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Improving the architecture of decision-making

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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

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.

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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.

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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).

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Land costs and affordability

4 December 2017: It has become taken for granted that the cost of housing is driven by land prices. Certainly, the land price is generally the biggest ticket item in the cost structure of a new build.

Builders and developers say the cost of land is a major barrier to building dwellings that low-income and middle-income households can afford. A National Science Challenge project is looking at what drives land prices.

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Investing in affordable homes

1 December 2017: While central and local government are encouraging new builds and the release of land for residential purposes, high numbers of residential new builds are not affordable housing for those with limited resources.

Up to the 1980s, New Zealand enjoyed a steady supply of affordable housing, but now there is a serious shortage in many centres. A National Science Challenge project seeks new ways to address this issue.

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Decoding housing messages

1 December 2017: In the 2017 election year, housing has been a hot-button issue with politicians, broader government and the public. What is it about these overarching themes of social justice and wellbeing that capture our attention? By looking at how politicians have defined New Zealand? ?!"s housing problems, particularly supply and affordability, researchers hope to better understand how diverse messages are translated into policy and practice.

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Further information

Email us at:            NSCinfo@branz.co.nz