Communication at the heart of Auckland housing issues.
Noah Fagan recently attended the Auckland Housing Summit at the Pullman on the 1st August 2017. Here are his four main takeaways for the industry
The start of August saw a historic event staged in Auckland: The Auckland Housing Summit – seeking change in the housing sector through collective action
The summit brought together Auckland Council members, construction professionals, housing developers, NGO’s, financiers, charities and philanthropists; all to begin to unpick the knotty problem of Auckland’s housing shortage. In a day-long session, using the wealth of combined experience in the room, the housing summit attempted to define Auckland’s housing problem, isolate its source and begin to structure a response. We kept coming back to four main points.
Building houses isn’t solving the problem
Currently, as we are all now aware, Auckland has a housing shortfall of approximately 35,000 dwellings. Wait to 2030 and that figure looks like 130,000; and those houses will be too expensive for many to buy. Just building more houses isn’t actually solving the problem. In many ways, it is making it worse because it draws an even thicker line between the haves and have nots. The construction sector needs to look at what they are building, where they are building it and why.
There isn’t enough data.
We know people need housing – but who are they? How many of them are there? And what is their need? Right now we just don’t know. Before the industry can make any headway into this problem, we need to know how many families are in need, who can and can’t afford a house, and what the housing market wants in terms of end user products. Sense partners and the New Zealand Housing Foundation showed that we know we’re building too many large houses, not providing for smaller households and not supporting the social market.
It’s good to talk
There is an information block in the construction sector. We just aren’t talking to each other effectively. Armed with good data, we need to get together and share knowledge, discuss what the market wants and how we can meet that need. It will take a multi-disciplinary, consortium-based approach to solve this problem, none of us can do it alone.
Following a number of round-table discussions, an answer (of sorts) was suggested: collective action. We need to stop waiting for local and national government to solve this and take the lead.
There is an opportunity in this space; for us all. We need to gather the information, think innovatively, work with government and educate the sector. Industry experts need to take control and develop an innovative, shared approach that is profitable and takes the collective needs of the market into account, not just the individual needs of clients. Only by working together can we secure the sustainability of the housing market in Auckland, and the businesses that rely on it.
As a cross-disciplinary company, comprising of architects, urban designers, engineers, surveyors and infrastructure specialists, Woods is well placed to inform the discussion and provide solutions to this problem we are all facing. We were at the summit because we believe in putting the right people together. We have the expertise in-house to resolve problem sites and great external relationships for a well-rounded team approach to development.