CATEGORIES2019 Conference Papers Conference Papers Sustainability Urban design
To cope with demand for housing in New Zealand’s largest cities, regulators, designers and developers are increasingly turning to higher density forms of housing. Medium density housing enables land to be used more efficiently and provides increased viability for creation of physical, social and economic infrastructures. However, a number of barriers to creating medium density housing exist, and many of these become evident in the context of gaining planning approval for new MDH projects.
The research sheds light on the influence of regulatory planning processes on the production of medium
density housing (MDH) developments in New Zealand. The authors took to the field to interview
members of key stakeholder groups including regulators, designers and developers. Findings indicate
that district plans are coarse and inflexible, with many continuing to emphasise housing at lower
densities. In the context of the Resource Management Act, councils appear unable to make difficult
decisions that are needed to enable housing at higher densities to develop. In light of this, developers
opt for safer options to avoid the uncertainty that comes with public notification of more ambitious
projects. The findings from this research could help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
creating MDH in New Zealand.
Keywords: medium density housing; urban planning; housing development.