Wellington Scoop

Architects identify key election issues for sustainable housing

News from Architectural Centre
The Architectural Centre have released their “Manifesto for Housing,” asking the political parties to adopt it in the lead up to the election.

“Our “Manifesto for Housing” succinctly identifies the key issues that need to be addressed for a sustainable housing future in New Zealand. This is not only a matter of supply or demand, but it is also a matter of quality and the design of communities and cities, as well as individual dwellings” said Architectural Centre President, Christine McCarthy.

Design is an important aspect to achieving good housing, but it must also be seen within a wider context of money supply, factors influencing consumer choice, and wider priorities of planning and urban design for our communities and built environment. Issues of residential density, the provision of open space amenity and ensuring resilient infrastructure services – including good access to public transport – are as important as improving the quality and quantity of housing, and reducing the impact of housing on the environment over its lifetime.

The Architectural Centre also challenges others in the built environment sector to adopt the Architectural Centre’s “Manifesto for Housing” or to make public statements about what they see as the priorities for housing for this election. There is a great wealth of experience and expertise in the building, social housing, and urban design sectors which needs to be heard by the public and by politicians.

“Housing is one of the top issues for the election this year and it is important that all of us involved in the building sector publicly engage with this issue with coherent and comprehensive statements” McCarthy said. “While our manifesto makes clear what we consider the priorities in housing to be, this is also a call for a wider public debate from those in the built environment community to proactively engage in the pre-election political discussion.”


The Architectural Centre’s Manifesto for Housing follows their 2006 Manifesto for Architecture. It is currently displayed in an Adshel at Wellington’s bus terminal next to the Wellington Railway Station.

The Centre was formed in Wellington in 1946 and has a long history of advocating for a better built environment. It was recently successful in appealing the de-listing and proposed demolition of the Gordon Wilson Flats, which was until 2012 used as inner-city social housing.

The Architectural Centre “Manifesto for Housing” can also be found at: http://architecture.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/Final_Metrolite_Housing-manifesto.pdf

The 2006 “Manifesto for Architecture” can be found at: http://architecture.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/Architectural-Centre-Manifesto.png

The text of the Manifesto for Housing is:

1. Housing must reduce its environmental impact (Zero emissions architecture is our future)

2. Social housing is core government business (Everyone needs somewhere to live)

3. Good housing looks after people (There is no excuse for cold, damp, unhealthy homes)

4. The cost of housing needs regulation (Easy access to cash fuels market frenzies and unaffordable housing)

5. Quality housing relies on consumers to value good design (Poor design is expensive living)

6. Medium density makes good neighbourhoods (Good architecture builds communities; good infrastructure makes them work)

7. Cities must infill and build up – not out (Urban sprawl creates congestion, eats farmland, and burns oil and infrastructure)

8. High density neighbourhoods must provide good open space amenity (Intensification is living to the max)

9. Good housing developments are inclusive (One size doesn’t fit all)

10. Good housing is well-maintained (Architecture is a long-term relationship)

11. City councils must prioritise housing not car-parking (If we gave away as much free space for people as we do for cars, would there be a housing crisis?)

1 comment:

  1. J, 22. August 2017, 16:31

    I’m impressed. And here I was thinking architects live in the clouds with the uber-wealthy, when actually they see a place for themselves in helping ALL New Zealanders to help themselves find a humane lifestyle. Good on ya.

    I would add, however, that state housing was always about helping shelter people who were always going to be at the tough end of profit-gouging businesses wanting expenses (wages) reduced, reduced, reduced, and with no chance of ever getting a higher wage. Govt must always be in charge of state housing at a societal rent, not a market rent. Private social housing holds another space for people in distress, temporary or otherwise. Being privately owned, moral judgment sometimes rears its ugly head, financial charges can be volatile and often egalitarian belief goes out the window. Think back to early last century to the deserving women and the undeserving women, the deserving poor and the undeserving poor, all morally judged. Govt, i.e. New Zealanders, must always shelter first then set about helping. That’s why both types of housing for New Zealanders is needed, apart from affordable and unaffordable housing to buy.
    Thank you for your post. You can be a beacon to others seeking to judge, as seen so shamefully displayed recently.

    Herman Melville:
    “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”