Press Release – University of Otago
30 June 2012 Generating momentum for more affordable and social housing The need for partnerships to take action on the shortage of affordable and social housing in New Zealand was the driving force for a unique workshop held in Wellington this … 30 June 2012
Generating momentum for more affordable and social housing
The need for partnerships to take action on the shortage of affordable and social housing in New Zealand was the driving force for a unique workshop held in Wellington this week (held on Thursday 28 June at Wellington Hospital) .
A feature of the workshop was its practical focus on developing on-the-spot recommendations for identified parcels of land available for housing developments in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
Workshop organiser, Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman of the University of Otago, Wellington, said the workshop highlighted the potential for more collaboration between central and local government, community housing groups and private developers to respond to a growing shortage of affordable, but good quality housing in New Zealand.
“A large part of the motivation for holding this workshop was a sense of frustration: we need to move beyond all the evidence many people have gathered showing the social and economic advantages of affordable housing to seeing more action taken on the ground,” said Howden-Chapman.
“We can’t just sit back and wring our hands; it’s time to act. It’s a simple equation – if we don’t get traction on this and if we don’t develop some large scale exemplars of sustainable affordable housing for the future, then many people will continue to struggle with poor, cold housing, at a huge cost to our health system and community wellbeing.”
“Most builders in New Zealand only build one house per year. Several ideas were raised for creative and innovative examples of attractive, affordable housing, which could be manufactured at scale, off-site, to high energy efficient standards, and assembled rapidly.”
The gathering of over 100 experts in finance, economics, community development, iwi relations, local governance, architecture, design, building and public health worked together to explore development opportunities for parcels of land that were figuratively put on the block in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Government agencies and city councils helped identify the possible sites.
Solid cases were made that these sites could work as locations for exemplars of up-scaled affordable and social housing. Viable partnerships between government, community agencies and the private sector could overcome the real or perceived barriers, for instance building consents or funding and enhance the assets of the local community.
Another feature of the workshop was a series of on-the-spot electronic polls about key issues. Those polls indicated majority support for an exemplary housing development in Christchurch to be treated as a priority. There was also majority support for mandating a proportion of affordable and mixed tenure types of housing within all new housing developments.