Latest Updates

PLEA (Passive Low-Energy Architecture) 2017 Legacy Document now available online

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.

“Many societies promote ‘ageing in place’, ‘lifetime homes’ and ‘age-friendly cities’ that support older people to continue to age in their homes and communities, remain independent for as long as possible and reduce reliance on institutional aged care. But how are those policies played out in practice? Do they have the outcomes sought and expected? How do such policies actually relate to growing trends towards less home ownership and greater renting among older people? How should next step policies cope with emerging demographic and occupancy trends? How can quality of life for older people be maintained in shifting social and economic landscapes? These are major questions for our age.”

To download a copy of the conference proceedings, including Kay and Bev’s paper, please see: Design to Thrive

Vacancy - Doctoral Scholarship: Urban Planning and Māori Development

29 March 2018: This doctoral scholarship aims to promote the development of research in Māori development and urban planning in New Zealand. The aim of this project is to advance current planning frameworks through a better integration of Mātauranga Māori, and indigenous perspectives in urban design, planning, and in the processes of decision-making and community engagement. The project is part of a MBIE- funded programme entitled ‘Map-based tools for community and Rūnanga-led sustainable town planning in small and medium settlements in New Zealand’, which focuses the co-creation of tools to enable the integration of Māori perspectives and knowledge, and other forms of local knowledge, in local planning processes in the Waimakariri and Rotorua. This research programme is a collaboration between the Department of Geography and the Geospatial Research Institute at the University of Canterbury.


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.

Listen Here >>

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 whanau Māori being life long renters. But also in the challenge we are really interested in supporting the well being of whanau into houses so it is not just about building houses. It is about building houses and thinking about whanau living in those houses and how can those houses shape whanau well being, shape the place and identity of whanau in a contemporary context," 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 now available online

2 March 2018: Want to read the original overview and research plan for Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challange?

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kaingā hei whakamahorahora (PDF, 9.5MB)

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kaingā hei whakamahorahora - Appendices (PDF, 6MB)

Jackie Paul at the UN

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.

The hui, attended by over 30 participants, divided into three streams or whenu:

Whenu 1: Supporting Hauora Through Successful Māori Housing Initiatives Further understand, from the perspective of whānau, the nexus between poverty, housing, and well-being for diverse Māori communities and to examine solutions that can support transformational hauora outcomes.

Whenu 2: Economic Solutions to Support Māori Housing To develop a suite of economic and finance solutions for diverse whānau that can address issues of lifetime renting and home ownership, and explore the tensions between commercial return of assets, social housing for iwi, and enhanced hauora outcomes.

Whenu 3: Growing Papakāinga into the Future To examine a wide range of papakāinga developments to understand what is innovative and propose ways forward for the future of papakāinga housing that account for kāinga tahi kāinga rua.


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? How do different experiences and understandings of the world, such as indigenous knowledge and neoliberal governmentalities interact and co-exist in transdisciplinary research? How can pre-existing ideas (disciplinary concepts or policy) that may underpin transdisciplinary research be re-configured to respond to current social, economic and environmental issues? This panel seeks to explore how knowledge is co-created within transdisciplinary research through STS practice, and it seeks to examine the opportunities, challenges and the reality of engaging in transdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration to create meaningful change in our world.

Call for abstracts

The deadline for submitting an abstract is 1 February 2018. Paper submissions should be in the form of abstracts of up to 250 words. They should include the paper’s main arguments, methods, and contributions to STS. Submit your abstract through the 4S Conference Website. If you would like to discuss the relevance of your paper to the open track, then please feel free to contact Casimir MacGregor.

Please circulate this PDF to any colleagues, postgraduate students and other networks you think could be interested.  We are really interested in showcasing some New Zealand research and of course helping to grow science and technology studies (STS) here in New Zealand.  This is the first time 4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) has been held downunder, so it is a great chance to engage with world class scholars within the STS field.

NZ'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.


Media releases