Digging the dirt on density: a study of medium density housing in Christchurch's Living Three zone
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Since the 1987 Brundtland Report, the development of urban areas has been considered a key determinant in achieving 'sustainability'. Greater residential density is increasingly advocated for and applied through policy statements around the world as a way of achieving this goal. Various tiers of New Zealand government are following international policy trends, developing programmes, protocols and strategies that promote sustainability and 'good' urban design practices through intensification, or concentration, within urban areas. Research shows that a policy framework of urban concentration, through greater residential density, is only successful where consumers and providers of housing support its practical application. Confrontation between policy and the market, and the acceptability of greater levels of residential density to residents, can jeopardise a policy's success. This research uses a mix of survey and interview techniques to determine the acceptability of "medium density" developments to residents, and to understand the practises and motivations of housing developers in Christchurch's "Living 3" zone. This zone is predominantly sited between the central business district and low-density suburban areas, making it ideally located to facilitate policies of intensification. The principle purpose of the zone is the development of medium-density residential accommodation, however greater residential density is relatively new to Christchurch where the potential for expansion is seemingly unbounded. The intention of this research is to assist the planning, production and performance of future developments. In conclusion, this thesis makes recommendations to improve the form and design of medium density residential developments in Christchurch's inner Living Three zone in terms of the market's producers and consumers.