Seed Funded Research Projects

Transforming Cities provided seed funding for groups to develop research collaborations focussed on urban social research, housing research, and urban research.

Children in Rental Housing: examining the relationship between rental housing and children’s health and wellbeing

Principal Investigator

Professor Julie Park
Anthropology

Researchers

  • Dr Kathryn Scott
    Anthropology
  • Patricia Laing
    Housing NZ

This project developed a programme of research on the relationships between rental housing and children’s health and wellbeing. Children’s housing experiences in social and private rental housing are not well understood. We explored the health effects of the quality of housing and the drivers for household crowding to inform policies related to rental housing.

The project commenced with the preparation of reports on children’s housing experiences in South Auckland, Porirua and Christchurch, based on data from Housing NZ’s ‘Housing Pathways’ longitudinal study. This informed the development of a wider research programme on children in rental housing for which external funding was sought. The project created a new partnership between Housing NZ and academic staff in three faculties of the University of Auckland.

Contact

Julie Park
Email: j.park@auckland.ac.nz

Eco Digital Fabrication (EDFAB): Using new technology to design, build and retrofit high-quality affordable housing

Principal Investigator

Dr Dermott McMeel
Architecture and Planning

Researchers

The goal of this research was to investigate the potential of high value manufacturing technologies (e.g., CNC routers, 3D printers) to develop new techniques for 'design to delivery' of new buildings and the renovation and adaptation of existing buildings.

Objectives

  • Improving liveability:
    Low and inconsistent quality buildings are associated with health and wellbeing problems. Manufacturing technologies are proven to deliver high quality products and repeat them consistently but how can they be used to deliver both high quality and unique buildings
  • Improving sustainability:
    How can high quality and accurate automated fabrication deliver higher building performance regarding energy efficiency, material durability and earthquake resilience?
  • Improving productivity:
    Automated fabrication can deliver low-cost kits. How can this method harness social capital and emerging sharing and DIY phenomenon? How will it redefine the urban environment and the design to delivery process?

EDFAB website

Contact

Dermott McMeel
Email: d.mcmeel@auckland.ac.nz

Meeting the housing needs of vulnerable groups in New Zealand

Principal Investigators

Dr Alice Mills
Sociology

Dr Katey Thom
Centre for Mental Health Research, School of Nursing

Dr Claire Meehan

Researchers

  • Dr Jacquie Kidd
    School of Nursing
  • Dr David Newcombe
    Centre for Addiction Studies
  • Dr Deborah Widdowson
    Education

This seeding project facilitated a think-tank on housing for vulnerable populations in New Zealand. It brought together an interdisciplinary network of interested stakeholders to workshop what provision currently exists for vulnerable groups, identify examples of best-practice approaches, and areas in need of further research.

The research involved cross-Faculty collaboration between the Centre for Mental Health Research, the Centre for Addictions Research and the Centre for Child and Family Research. The workshops enabled nation-wide networking on the topic and assisted the University-based team to identify future studies grounded in the needs of vulnerable populations.

Contact

Alice Mills
Email:
a.mills@auckland.ac.nz

Urban food networks in Auckland

Principal Investigator

Dr Ann E. Bartos
School of Environment

Researcher

  • Prof John Morgan
    Education

Cities around the world are responding to large-scale shifts in food politics. While modern cities are regarded as places where most food consumption occurs, cities are increasingly sites where new practices of food politics are enacted. From the development of Food Policy Councils, to the flourishing community garden movements, these new food politics are rooted in social, ethical, and environmental concerns resulting from a resistance to the global agricultural model of food production and consumption. There is a global interest in understanding, developing, and extending these alternative food networks. Within Auckland, alternative food networks are beginning to become established through Council and local grassroots initiatives. This project aimed to establish a network of researchers and practitioners who are involved in both the investigation and production of alternatives to global agriculture. We hosted workshops to build these networks in an effort to establish Auckland as a case study for further research into alternatives to global agriculture, the possibilities of urban agriculture, and Auckland’s food futures.

Contact

Annie Bartos
Email:
a.bartos@auckland.ac.nz

The liveable university

Principal Investigator

Dr Stephen Turner
English

Researchers

This project investigated the university as a microcosm, test case and demonstration of a liveable city (Universitas 21 Statement on Sustainability). In the context of Auckland City’s Learning Quarter and Auckland Plans, we consider the university’s potential to be socially responsible, pro-creative and sustainable, and thus liveable. Our working assumption is that engagement, equity and access are prerequisite to the university and must be reflected in its form as much as in its processes. Liveability thus addresses the university as ecology, that is, as an intelligent system that works – or ought to work – for the flourishing of people and the nourishing of place.

Goals

  • To build relationships with institutes and individuals concerned with sustainable urban environments elsewhere
  • To develop workshops and an interactive exhibition/symposium that engage the university community (staff, students, campus workers, alumni and public) in games of social value
  • To construct research applications to local and international funding agencies to further develop the idea of the liveable university

Contact

Stephen Turner
Email:
sf.turner@auckland.ac.nz

Pacific climate change migration: policy and planning responses within Australia and New Zealand

Principal Investigators

Dr Anita Lacey
Political Studies

Professor Dory Reeves
Planning

This project aimed to examine what is unique about Pacific climate change migrants; what are the key gender issues faced; and, how planning and policy should respond accordingly. Issues of social infrastructure and housing, land and livelihoods, traditional and urban food sources, citizenship and sovereignty, and gender, will be of focus. There is currently a lack of knowledge about how host countries and cities can respond to climate migrants and what their specific needs are. We aim to develop policy and planning frameworks that address intersecting issues of gendered well-being, settlement and rights and create sustainable solutions to post-migration settlement. This research aimed to form the basis of a future application to the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).

Contact

Anita Lacey
Email:
a.lacey@auckland.ac.nz

Urban waterfront regeneration, morphological processes and performance-based planning: strengthening research and practice

Principal Investigator

Dr Kai Gu
Planning

Researcher

  • Dr Manfredo Manfredini
    Architecture

Urban waterfronts in most parts of the world are changing at an unprecedented pace. This project examined the morphological process and dynamics of the waterfront landscape in central Auckland. Drawing on the previous research and practice, it aimed to contribute to the search for sustainable waterfront regeneration in the context of neo-liberal planning.

Contact

Kai Gu
Email:
k.gu@auckland.ac.nz

New Geographies of Work: scoping Auckland’s functional Labour Market Areas

Principal Investigator

Dr Kellie McNeill
Sociology

Researchers

  • Dr Patrick Barrett
    Political Science and Public Policy, Waikato University
  • Prof Sholeh Maani
    Economics

Although ‘the labour market’ is often conceptualised as a singular artefact, commute-to-work data provides an alternative basis for understanding the spatial relationships between where people live and work, and for thinking about the characteristics of labour markets in a plural sense. This project responded to the dynamism of contemporary urban labour markets in the Auckland region. It aimed to generate new ways of thinking about the implementation of economic and social development initiatives utilising functional – rather than administrative – area boundaries.

The project aimed to establish a highly skilled multi-disciplinary network of researchers from the University of Auckland and beyond.

Contact

Kellie McNeill
Email:
 k.mcneill@auckland.ac.nz

Imagining water sustainability

Principal Investigator

Dr Alys Longley
Dance

Researchers

  • Sasha Matthewman
    Education
  • Dr Charlotte Sunde
    Transforming Cities
  • Dr Karen Fisher
    School of Environment

Imagining water sustainability developed interactive art-science installations and workshops for schools, connecting important research in water sustainability to specific Auckland communities. It explored qualitative research methods framed by an ecological paradigm focused on biotic rights. Central to this research was interactivity between academics and community members through processes of listening, sharing, imagining, dialoguing and participating. In the long term we aimed to develop innovative qualitative research methodologies and to tour the project to communities across Auckland.

Contact

Alys Longley
Email:
a.longley@auckland.ac.nz

Seeing the wood for the trees: Exploring variability in the valuing of trees and biodiversity in a transforming Auckland

Principal Investigator

Dr Margaret Stanley
School of Biological Sciences

Researchers

  • Prof Robin Kearns
    School of Environment
  • Alison Greenaway (Alison Greenaway's staff details)
    Landcare
  • Prof Karen Witten
    Massey University, SHORE
  • Penny Cliffin
    Unitec

This project brought together ecologists and social scientists in a research collaboration that attempted to understand what value people place on trees and biodiversity in Auckland, given its impending transformation under the Unitary Plan. Specifically, we sought to understand why trees are protected to a greater extent in some suburbs of Auckland than others.

Contact

Margaret Stanley
Email: mc.stanley@auckland.ac.nz

The urban/digital nexus: Participation, belonging and social media in Auckland

Principal Investigator

Dr Jay Marlowe (Jay Marlowe's staff directory)
School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work

Researchers

This mixed method project explored the use of social media and other forms of information communication technologies by refugee and other diasporic communities who are at once both ‘connected/mobile and emplaced/embodied’. This information was used to map and assess the extent to which digital participation and networking supports and enhances social participation and social cohesion in urban settings.

Contact

Jay Marlowe
Email:
jm.marlowe@auckland.ac.nz

Establishing the ways public art can achieve transformative social outcomes in New Zealand cities

Principal Investigator

Assoc Prof Derrick Cherrie
Elam, School of Fine Arts

Researchers

Contact

Derrick Cherrie
Email: d.cherrie@auckland.ac.nz