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Wellington campusTuesday 8 December 2015 9:38am

Philippa Howden-Chapman presenting image
Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman

A new report about the drivers of urban change in New Zealand by the MBIE-funded Resilient Urban Futures Programme has been launched in Parliament by MPs Nicky Wagner and Grant Robertson. The report 'Drivers of Urban Change' brings together the views of key decision-makers and cutting-edge research.

It looks at issues such as compact versus dispersed urban development and infrastructure renewal, resilient transport patterns and healthy, affordable housing.

The editors, Lisa Early, Philippa Howden-Chapman and Marie Russell, drew on interviews with over 90 stakeholders in the policy-making process carried out by Marie Russell and Guy Salmon.

“We looked at how our cities and towns can provide a desirable, prosperous, socially inclusive, healthy and environmentally sustainable way of life,” says Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, Director of the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities hosted by the University of Otago, Wellington.

The report includes the results of a nationwide opinion poll about social attitude to urban issues, covering questions of planning and development in the context of social, demographic and economic trends, and environmental challenges.

“Our cities face common themes and issues, such as environmental challenges, ranging from pollution to water quality and quantity, as well as hazards such as floods and earthquakes, climate change, and how cities aim to achieve resilience and sustainability,” Howden-Chapman says.

The research was funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and focused on five urban centres - Auckland, Hamilton, the Wellington Region (Wellington, Porirua, Upper Hutt, Hutt City, Kapiti Coast), Christchurch and Dunedin. Each of these centres has diverse and specific challenges, and possibly quite different future development trajectories.

“Several cities in our study have a strong local political mandate for a quality, compact city with walkable neighbourhoods and good public transport. Yet there have been difficulties in translating this vision to reality,” she says.

The report looks at progress made and barriers encountered in attempting to implement these changes in our cities.

For more information and a copy of the report, go to

'Drivers of Urban Change', edited by Lisa Early, Philippa Howden-Chapman and Marie Russell, Steele Roberts, Wellington, 2015.

For more information, contact:

Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman
Department of Public Health
University of Otago, Wellington
Mob: 027 220 1620

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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