Living at Density in Hobsonville Point, Auckland: Resident Perceptions

Authors: Errol Haarhoff, Natalie Allen, Patricia Austin, Lee Beattie, Paola Boarin



This Working Paper has been produced as part of the National Science Challenge 11 – Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamahorahora. This research sits within the Strategic Research Area (SRA) Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods. Shaping Places
is focused on existing neighbourhoods to develop an understanding of the key principles and processes able to that create more successful future neighbourhoods. Aligned research is being undertaken by researchers based at five New Zealand universities and includes research projects in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and includes three Auckland neighbourhood case studies: Hobsonville Point, Waimahia and Glen Innes/Tamaki.
This Working Paper reports on the case study of Hobsonville Point, in Northwest Auckland – New Zealand’s largest master-planned residential development. From the inception, this was planned to be of higher density when compared to traditional suburban development, and to deliver an
outcome consistent with the development agency aim to build a strong, vibrant community that sets new benchmarks for quality and accessible urban development with an environmentally responsible focus.

Over the past two decades, living at higher density has a number of drivers that includes urban planning for compact development, the efficient use of land, and achieving more sustainable urban forms. There is evidence to show that in Auckland, there is an increasing proportion of attached, and thus higher density, housing being delivered: over half of residential development in Auckland now involves attached housing types such as terraces and apartments. The question raised about this change towards New Zealanders living at higher density, is whether the outcomes will lead to necessary housing satisfaction on the part of residents, and deliver wellbeing? This is particularly of interest where living in lower density suburban housing in the past has been the norm. This working paper presents the findings from one aspect: Residents perceptions of living at higher density in Hobsonville Point. The research collected data in relation to three ways in which living at density is experienced: within the dwelling, within the larger neighbourhoods, and the emergence of a sense of community.