A novel approach to understanding people’s housing preferences

  • YEAR
    Gjerde, Morten
    Kiddle, Rebecca
    2020 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science, Design and Environment Science, Urban Science
    Conference Papers


Housing in Aotearoa/New Zealand is produced largely as a commercial activity. The vast majority of housing ‘consumers’ are left with the narrow range of housing types favoured by developers to choose between. Earlier research has noted that people’s increasingly diverse housing preferences are rarely taken into account, even if they are known, in the production cycle. This paper discusses the methods used to elicit needs and expectations of people with an expressed interest in medium density housing. A 16-square matrix of demographic characteristics was developed to help ensure a wide range of housing preferences could be explored. Half the participants were Māori, reflecting an aim to address the gap in knowledge about Māori housing preferences. In recognition that the ideal dwelling is a rarity and that people make trade-offs, the research team developed a set of different neighbourhood and dwelling conditions that required respondents to make choices. Their choices were made in a financially constrained context and the nature of the trade-offs were then discussed in free ranging interviews. This discussion of a methodology developed to enable better understanding of housing preferences will be of particular interest to other researchers.

Keywords: Housing preferences studies; Medium density housing; Housing crisis; Qualitative research methods.


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