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Improving the performance of New Zealand's existing houses from the 'middle out'.

PhD candidate

Sally Blackwell-Jaques


Project dates

2014-2019 (part-time)


The way a house is designed and constructed, and the actions and decisions of the people that live in it, determine how well it 'performs'. New Zealand houses typically perform poorly against measures of sustainability with associated social and environmental costs. It is often assumed that social change of the kind required to address this problem comes from the 'top down' (e.g. subsidies, regulation) or the 'bottom up' (e.g. individuals). This project will draw on Janda and Parag's concept of 'middle actors' to explore the concepts of agency and capacity in social change in relation to housing performance in New Zealand's existing housing stock. Better understanding the middle and its relevance to system change would help guide public and private investment to support transitions to better performing housing.
Key reference: Parag, Y., & Janda, K. B. (2014). More than filler: Middle actors and socio-technical change in the energy system from the “middle-out”. Energy Research & Social Science, 3, 102-112. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2014.07.011

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