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City living

Traditionally New Zealanders dreamed of owning a quarter acre section, but a recent survey shows attitudes are changing. We're moving towards mixed-use development where housing is in walking and cycling distance of key amenities like work, school or shopping.

Researchers surveyed 3080 New Zealanders in a horizon poll to find out opinions and preferences for urban environments, including the types and locations of housing, transport options and planning regulations.

The survey is part of a major recent report, “Drivers of Urban Change”, by the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

“Many New Zealanders would still like a large, stand-alone house. But that view changes when people are asked to think about distance from the city or town centre,” say co-authors Anna Hamer-Adams and Ed Randal from the University of Otago, Wellington.

The poll showed that Auckland and Wellington respondents, in particular, were more comfortable with intensification in their neighbourhoods. Those under 25 and over 65 years old were more likely than other age groups to prefer a smaller house, townhouse or apartment in the city/town centre.

Most respondents thought that councils, which represent residents, should play a key role in defining the limits and form of the city, as opposed to market forces.

Kiwis also generally saw the need for sustainability, with 60 per cent saying policies are urgently needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many felt urban limits are necessary so that cities develop more sustainably.

The report is part of the Resilient Urban Futures programme, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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