: NZ Herald Māori Affairs reporter, Michael Neilson, takes a look at what make Te Puea Marae special and outlines the Building Better research project into transitional housing.
"A homeless father carried his son on his shoulders from the opposite side of Māngere to Te Puea Marae, because he heard they might have space for them to stay.
"They did, and now they are two of the 332 people Te Puea Marae has helped find homes since it opened its doors to homeless whānau on July 24, 2016, in the midst of Auckland's housing crisis."
Te Puea Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis said they had been successful at helping homeless Māori because they did not judge. Photo: NZ Herald
New research about homeless programme at Te Puea Marae
19 September 2018: Māori Television's Jessica Tyson covered research around Te Puea Marae and its work to address homelessness that was released at a symposium at the marae on 19 September.
Over the past year, researchers from the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge have been working with the marae to develop the Te Manaaki Tāngata E Rua programme.
The research aims to better understand why Manaaki Tāngata E Rua is so successful at supporting whānau Māori who are homeless using tikanga Māori.
The project is co-led by Unitec Institute of Technology's Rau Hoskins and University of Waikato Associate Professor Jenny-Lee Morgan.
Te Aranga Māori Design Principles
18 September 2018: Landscape architect graduate Jacqueline Paul (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa), from the Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods team, and landscape architect William Hatton (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa, Muaūpoko) write on Te Aranga Māori Design Principles developed by the Auckland Council in conjunction with mana whenua to provide practical guidance for designers shaping the city’s built environment.
Hape - Protect Ihumatao. Photo: Yamen Jawish
Te Puea Memorial Marae to host hui for urban homelessness
17 September 2018: Te Puea Memorial Marae and researchers from Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora - the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge - will hold their first symposium about their research and share initial insights that centre on the work of the Marae to address urban homelessness. The hui will be held at Te Puea Memorial Marae in Auckland on Wednesday 19 September.
For the past year, the research team has been working with the Marae to co-develop the Te Manaaki o te Marae research programme.
Key to the research is to better understand why their Manaaki Tāngata E Rua transitional housing programme is so successful at supporting Whānau Maori who are homeless.
ESP finalist in Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards
10 September 2018: A web-based urban planning tool, Envision Scenario Planner (ESP), developed by the researchers in the Next Generation Information for Better Outcomes research team is one of three finalists in the Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (2018) in the Environment and Sustainability category.
The ESP tool allows local government and other key stakeholders to make informed decisions about the types of urban regeneration proposed. It allows planners and decision-makers to assess the impact that different urban designs, building typologies, and open spaces will have on a range of environmental and social outcomes, for example, carbon emissions, water management, jobs and social amenities created.
Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities reveals research focus
21 August 2018: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) - Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora - has announced the key themes of their research in the year ahead. Continuing to address New Zealand’s housing needs, the National Science Challenge is digging deeper into housing for our ageing population and how we can build spaces for generations. It is also investigating the delivery of more affordable, healthy homes and the development of attractive urban environments with smart, safe, walkable streets. Thriving regions are also at the forefront of upcoming research, identifying how we can plan and build homes, towns and cities that create strong communities.
Intergenerational kaumātua village helps Kirikiriroa achieve age-friendly status
20 August 2018: An iwi-led housing project designed to ensure kaumātua of Kirikiriroa are safe, secure and well cared for is being recognised for its role in helping Hamilton become New Zealand’s first age-friendly city.
Te Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust provides free health, social, educational, cultural, recreational, housing and transport support services to those over the age of 55. The village was developed and is owned by Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa and is a kaumātua governed and led organisation.
Special Housing Areas: Spaces in Contention
14 August 2018: A new report by Building Better researcher Dr Bev James considers public consultation associated with the establishment of Special Housing Areas (SHAs) in the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region, how it affected decision-making about SHA developments, and what it tells us about people’s views of our homes, towns and cities.
Overall, 69 percent of the 603 submissions on SHA proposals were opposed, and the remainder were either supportive or neutral. Those opposed cited a range of perceived social and environmental impacts. Read the report for more details on public perceptions of SHAs.
Designing housing decision-support tools for resilient older people
8 August 2018: Our ageing populations make it critical that older people continue to live and participate in their communities. ‘Ageing in place’, rather than in residential care, is desired by older people themselves and promoted as policy in many countries. Its success, both as policy and practice, depends on housing. House performance, resilience, functionality and adaptability are all essential to maintaining independence. Three
Impact of covenants on affordable housing
7 August 2018:
Ngā Kōrero speaker series: The housing crisis conversation
30 July 2018: Video livestream from St Peter's on Willis. Can the Housing Crisis be solved? What is Wrong with Housing? St Peter’s on Willis Ngā Kōrero speaker series asked these questions of the Hon. Phil Twyford, Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Transport; Dr Kay Saville-Smith, BBHTC researcher and Director of CRESA; Taimalieutu Kiwi Tamasese, Coordinator Pacific Section, Family Centre; and Paul Gilberd, New Zealand Housing Foundation. View the video link above to hear their replies:
Tāmaki Makaurau Cultural Landscapes
26 July 2018: Podcast from Indigenous Urbanism: Jade Kake interviews Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua researcher, Rau Hoskins. "On this episode of Indigenous Urbanism, we travel to Tāmaki Makaurau, our largest city, to look at how Māori designers are working alongside mana whenua to re-shape the city to better reflect their unique identity and culture and to create a distinctive sense of place that benefits us all."
Following the money: Understanding the building industry’s exit from affordable housing production
25 July 2018: Research Bulletin: New Zealand’s housing under-supply is more than a temporary problem of adjustment associated with our so-called ‘rock star’ economy. Most acute is an under-supply of affordable housing. There have been lots of explanations proffered as to the reasons for under-supply and heated house prices ranging from claims of excessive building and materials costs to land-banking pushing up the costs of development to restrictions and costs arising from district planning and resource management. What has largely been ignored, however, is the NZ Productivity Commission’s 2012 report suggesting that the building industry has largely deserted building in the lower value segments of the housing market.
19 July 2018: A great article, outlining the tiny house movement in New Zealand, in the July/August issue of the New Zealand Geographic.
Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge gets a mention for research analysing the property titles registered in Auckland over the past three decades, and the part that covenants can play to restrict smaller, affordable housing at a time when New Zealand desperately needs it.
The figures are still being finalised, but researcher Dr Kay Saville-Smith says it looks like about 55 per cent of Auckland residential titles in 2017 had a covenant - compared with less than 10 per cent in 1980. Very often, those covenants mandate large dwellings, she says.
“The worst I’ve seen is a minimum of 245 square metres. You’ll hear a lot about how affordable housing is affected by planning regulations; that’s a typical public narrative. You don’t hear a lot about the use of covenants - anyone can put them on, but they’re very hard to get rid of.”
Three new publications available
18 July 2018: Three new publications are available from the team at Improving the architecture of decision-making. These are: Tenure insecurity and exclusion: older people in New Zealand’s rental market; Revitalising the production of lower value homes: Researching dynamics and outcomes; and Declining egalitarianism and the battle for affordable housing in New Zealand. All three papers were presented at the European Network of Housing Researchers Conference in Uppsala, Sweden, 27-29 June 2018.
Government Minister says elderly housing needs cannot be overlooked
18 July 2018: What is the future of housing for our elderly? Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin weighs in on the affordable housing debate. Stuff article which includes reference to a paper written by BBHTC's Dr Kay Saville-Smith and Dr Bev James, as part of a consultation process about the ageing population, highlighting how New Zealand's future older population will mostly live in rentals, as home ownership rates have continued to fall over the last 15 years.
Image: Architecture of Decision-Making Principal Investigator Dr Kay Saville-Smith.
NZ 'not geared for affordable housing'
5 July 2018: Smaller housing developers are being locked out by bureaucracy costs, and experts say the government must connect people with expertise so affordable housing, particularly for Māori, can be built. Listen to Building Better researcher Ella Henry from the Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods team talking Māori affordable housing this week on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme.
Photo: RNZ, Claire Eastham-Farrelly.
Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua - Project Team Hui
3 July 2018: On 17 and 18 June, Te Herenga Waka hosted around 30 Māori researchers connected to the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge. Under the banner of the Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua strategic research area, and led by Director Māori, Dr Jessica Hutchings, the hui provided opportunities for kairangahau to share their ideas, methods and approaches on how to actively support Māori aspirations for long-term affordable and healthy housing that meets the needs of their communities.
Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua project team. Photo: Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
Urbanism NZ Conference
28 June 2018: The 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference held in Wellington in mid May was two days of high-quality content shared by expert speakers discussing the urban environment as a whole system of complex processes. There were a significant number of researchers from the National Science Challenge: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, both as participants and speakers.
Dr Rebecca Kiddle discussed The Death and Life of Great Aotearoa New Zealand Cities: Values and Justice in the Urban Realm. This presentation acknowledged the history and importance of the Treaty of Waitangi, how the Treaty principles are upheld, and the responsibility of practitioners to think about how their work takes on the role of the urbanist, as an advocate to support justice and equity.
Survey - Urban planning tools
27 June 2018: Please help out a Next Generation Information survey project. The survey is to better understand the needs and challenges around spatial planning tools for New Zealand’s cities. The survey takes 10-15 minutes and is anonymous. It will be open until the 15 July 2018.
Why Waste Water?
26 June 2018: What happens to the water that gurgles down your shower drain? For many people it disappears out of sight and out of mind, but not for civil engineers, town planners or those working in wastewater treatment. They are busy maintaining the intricate infrastructure that takes care of your wastewater so you don’t have to think about it. A blog post from Scion's Lisa Tovey outlines the work of the BBHTC's Novel Wastewater Processing team led by Daniel Gapes at Scion.
Unlocking transport innovation
15 June 2018: A working paper to understand the regulatory and decision-making logics, processes and practices that determine the street design solutions that become part of our built environment and transport infrastructure has recently been published by the Architecture of Decision-making research team. Report authors Simon Opit and Karen Witten consider a proposal to install a novel type of pedestrian crossing, as part of a neighbourhood intervention, to investigate the architecture of decision-making that influences our urban environments.
Dr Kay Saville-Smith receives NZ Order of Merit
5 June 2018: One of Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities lead researchers in the Architecture of Decision Making research programme, Dr Kay Saville-Smith, has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours.
Building Research Levy Prospectus 2018-2019
31 May 2018: The 2018/19 Building Research Levy Prospectus is available now.
The Prospectus sets out key themes and priorities that BRANZ will be looking to invest Building Research Levy in. The focus of this Prospectus is a call for stand-alone research proposals responding to questions in three themes:
1. New technologies;
2. Lifting productivity; and
The process for receiving and assessing proposals for 2018/19 is made up of a two-stage application process.
The first step calls for expressions of interest (EOI) to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, on the template provided on the BRANZ website, by 5pm on 22 June 2018.
Hobsonville Point high-density development
31 May 2018: Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods Principal Investigator Errol Haarhoff is interviewed about the impact of high density living on well-being and housing satisfaction at Hobsonville Point.
The suburb is unique in that it's the first of its kind: a greenfield built from scratch and founded on the principle of high density living, says Errol. And it seems to be working well.
Building Research Capacity in Communities
28 May 2018: The urban environment has profound effects on people lives, yet those people often have little ability to influence that environment, either because public participation is limited to ‘consultation’ – feedback rather than ideation – or people find the process alienating. The research programme ‘Urban Narrative’ offers the potential to transform urban governance and decision-making to a model that encourages and values public participation. By supporting participation, Urban Narrative re-positions cities as ‘listening organisations’ that create authentic conversations and two-way relationships that gather, and act upon, local knowledge, ideas and aspirations. Read Urban Narrative's Community Workshop Feedback Report out now.
London solution to Kiwi housing crisis
28 May 2018: Dr Kay Saville-Smith from the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities Architecture of Decision Making research team discusses partitioning homes to provide "new" affordable housing options with Rob Stock of Business Day
Brick houses in Muswell Hill, London, where many houses have been partitioned into individual flats. Image: Royalty-free for non-commercial editorial, by Zoltan Gabor.
The call of home for new graduate
28 May 2018: Jacqueline Paul, from the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods Māori Research team, features in this month's Landscape Architecture Aotearoa. Now that she’s finished Unitec the 24-year-old has just reached out to her local trust up North. Her next 10-year plan is to return to the Takou Bay area (where her father is from and grandparents are buried) to support her whānau plan their papakāinga (housing development on ancestral land) and marae development.
Jackie Paul at Te Ngaere Marae near Matauri Bay in Northland. Photo: Landscape Architecture
Data literacy for better research collaboration
21 May 2018: To help system users of all levels with the fundamental concepts around metadata and geospatial data management the team from Next-generation Information for Better Outcomes have created a series of videos. They have also created a booklet outlining the basic elements to add to each dataset, and guidance on how to create metadata for optimal outcomes.
These have been created as part of a meta and geospatial-data literacy programme the Next-generation Information for Better Outcomes team are running in conjunction with Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge.
Goodbye Big City!
18 May 2018: The feature article of the June 2018 North and South Magazine features the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, in particular the Supporting Success in Regional Settlements programme. Arthur Grimes, Mike MacKay, Harvey Perkins and Director Ruth Berry are all interviewed for the feature.
Saying goodbye to the city
Would life really be better in a small town? Joanna Wane asks what you should weigh up before you book a one-way ticket to the country.
Making tracks to Wairarapa
With Wellington house prices booming, more people are forging new lives across the Rimutakas. Mike White checks out Featherston on the Wairarapa Line.
Autonomous vehicles and urban environments
17 May 2018: Imagine a world where driving is no longer a useful skill. It might be a world in which people walk, cycle, and use a shared fleet of electric autonomous vehicles to get around. There might be no private cars or parking, more efficient land use, more affordable urban housing, and built environments that better promote community. In this world, adults seamlessly maintain their social connections and activities outside the home as they age.
Click on the "read more" link below for the second edition report, Think Piece: Autonomous vehicles and future urban environments: Exploring implications for wellbeing in an ageing society.
Photo reproduced with permission from ohmio Automotion Ltd/HMI Technologies.
Vicious to Virtuous Homes and Cities in an Ageing New Zealand
8 May 2018: Two new presentations are available from Building Better National Science Challenge researcher Dr Kay Saville-Smith. They are An Eco-response to Housing Under-Supply, Costly Cities and Our Need for Affordable Housing - ADUs and Partitioning, a presentation to the Guaranteeing Healthy Homes - The Eco Design Advisor Conference 2018, held in Wellington, and Vicious to Virtuous Homes and Cities in an Ageing New Zealand – Hard and Soft Design, a presentation to the Room to Region: Age-Friendly Environmental Design and Planning in the Western Asia-Pacific Symposium, held in mid-March at the Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.
Study casts doubt on effectiveness of Special Housing Areas in Tauranga
2 May 2018: Building Better National Science Challenge researcher Dr Bev James has studied the 15 SHAs in the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty districts and questions whether Special Housing Areas are actually providing affordable homes in Tauranga.
An aerial view of Papamoa East, where nine out of 14 Special Housing Areas in Tauranga are located. Photo: Andrew Warner, Bay of Plenty Times
Passive Low-Energy Architecture 2017 Legacy Document
29 March 2018: On 2 to 5 July 2017, Edinburgh, Scotland, hosted the 33rd Passive and Low-Energy Architecture (PLEA) conference. Cresa’s Kay Saville-Smith and Dr Bev James from the BBHTC Understanding and Re-tooling the Architecture and Logistics of Decision-making research programme presented a paper on Resilience, Ageing, and Adapting to Change. The pair writes that an ageing population coupled with environmental sustainability are two of the biggest challenges facing societies today. “Architecture and urban design are pivotal factors in the challenge of aging well. Population ageing is inevitable and irrefutable. The resilience, sustainability and functionality of our dwellings and the built environment are key to realising the benefits of the longevity dividend, of living well, as well as long. Homes in particular not only reflect the social and economic conditions of their occupants, but can also dictate them. They ideally, can meet the everyday needs and preferences of older citizens and their lifestyles, and additionally provide crucial protection against extreme events and other hazards."
Building more houses does not make them affordable
21 March 2018: Professor Laurence Murphy says relying on simply building more houses is not an effective pathway to generating affordable housing as the market is very good at producing market prices. He discusses the challenges of Special Housing Areas with Grant Walker on NBR Radio.
How we can build the kind of housing we want and need
20 March 2018: If New Zealand is ever to produce enough affordable housing to meet the needs of low and middle income earners, such as service workers, teachers and nurses, it must take action using positive planning and investment.
Māori solutions to future proof housing
8 March 2018: Jessica Hutchings, the director Māori on the building better homes national science challenge, spoke with Radio Waatea, she says her team has been looking at how to create culturally fit-for-purpose housing both in the regions and the cities where space is short.
She says housing is more than bedrooms, a roof and a place to put the car. "We talk about a housing shortage. We talk about whānau Māori being life long renters. But also in the Challenge we are really interested in supporting the well being of whānau into houses so it is not just about building houses," Dr Hutchings says.
Mātauranga Māori provides pathway to future-proof housing
7 March 2018: New research conducted by Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora - Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge - has uncovered traditional approaches to housing that stand up to climate change and strengthen communities.
Original Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kaingā hei whakamahorahora documents
2 March 2018: Want to read the original overview and research plan for Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challange?
Jacqueline Paul - delegate at the UN 2018 Winter Youth Assembly
19 February 2018: Jacqueline Paul (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi, Kahungunu) is part of the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods Māori Research team. She was a delegate at the UN 2018 Winter Youth Assembly from 14 to 16 February in New York. This Youth Assembly is a platform to elevate the voices of young people in international dialogues, empower youth to advocate for future generations, and mobilize youth as agents of impactful change. Jacqueline's participation in this assembly was supported by the Challenge.
Think Tank hui aims at visible and disruptive contribution to housing debate
13 February 2018: Making a highly visible and disruptive contribution to the housing, urban design, and planning debate was the aim of a Māori Housing Think Tank hui, convened on 24 January to establish a kaupapa Māori research programme for the ‘Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua’ research area.
TRANS-disciplinary research through STS practice: The co-creation of knowledge and collaboration
When: Sydney, Australia, August 29 – September 1, 2018
Science and Technology Studies (STS) has a key role in helping to create transdisciplinary research programmes that encourage collaboration and shared knowledge creation. Transdisciplinary research programmes are needed if we are to address the greatest challenges of our times, such as climate change. In attempting to understand the process of transdisciplinary research, we must first come to terms with different forms of knowledge. In the creation of transdisciplinary research programmes, such as the New Zealand Government’s National Science Challenges, what makes these collaborations effective, productive and satisfying programmes for all participants?
New Zealand's hidden homes
14 December 2017: New research offers practical, community-based solutions to New Zealand’s housing crisis by turning existing stock into far more affordable, fit-for-purpose homes.
A new report from the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge shows around 12% of New Zealand’s housing stock is significantly under-utilised and many houses could be partitioned to deliver up to 180,000 new dwellings.
The ADU Potential report suggests that the Auckland region has a potential 45,000 partitionable dwellings. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, Marlborough has around 2,000 partitionable dwellings. These dwellings would not impinge on greenfield sites or unutilised vacant land. There is also opportunity to introduce other forms of accessory dwellings (ADUs).
Transforming the building industry: State of Nation knowledge report
14 December 2017: The research team from SRA6: Transforming the Building Industry has just released a State of Nation working paper. This combined report, addressing the key themes of: Innovation; People; Technology; and Process, represents the first deliverable of a multi-year project for guiding and supporting the transformation of the New Zealand building construction industry. The report presents the findings from a comprehensive literature review and a series of focus groups and elite interviews conducted in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. Then, based on the findings, the future research questions and recommendations.
Challenge to build better
7 December 2017: The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities – Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora National Science Challenge is one of 11 National Science Challenges established by the government in 2013.
Eleven challenges were progressively launched from late 2014 with the aim of focusing research effort on significant issues that matter most to New Zealanders. The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) challenge was launched in May 2016.
The BBHTC National Science Challenge is a collaboration hosted by BRANZ and involving researchers from more than 20 research organisations and companies. It brings together a team that includes expertise in design, architecture, construction, planning, geography, behavioural sciences, economics and technology.
New case studies now available
4 December 2017: Three new case studies showcasing some of the NSC BBHTC research have been added to the site. These are Decoding housing messages; Investing in affordable homes; and Land costs and affordability. Please see: Case Studies.
Toi Ohomai gets $700k for Maori health research project
16 November 2017: With the launch of the Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua research programme, the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology received $700,000 in Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge funding to research new designs for sustainable and affordable homes and identify how these contribute to health and wellbeing for Māori.