Board meeting
Changes to BBHTC's Governance Group

Challenge host BRANZ, and all the Challenge Parties are pleased to announce changes to the governance group of Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko Ngā wā Kāinga hei whakamāhorahora.

The Challenge, one of eleven national science challenges, is working to identify new ways of living that reflect Aotearoa's unique identity, and respond to our changing lifestyle needs and aspirations.

The Challenge has at its heart a commitment to a Te Tiriti O Waitangi partnership approach. This has been further enhanced at the governance level through a new co-chair arrangement. Graeme Nahkies and Gena Moses-Te Kani (Ngāti Kuia te Iwi, Kurahaupo te Waka), governance group members since 2016, have been appointed as new Challenge co-chairs.

The Challenge has also appointed two further governance group members - Dr Hope Tupara and Hope Simonsen. They replace outgoing members Professor Richard Bedford and Ngarimu Blair.

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Disruptive mobility and the potential for land reclamation

If shared electric autonomous vehicles (SEAVs) become the dominant transport system in the near future; the transition from the current private car ownership system will potentially reduce the demands for car parking, and the existing open and covered car parking can be reclaimed.

This land reclamation could provide a great opportunity for planners, urban designers, and other decision makers to reuse the reclaimed lands for their required urban needs, such as public space, commercial, and also residential buildings.

A recently published working paper by Building Better Urban Wellbeing researcher Mohsen Mohammadzadeh, from the University of Auckland, investigates the potential for land reclamation based on the deployment of disruptive mobility in Auckland’s CBD and in ten other Auckland metropolitan areas.

In a future where car parks become underused, land reclamation could provide a great opportunity for planners, urban designers, and other decision makers.

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car park
Boy walking
Designing walkable neighbourhoods

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?

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Green infrastructure in water-sensitive urban design fundamental

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’.

Christchurch roadside raingarden and densely planted trees provide beauty, shade, and WSUD. Photo: Robyn Simcock, Landcare Research.

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Christchurch roadside raingardens
1863 map of Pokeno
Regional development and the mana whenua of Pōkeno

During the 1990s, the township of Pōkeno was held up as an example of a declining rural Aotearoa New Zealand. By-passed from the national state highway, it lost its status as a service hub and drastic measures were introduced to revitalise the town, including renaming the town “Jenniferann.com”. Pōkeno has since undergone an unlikely transformation, with foreign investment and its location within an extended Auckland commuter zone meaning that the township has grown exponentially.

Building Better Thriving Regions researchers John Ryks, Jonathan Kilgour, Jesse Whitehead, Amy Whetu, and James Whetu have recently published a paper in the New Zealand Geographer examining the recent transformation of Pōkeno, including the historical development of the town, and uncover what has been missing in discussions about Pōkeno's reinvention and revitalisation, namely, the place of mana whenua and Māori.

1863 map of Pōkeno showing the town and land to be auctioned. Source: Auckland Council.

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Regional district and town profiles show positive results

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.”

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Timaru
Waimakariri District Council staff
Soft infrastructure for hard times

It’s often said that the journey is as important as the destination; this turns out to be true also in disaster recovery, where a Building Better Urban Wellbeing team writes that the recovery planning process is as important as the planning objective.

In a recently published report, Soft infrastructure for hard times, the research team, Suzanne Vallance, Sarah Edwards, and Zohreh Karaminejad, from Lincoln University, and David Conradson, from the University of Canterbury, write that “a focus on the journey can promote positive outcomes in and of itself through building enduring relationships, fostering diverse leaders, developing new skills and capabilities, and supporting translation and navigation. Collaborative planning depends as much upon emotional intelligence as it does technical competence, and we argue that having a collaborative attitude is more important than following prescriptive collaborative planning formulae. Being present and allowing plenty of time are also key.”

Waimakariri District Council staff create interest in a draft long-term plan. Image: Waimakariri District Council facebook.

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Toitū te Kāinga, Toitū te Ora, Toitū te Tangata: Healthy homes, healthy people

Affordable housing has become a primary focus of political and economic discourse in the current socio-economic environment. However, the discussion rarely examines the established links between housing and human wellbeing or considers the whole-of-life affordability of housing.

To examine these issues, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology initiated the Toitū te Kāinga, Toitū te Ora, Toitū te Tangata research project in partnership with the Matekuare Whānau Trust, Unitec Institute of Technology, Scion, and Tallwood (an Auckland-based design and technology company). The researchers aim to improve our understanding of housing affordability and how living conditions affecting human health and wellbeing, using the Matekuare whānau at Minginui as a study. Many whānau members in the study group lived in old and run-down housing.

An initial interior layout design by Tallwood. Research project partners Scion, Tallwood, and Toi Ohomai worked to develop base designs for eventual implementation as a papakāinga development for the Matekuare Trust at Tawhitiwhiti. Image: Tallwood.

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Tallwood interior layout
Communal garden
What is a social mortgage?

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand writes about BBHTC research by James Berghan. James examines the different ways the built environment can deliver housing based on the idea of a “social mortgage”.

With the release of New Zealand’s first Wellbeing budget in late May 2019, it’s more obvious than ever that the built environment needs to move towards planning models that deliver social and environmental sustainability.

Deeply invested in the places they live and wanting to ensure their property provides spaces for generations, communities are looking for the option of alternative developments that aren’t subject to the same commercial demands as the open market.

While every household has their own self-sustaining home or unit, they may have shared spaces, such as a communal garden, a shared playground, or a full multi-purpose community building. Photo: UnSplash.

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Cultural Ambassador - The Built Environment

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 recently published online (ahead of print) by the Journal of Urban Design. Click the link below for a PDF copy.

Where do we dance? Photo: Rebecca Kiddle.

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Where do we dance
Red Zone, Christchurch
Understanding Place: Red Zone Stories

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.

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New designs offer range of options for marae

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 Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga 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 kāinga, but over the years most have lost their housing apart from a few kaumātua flats.

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Te Puea Marae
Circling The Sun installation
Radical rethink of our cities will improve urban wellbeing

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.

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How Airbnb is changing our regions

Local councils need more policy options and resources to address the impacts of accommodation sharing platforms. BBHTC Director Ruth Berry details recent research in an article for NZ Local Government Magazine.

Peer-to-peer rental platforms such as Airbnb have opened up a wide variety of affordable options for families and groups wanting self-contained properties.

Since Airbnb’s entry to the travel market in 2008, many Kiwi property owners have benefited from the introduction of this easy peer-to-peer shared property economy.

Yet new evidence from Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge suggests that for long-term residents living in towns that have a high concentration of Airbnbs, there are negative impacts, alongside the benefits for both residents and the region.

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Queenstown
Manaaki Tāngata Programme Kaimahi
In service to homeless whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau

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.

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Papakāinga People

A new Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua 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.

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Papakāinga People
Vertical papakāinga
Papakāinga in the 21st Century: Going up

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. In a new Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua podcast, 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.

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Dr Amanda Yates Lead Researcher Mauri Ora and Urban Wellbeing Project

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.

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Tauranga
Gisborne Wharf
Gisborne's quality of life

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.

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