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Compact urban housing: then and now (Wednesday 5 February, 2014) to be deleted

Come and explore the advantages of compact housing developments to health and well-being in Wellington. Short presentations by housing experts will be complemented by a late morning and afternoon walking tour of historic and current examples of quality social and private housing developments.

We will start the day by setting out the importance of compact cities and quality affordable housing to health, safety, community well-being and climate change. Late morning, we will begin a short walking tour of our surrounds in Newtown, where we will see examples of the first state housing built by the Liberal Government at the turn of the last century. After lunch we will visit three sites of social or affordable housing and hear from those responsible about the building and organisational innovations built into each of these developments.

The first visit will be an example of Wellington Council’s social housing. City Housing is part-way through a major award winning project carried out in financial partnership with central government to refurbish the ten council social housing complexes. We will then visit one of the recently opened community complexes built by the Wellington Community Housing Trust, an exemplar of community social housing.

Our final visit will be to a cluster of modular manufactured housing designed by Living Ark Trust, which provide high-quality, low-cost housing at a fraction of the cost of conventional housing, and the opportunity for ground-breaking economies of scale in housing construction.

We will finish the day by discussing the significance of these examples of social and affordable local housing in terms of innovative and creative models of financing and design, which could provide creative solutions for the current crisis in housing affordability. Our recent book Homes People Can Afford, which builds on these themes, will be provided as part of the course.

Style of course

Short presentations, discussions and walking tour.

Topics covered

  • Housing and urban design
  • Barriers and solutions to development and maintenance of social and affordable housing

Who should attend?

This course will be of interest to architects and developers interested in new innovative designs for community living; community workers who are interested in supporting people’s housing needs; anyone interested in the links between urban living and wellbeing; anyone keen to network with others interested in changing the way we live.

By the end of this course participants should have the knowledge/skills to;

  • Recognise different eras of social and affordable housing
  • Be able to identify the characteristics of well integrated housing, transport and urban design

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
8:30am Registration
9am Introduction Prof Philippa Howden-Chapman & Dr Sarah Bierre
9:10am The local history of affordable housing in Wellington Dr Ben Schrader
9:40am Learning from developments in social and affordable housing in the UK and Australia Alison Cadman
10am Questions and discussion
10:30am Morning tea
11am Walking tour of compact Newtown, old and new government and private sector Dr Ben Schrader
12:15pm Lunch break
1pm Visit to Dwell (formerly Wellington Community Housing Trust) property, Stoke St, Newtown Clare Aspinall
Alison Cadman
2:15pm Afternoon tea
2:45pm Visit to Wellington City Council property Newtown Park, Newtown Sonia Waters
3:30pm Visit to Living Ark Trust properties, Northland John Gray
Ross Whitcher, architects, Living Art Trust
5pm Finish

Teaching staff

Clare Aspinall works for Regional Public Health Wellington, as a Public Health Advisor specialising in housing and homelessness. She obtained a Masters in Public Health studying researching boarding houses in the Wellington Region and is also a registered nurse. Clare is on the board of Dwell (previously Wellington Housing Trust) a community housing provider in the Wellington region, a position she has held for the past five years. She originates from Devon in the UK and before moving to Aotearoa in 2002 worked as a Tuberculosis Nurse Specialist in London.

Sarah Bierre is a Research Fellow with the He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago, Wellington. She has an interest in the functions of the private rental sector in New Zealand and the delivery of affordable housing. She has worked as a Research Fellow or Lecturer in public health research and evaluation for ten years.

Alison Cadman has been the Director of Dwell Housing Trust (formerly Wellington Housing Trust) for 10 years. As Director she is responsible for the day to day management of the Trust and implementing its strategic plan. She is also currently Co-Chair of Community Housing Aotearoa - the peak body organisation for organisations like Dwell. She has previously worked for Housing New Zealand. Alison was awarded a 2013 Winston Churchill Fellowship to look at the growth of not for profit social and affordable housing organisations in Australia and the UK.

John Gray is a retired university lecturer in Architecture from Victoria University, and an architect, urban designer and researcher. In all these fields he is interested in how built environments might better service people; individually, in families and in communities. He is deeply concerned about building for a sustainable future.

philippa howden chapman photoProfessor Philippa Howden-Chapman is a social scientist and director of He Kainga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme and the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities. She is currently chair of the WHO Guideline Group setting International Housing and Health standards and a member of the Children’s Commission Expert Working Group on Solutions to Child Poverty.

Sonia Waters is the Programme Manager of Wellington City Council's Housing Upgrade Programme; a $400m programme spanning 20 years upgrading Council's 2300 housing unit portfolio. Sonia has previous project management experience focusing on civic projects such as the Wellington Railway Station upgrade, Wellington Hospital and Victoria University, which lead her to the upgrade of social housing for Wellington. Her background in architecture gives her a design edge while her focus on data, detail and planning allow her a holistic view of projects. Sonia's passion is in improving the built environment to enhance the lives of the people who live, work or play there. The Housing Upgrade Programme has received many awards for outstanding architecture and building performance.

Ben Schrader is a Wellington public historian who specializes in urban history and the history of the built environment. His publications include We Call It Home: a History of State Housing in New Zealand (Auckland, 2005). He is currently writing a history of city life in New Zealand between 1840 and 1940.

Ross Whitcher is a retired architect and urban designer from a private practice specializing in designing living and community environments. He is a trustee of the Living Ark Trust and has an interest in bringing innovation to housing systems to enable them to be resilient, self-sustaining and affordable, and in the facilitation of micro-community environments.

Course cost

public health summer school registernow

$300 early bird, $400 after 20 December 2013.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

For further information: