Affordability Part 1: Site Matters

Without a doubt, one of the key issues facing Auckland’s growth and sustainability is access to affordable housing. The topic features in the news on a regular basis.

Affordable housing on a brownfield site

Affordable housing on a brownfield site

This article is the first of a three-part series that seeks to explore several key factors contributing to housing affordability, specifically: the site, the building’s design and the procurement process.

In this first instalment, we focus on issues related to the site.

An optimal site for residential development is undeniably flat and stable. These features reduce the cost of earthworks and promote efficient land use. Sites such as these are highly sought after by developers who want to achieve an affordable housing model. The challenge is that available land meeting these criteria is scarce and most likely to be found on the outskirts of Auckland.

Affordable terrace housing at Hobsonville Point

Affordable terrace housing at Hobsonville Point

The affordability challenge is to develop quality, medium-density housing within existing communities and infrastructure, and within a reasonable commuting distance of the city centre.

This largely involves working with brownfield sites, which isn’t without complications – lack of sizeable parcels of land, steep contours, and aging and poorly located infrastructure, to name a few.

Construkt understands these complexities and after years of working with brownfield developments is highly experienced at responding to these challenges. The team is skilled at applying clever design strategies to difficult sites to extract the best from the land available. Indeed, this has been the framework for the successful Northern Glen Innes urban renewal project.

Site layout strategies that contribute to efficient land use include zero lotting, where a home has at least one of its external walls built on the property boundary, terraced housing, allowing a narrow lot size, and positioning houses as close to the front of the sections as possible maximising the rear yard private outdoor living space.

The upshot is that site issues can be overcome with proven design strategies that result in efficient land use leading to more affordable housing.