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James Berghan ProfilePhD (Otago), BSurv(Hons)(Otago), LCS, MNZIS, Assoc.NZPI

Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri

Phone: +64 3 479 9010
Room: Surveying building, 1st floor, Room 127


A past student of the School of Surveying, I joined the staff in 2020 where I research and teach planning, urban design and research methods. My doctoral thesis explores the critical success factors in developing urban papakāinga and cohousing communities as part of the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities National Science Challenge.

I am interested in the interrelationships between people and the built environment, broadly spanning indigenous development, affordable housing, collective housing, hauora, tactical urbanism, streetscapes and active transport.


Research Interests

  • Indigenous development (including papakāinga housing)
  • Cohousing and alternative development models
  • Communal (or socially-based) tenure
  • Urbanism/suburbanism
  • Urban design and public health
  • Active transport

Research Themes

I am also a researcher within the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, Ageing Well, and the Healthier Lives National Science Challenges.


Current Projects

Completed Projects

  • PhD – Ecology of community: Exploring socially-based tenure principles in urban papakāinga and cohousing communities (Supervisors: David Goodwin & Lynette Carter)
  • Rangatahi (Māori youth) housing aspirations - Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge
  • BSurv(Honours) dissertation: Striking a balance: Balancing cultural and productive uses of Māori Freehold Land, 2012 (Supervisors: David Goodwin & Mick Strack)


Current Research Students

  • Nicki Williams (2021 - ). How can gender sensitive transport planning and design improve social equity and community health outcomes? (PhD). Co-supervision with Dr Angela Curl, Associate Professor Lee Thompson and Christina McKerchar (Population Health, University of Otago (Christchurch)).
  • Frances Ifeoma Ukonze (2020 - ). Integrating green infrastructure as an adaptation tool for climate change in sustainable land transport development (PhD). Co-supervision with Dr Gregory Leonard (Surveying)


School of Surveying

  • School of Surveying Postgraduate and Research Committee (2020 – )
  • School of Surveying Research Seminar coordinator (2020 – )
  • School of Surveying Kaiāwhina alternate (2020 – )
  • School of Surveying staff mentor for 300-level students (2020)
  • School of Surveying Marketing Committee (2020 - )

Professional Activities

Awards and Achievements


  • Reviewer for NZ Population Review Journal (2020 - )
  • Reviewer for Land Use Policy Journal (2020 - )
  • Reviewer for Counterfutures Journal (2020 - )



Russell, E., McKerchar, C., Thompson, L., & Berghan, J. (2023). Māori experiences of social housing in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Kōtuitui, 18(4), 352-369. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2023.2180762

Fitt, H., Curl, A., el Orfi, Y., McKerchar, C., Berghan, J., Banwell, K., Dares, C., Russell, E., Coppens, A., … Faber, K. (2022, November). ACTIVATION: Towards equity in transport and transport research. Verbal presentation at the 4th Transport Research Network (TRN) Symposium, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Kingham, S., Fitt, H., Curl, A., Dares, C., Russell, E., McKerchar, C., … Berghan, J., & Williman, J. (2022). Can transport enhance community wellbeing and reduce social inequity in two contrasting communities in Christchurch. Proceedings of the New Zealand Geographical Society (NZGS) Conference. (pp. 57). Retrieved from

Phillips, C., Berghan, J., Clifford, A., Arahanga-Doyle, H., & Totoro, V. (2022). Mauriora and the environment: A Kaupapa Māori exploration of adventure therapy in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 52(Suppl. 1), 144-159. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2022.2139731

Olin, C. V., Berghan, J., Thompson-Fawcett, M., Ivory, V., Witten, K., Howden-Chapman, P., … O'Sullivan, K. C., Keall, M., Ombler, J., & Hinckson, E. (2022). Inclusive and collective urban home spaces: The future of housing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Wellbeing, Space & Society, 3, 100080. doi: 10.1016/j.wss.2022.100080

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