Best practice in medium density housing design

for Housing New Zealand Corporation

A report on

Best practice in medium density housing design

Housing New Zealand Corporation
September 2004

David Turner John Hewitt Cesar Wagner Bin Su Kathryn Davies


Harbour View. Waitakere City (15) Rowena Crescent. Waitakere City (11) Oates Road. East Tamaki. Ambrico Place. Waitakere City (12) Mt Taylor Drive. Auckland City (16) Tuscany Way. Glendowie. Harbour View. and Attitudes Towards Residential Density Literature Review New Zealand Australia North America United Kingdom Summary and Conclusions A New Zealand Definition of Medium Density Housing Introduction Density Density and Privacy Security and Privacy Car Parking and Storage External Style Summary Case Studies: Methodology and Criteria Introduction Methodology Site Selection Location Multi-development Sites Methodology Topographical Criteria Value and House Types Refuse Collection Washing/drying Arrangements Case Studies Case Study Conventions Case Study Data Case Study Evaluation Glossary (1) Vinograd Mews. Auckland City (13) St George’s Terrace. Waitakere City (5) Fairhaven. Pennant Hills Road.i Contents Executive Summary Summary of Conclusions Introduction 1 5 Context and Research Aims Legislative Background of Medium Density Housing in New Zealand. Harbour View. Botany Downs. New Lynn. Glendowie (Project). Auckland City (14) Gunner Drive. Sunnyvale. Glendowie. Waitakere City (10) Arawa Street. Glen Eden. Waitakere City (4) Corban Village. Sydney 31 11 21 39 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 . Waitakere City (9) Albion Vale. New Lynn. Glen Eden. Manukau City (3) Seymour Road. Waitakere City (17) Sacramento 1A. New Lynn. Waitakere City (8) Melview. Waitakere City (6) Romola Street. Auckland City (7) Tuscany Towers. Avondale. Sunnyvale. Ambrico Place. Henderson. Manukau City (18) Oatlands Development. Waitakere City (2) Adelphi Villas.

Avondale (Project). North Shore City (21) Bush Road. Sydney (20) Carolina Place.. Auckland City (29) 2 Ambrico Place. Mt Eden. Waitakere City (33) Keeling Road. Auckland City (27) Sacramento 1B. Macquarie Park. Auckland City (32) Krisley Court. Mount Albert. New Lynn. JBA Urban Planning Consultants Pty Ltd. Manukau City (28) Hillsborough Road. Balmain. . North Shore City (31) Galway Street.ii Best practice in medium density housing design (19) Fontenoy Road. for supply of data material. Sydney (26) Beaumont Quarter. Henderson. The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Cook Sargisson Pirie. (Sydney) and Architectus Ltd. The views contained in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Housing New Zealand Corporation. New Lynn. Brisbane (24) Soljak Place. North Shore City (22) Holly Street. All photographs and drawings used in the report were produced by David Turner and Cesar Wagner. Waitakere City (34) Eden 1. Ambrico Place. Auckland City (23) Cottontree. East Tamaki. Waitakere City (30) Mokoia Road. Albany. Albany. Onehunga. Auckland City Case Studies Data Table Discussion and Conclusions Introduction Density and Layout Type Summary Vehicle Planning and Parking Mixed Development and Internal Design Further Research References General Media References Appendix A Local Authority Intensive Housing Policies in Metropolitan Auckland North Shore City Council Manukau City Council Auckland City Council Waitakere City Council 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 77 79 87 95 Acknowledgements The report was commissioned by the Research and Evaluation Team of Housing New Zealand Corporation and was prepared by the Housing Research Group of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Unitec New Zealand. Architects. Lynfield. Auckland City (25) Ewenton St. unless otherwise indicated. Birkenhead.

Executive Summary .

interface with the public domain. The literature on medium density housing and the case studies reviewed in this report indicate that: Ÿ density ceilings can be identified for different layouts (defined primarily by types of car parking provision). and refuse collection. security. including the mix of house types. car parking. privacy. Ÿ development values will be retained or improved at higher densities if design techniques are sophisticated. Ÿ extra development costs of higher density can be recovered by better unit values if design improvements are made. appearance (style). The conclusions listed below are based on three premises: (i) Medium density housing has developed in the last decade as a common housing typology. Ÿ the need for developers and designers to acknowledge that one 'highvalue' compromise often reduces the quality of the whole living environment for all units. site specifics (e. along with a notably more 2. (ii) Research and literature on medium density housing in New Zealand is very limited in scope. neighbourhood character. Ÿ no single design factor determines best practice. landscaping. house sizes. and quantity. lacks any clear definition or preferred model. . but is not foreign to the urban culture of New Zealand. within a development. refers to a mix of house types. low maintenance. 4. Ÿ the most successful developments take detailed account of all design issues. This is a consequence of building at higher density levels (than traditional suburban housing) while seeking to address multiple objectives. The case studies in this report are mainly private sector schemes that reflect a desire for commercial certainty of outcome. (iii) Planning strategies to consolidate urban growth pre–suppose a higher density housing form that. as illustrated in the case studies reviewed. quality. 3. A review of the literature indicates that: Ÿ there are numerous ways of calculating density. with few developments catering for a housing mix. Ÿ good design becomes critical above a density threshold of approximately 30 dwellings per hectare. the trade-offs that occur between different objectives can be located on a density scale. interface with the public domain. including the intended resident mix. Medium density housing invariably involves a degree of compromise. topography). privacy. Summary of Conclusions 1. However. at this stage. and tenure-types (owner-occupiers and rental). in this report. security. car access. and the term medium density housing refers to different density ranges in different jurisdictions.2 Best practice in medium density housing design MEDIUM DENSITY HOUSING: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This study identifies the characteristics and potential of medium density housing as a typology suitable for affordable urban development in the New Zealand context. the literature review suggests that where a broader strategy has influenced design a more mixed development has been achieved. Housing Mix: mix. and construction costs.g.

g. both inside the house and in the site layouts. and that the challenges of changing urban lifestyles. Public acceptance of medium density housing is affected by location. as needs change over time. The study observes that traditional housing forms are widely re-employed in New Zealand in modified forms and in compacted versions. Ÿ a wider variety of activities to be more readily undertaken (e. and tenure types makes an important contribution to the success of many medium density developments. including the medium density category. and increasingly. home-based employment). 6. Best practices in other comparable countries have developed house types and layouts specifically suited to medium density housing. legibility. Medium density housing in New Zealand needs to identify with the local traditions of domestic design (while avoiding a 'compacted suburbia' approach) and at the same time establish its own language without reference to imported 'style' and expression. Future medium density housing should avoid a 'compacted suburbia' approach and consider the development of climate-responsive. Victoria. and compatibility within a given neighbourhood. character. and environmental conditions cannot be adequately met by this 'compacted suburbia' approach. the United States. New projects could follow the recommendations of Australian researchers to select architects by reputation and design skill. Public and neighbourhood expectations of new schemes include their ability to offer economic and social integration. could impact on design in all housing forms.g. up to identifiable density 'ceilings'. adaptable house types. The principles of high quality urban design could be applied 9. at all levels of density A review of the literature suggests that a carefully considered mix of house types. including rear access layouts. house sizes. 8. In addition to the above: 7. in many new developments. Many contemporary medium density developments demonstrate that a wide variety of styles can contribute to the critical strategy of disguising the differences between medium density housing and traditional lower density suburban housing. The trend towards more flexible living space in new housing. The recognition of the relevance of urban design principles (e. seen in private sector developments. and Australia as a key factor in increasing the degree of public acceptance of medium density housing. 5. socially active community. as already occurs in New South Wales. . and design. adaptability) in the design of the best examples of medium density housing is established in the literature. More flexible internal space facilitates: Ÿ occupation by more varied forms of family and household composition. demographic shifts.Executive Summary 3 diverse. the external style of medium density housing is a significant factor in creating both identity. It is considered that quality medium density housing environments cannot be achieved by this strategy. Good design quality has been identified in Britain. and courtyard types. Design: In New Zealand. in other centres.

Medium density housing in New Zealand is capable of providing residential environments of excellent quality. In future. As a housing type.4 Best practice in medium density housing design more positively in the medium density typology. increase public acceptability of more intensive housing. . it can be designed to achieve affordable and sustainable buildings and communities. privacy. proximity to private vehicles. Improvements in the design of medium density housing can enhance the quality of life for residents. and contribute to the building of more sustainable communities. and earlier. and ground level external private space. in line with urban initiatives currently being considered in New Zealand and overseas. security. evidenced by schemes developed in other countries in the 1970s and 1980s. In the best models it offers identity. increasing numbers of New Zealanders will live in medium density housing. 10.

1 Introduction Context and Research Aims .

Similar policies to impose spatial limits on suburban growth are established in countries comparable to New Zealand. Australia. and produce sustainable urban environments. In many other countries.6 Best practice in medium density housing design INTRODUCTION Context and Research Aims The purpose of this report is to examine medium density housing as a typology to determine best practice in design for an affordable and durable model for New Zealand urban conditions. or evolved. and student accommodation. to meet the needs of many sectors of the urban community. special housing for the elderly. including Canada. in Wellington. where supporting material relevant to the project is included. particularly in the private sector. and the USA. is not new. The analysis is summarised by a data chart providing an overview of quantifiable material collated from case studies. including the1970 Pitarua Court development. 1951) specified as an objective the need “to provide a means of checking the tendency towards uneconomic and unsatisfactory sprawling development. The conclusions drawn from this are set out in Section 6. 1958) attempted to foster . and provide evidence of New Zealand’s capacity to experiment with different housing models. as well as the problems of evolution. The report is presented as an extended summary of research into the relevant context and literature. supporting the theory that compact urban morphologies can and do achieve growth through higher densities. the Outline Development Plan for Auckland (Auckland Metropolitan Planning Organisation. without supplying a clear variation identifiably ‘of New Zealand’ in the medium density typology. Auckland’s first comprehensive town planning proposals. and Attitudes Towards Residential Density The debate concerning Auckland’s urban form. Legislative Background of Medium Density Housing in New Zealand. planning strategies to intensify cities have been widely adopted in international practice. The report focuses on medium density housing in the Auckland region but has wider relevance for other New Zealand urban areas undergoing intensification. there are now many recent medium density housing developments. These strategies reverse longstanding preferences for suburban expansion at low density. As part of this process. urban planning in New Zealand has moved towards growth policies that seek to consolidate city development in all the main centres.” The Auckland City Council’s first operative District Planning Scheme (Auckland City Council. followed by a description of the case study-based methodology for the critique and analysis of recent medium density examples in the Auckland area. and particularly its low–density ‘sprawl’. by Peter Beavan. medium density housing has been recognised as a form of housing with definitive characteristics. These may be regarded as prototypes in the genre. Each section of the report is supplemented by endnotes. A study of New Zealand housing in the period between 1960–1990 reveals a small number of examples. Underlying the intensification policies now in place in New Zealand is the assumption that a relevant higher density housing typology can be designed. and offered as an alternative residential form to low density suburban development. that demonstrate the potential. There are also examples of medium density housing developments in the supply of affordable housing. in an unfamiliar typology. In the period from 1990 to the present. Although not without opposition.” It also noted that “if a satisfactory urban structure is to be developed… various forms of residential development will have to be considered.

they represent much research effort. Subdivision standards. these often illustrating regional and local variations. 1968).” and “Medium density housing types should be designed and built comprehensively and where at all possible permit separate legal title after development. including the City of Auckland District Scheme (Auckland City 5 Council.” Similar sentiments were espoused in the conclusions of the preliminary report into housing. Together. setbacks and height to boundary dimensions. Conversely.Introduction 7 such variety through the use of residential 1 zoning. new concepts of housing and comprehensive developments where a number of different types of residential buildings are located in a well planned relationship to one another and to the adjoining development. One such is the ‘sausage’ flat block.” Since the reorganisation of Local Government in 1989 and the replacement of planning legislation by the Resource Management Act in 1991 the four new cities of the Auckland region have developed their own coordinated District Plans. have also recognised the need for higher density housing design to be regulated separately from subdivision rules. with regulations controlling design decisions concerning site coverage. and of the existence of a causal link between increased density and decreased 3 environmental standards. the proponents of urban intensification use the concept of density as a readily identifiable criterion of ‘good quality’ urban environments. The District Plans in all cases are reinforced by Design Guides advising developers and designers on a variety of ‘best practice’ solutions to an unfamiliar typology. Such attitudes. In the most recent editions. as the 1991 Act requires. and at the same time engage with matters relating to sustainability. particularly Christchurch and Wellington. produced as a part of the Regional Master Plan by the Auckland Regional 6 Authority (1967): “Higher density housing types should be located: within or near main commercial centres…” “Subdivisional standards for a variety of residential zones should be formulated to permit the provision of a greater range of housing types of suitable design. increasing maximum density controls in order to stimulate innovative approaches to housing design has. and associated in the 2 public mind with increased density.7 Other cities in New Zealand. single storey cottages at approximately 40 dwellings per hectare. abbreviated to “dph” in this report) reinforce the public (mis)conception of what constitutes medium and high density development. been largely unsuccessful. and provide an effective platform for the generality of new medium density housing. have stifled much creative endeavour and favoured the development of ‘standard solutions’. with low density signalling an unsustainable design 4 approach. these each address the issue of higher density housing. The various District Plan sections relevant to this report are summarised in Appendix A. In addition. in the Auckland area. which notes that: “New concepts of residential design will be encouraged. However. . recognition of the interrelationship between housing density and urban design is evident in local town planning literature.g. e. together with the folk–memory of the ‘slums’ in Newton Gully (5 room. introduced in the 1960s.

2004)).) At the 1821 figure of 5. Hutt and Wellington. This net housing shortage was attributed to the fact that “we have few if any examples of satisfactorily and 2 5 3 . 1976) notes that the construction of such blocks has contributed to an increase in net residential density from 10–15 dph in 1956 to 25–35 dph in 1976. (The occupancy rate has since declined to 2. 1951). the report suggested that the optimum range of net residential density is 100–225 persons per hectare.75 persons per dwelling this equals 300 dwellings per hectare (although contemporary reports of overcrowding may equate this figure with that for habitable rooms). It should be noted. in terms of land conservation. The Garden Cities of the early twentieth century. Albert) Borough Council was to seek to reduce the maximum permitted residential density (Auckland Regional Authority. 65dph and 130 dph respectively. where. Nonetheless. This concern with the urban design implications of Auckland’s ubiquitous low density sprawl is a restatement of previous planning policies. with an average family size of 4. associated in the public mind with the ‘ideal’ of low–density living are. A study of housing density in the Auckland suburb of Sandringham (Auckland Regional Authority. at a net residential density of 218 persons per hectare—at 1900 figures of 5. (Muthesius notes that this is only half of the density of Berlin’s city blocks of the same period. and of these 62% were in the five largest urban areas—Auckland. 1982). 63% of New Zealand’s inhabitants lived in its cities and towns. It also notes that the response of the (Mt.000. which recommended net residential densities of 250–500 persons per hectare for improved post–war living standards.8 persons per dwelling this produces 33 dwellings per hectare (dph). London’s late nineteenth century outer–urban suburbs were built at net densities of 150–500 persons per hectare (Muthesius.38 p/d this provides figures of 28–93 dph. and that the District Scheme stated that “it is unlikely…that this site density will be reached on more than a small proportion of the total number of available residential sites” (Auckland City Council.20 persons per dwelling producing 42 dph (Tetlow & Goss. “moderate increases in density achieved by the provision of a variety of dwelling types would be most economic…” (Auckland Regional Authority. falls within the definition of low density at under 54 persons per hectare net. the figures show a marked correspondence with those proposed in Sir Patrick Abercrombie’s County of London Plan of 1944. that the lower density zone B accounted for 3611 of the 3963 hectares. just 86 years after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. 4 The Auckland Regional Authority’s Planning Division (1967) stated that “present uneconomic densities of up to 50–60 persons per hectare cannot be sustained. 1982). however. and zone D only 38 hectares (with the Freeman’s Bay Transitional Zone occupying the remaining 86 hectares).” Noting that Auckland’s density. Despite a popular conception of New Zealand as a recently urbanised society. and flexibility and variety.8 Best practice in medium density housing design ENDNOTES 1 Residential zones covered 3963 hectares (almost 90% of the zoned area of the city) and were categorised in terms of site density as Residential B (125 persons per hectare). 1976). 1958). notes that “as long ago as 1926.2 persons and 92 dwellings per 100 families (Auckland Metropolitan Planning Organisation. Christchurch. 1967).8 persons per dwelling in 2003 (Statistics New Zealand. and Residential D (500 persons per hectare). capital cost. outdoor living and it is apparent that many potential occupiers of medium density housing are rejecting this type of development because of this deficiency” (Medium density housing was defined for this report as 25–40 dph). The image of the British slums that the early European settlers wished to avoid recreating may be exemplified by the Liverpool ‘courts’ (mainly back–to–back and basement dwellings) of the early nineteenth century. Dunedin. but that “the type of multi–unit development in the area rejects the value of open. Johnston (1973). Residential C (250 persons per hectare).” Figures for the Auckland urban area in 1926 show a population of 192. at 1881 figures of 5. which reached a net residential density of 1730 persons per hectare (Muthesius. 1965)— directly comparable with the ‘high–density slums’ of Newton. zone C 228 hectares. “in all sections of the city”. and in fact do not produce the choice either of housing type or environment demanded by a large and complex urban society. and indicate that both the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Metropolitan Planning Organisation (who acknowledged their debt to Abercrombie in the formulation of their proposals for ‘flexible zoning’) were well aware of international trends. At the 1956 figure of 3.

rather than density. developers. 2001).” Thus. planners. is the predominant factor in maintaining amenity for both residents of a development and its neighbours” (Auckland City Council.e. . Therefore the higher residential densities will be located near these centres where services may be most conveniently obtained.” Auckland City Council. 2001 The focus of SGMAs is generally beyond the levels of density covered in this study. public and its elected representatives.” “A greater variety of housing is needed…” “The provision of this greater variety will result in land savings. 6 Further extracts from this document include: “Residential development will be closely related to the availability and most efficient use of public services and facilities…” “The urban and suburban commercial centres will contain the most widely used services. This time. 1967 7 A clear pattern may be seen to emerge from the above synopsis: of repeated attempts by local planners to instil what they consider to be essential urban qualities into the amorphous urban mass of Auckland. and the publication of The Residential Design Guide for Developments in Residential Zones in Strategic Growth Management Areas (Auckland City Council. it has been recognised that “all types of residential development have their place in a large modern urban structure…” (Auckland Metropolitan Planning Organisation. builders and managers—are currently espousing the added–value of design. due to the consequent increase in overall density…” “The variety of housing needed can be met with predominantly low rise construction (i. resulting in “a large percentage of the area being developed for streets with monotonous similarity in the form of development. however.Introduction 9 comprehensively designed housing schemes other than those incorporating single unit house development for three or more persons”. fundamental significance. 1951). up to 4 storeys. “The Residential Design Guide is a statement of what is considered to be good urban design practice… (and)…has been introduced to promote and encourage well designed residential developments within SGMAs.” “Residential development will be diversified to provide for a wide range of different kinds of housing and physical groupings to meet the varying needs of the community. from the time of the first attempts to develop comprehensive town planning guidelines for Auckland’s projected growth. and of variety and flexibility in living environments made possible through residential intensification. only to be repeatedly rebuffed by an at best apathetic. After a half–century of reiterating the advantages of vibrant urban and suburban centres. 2001) has. however. All members of the local building culture— clients. designers. the familiar promotion of “sustainable urban environments which provide opportunities for medium to high density housing within walking distance of town centres…” coincides with an increase in the status of urban design.)” Auckland Regional Authority. and at worst antipathetic. the recent inclusion of the Residential 8 Zone (Strategic Growth Management Areas) in the Auckland City District Plan is receiving a predictable public response. is a well– timed and executed addition to the Council’s range of persuasive powers. The acknowledgement that “design quality.


2 Literature Review .

After recognising the universal problem of assembling sites for larger developments. to contain future population growth in an intensified urban form. Perkins and Moore. while the community wants a good relationship to the street. There is evidence from these studies that a perception of impending ‘slums’ is normal in public attitudes. 2000) identifies the principal demographic trends in New Zealand as far as they affect the issue of affordability. and policy publications. and is summarised on a country by country basis. rather than independent households. and that the most effective process for intensification involves housing development on a reasonably large scale to ‘provide a sense of community for residents’ (Auckland Regional Council.consolidated urban living is not presenting them [residents of medium density housing] with any benefits …” (p43) Vallance.. 2002 The Briefing Paper to the Auckland Regional Council Forum on Affordable Housing (Portal Consulting. Recent research relevant to this report includes studies conducted by the 1 Auckland Regional Council.figures imply that peri-urban. and in the Auckland region particularly. the Auckland Regional Council’s urban design review goes on to identify the standard lot dimensions in Auckland (based on the 55m x 18m quarter acre section) as one of the impediments to higher density devel2 opment. It is not always possible to design a solution that overcomes all these trade–offs. 2002) generally confirms the widely–held attitude of the New Zealand public to medium density housing.. 2000a p21 The report to the Christchurch City Council entitled The Effects of Infill Housing on Neighbours in Christchurch (Vallance.. The developer wants density. design literature. Perkins and Moore. The material covered includes social studies.. The quality of the built environment in medium density housing is discussed in the context of the large-scale development at Ambrico Place. “A further barrier to good design is that in many cases rules and procedures developed for traditional low density housing are now being applied to medium density developments. Statements reflect much of the social research in the field: “Over two-thirds also believed that infill housing would bring social problems later. New Zealand: A Challenge for New Urbanism” (Dixon & Dupuis. This study is a rare example of social and physical planning research conducted in the field. The paper considers the relationship of the strategic planning systems that provide the legislative . 2003). 2000a p12).” (p5) “. and the impact of Asian immi3 gration during the 1990s. the resident wants a good view and aspect.. New Zealand Medium density housing is a product of the strategic planning policies in place in most New Zealand cities.” Auckland Regional Council. which tend “to be embedded within an extended family household”. in New Lynn. the neighbour wants privacy..intensive developments involve a number of trade–offs. These include the growth of sole–parent families.12 Best practice in medium density housing design LITERATURE REVIEW The literature review in this section is selective. in “Urban Intensification in Auckland.” and “. low density development is still the popular choice …” (p9) “. the trend in Auckland towards middle–class couples delaying family formation.

to achieve integration in neighbourhoods. which can affect security of settlement. “Dense City: The Incredible Shrinking Section”. 29. which did not make public the whole strategy for the development of the scheme. The New Zealand literature reviewed also includes reference to regular features on medium density housing in the general print media. for instance. ‘ghettos’. to suit social habits. In the area of physical planning it comments on the impact of New Urbanism in this housing typology. and to be responsive to cultural and age–related issues. with almost all respondents saying that privacy was important to them and more than four-fifths reporting that their indoor space was private. The Ambrico Place development is the subject of four case studies in Section 5 of this report: numbers 7. in a study of approximately one-fifth of the Ambrico Place households. and 32. (Metro. in part a discussion of the trend towards gated communities. Literature from 1975 to the present has The residents were more critical. avoiding at the same time the penalties associated with higher building costs. and its relationship to layout. In broad terms. and magazines such as Metro and North & South. public concerns about ‘slums’. Typical of such journalism is the feature article “Security Issues” by Bob Dey (Metro. These publications normally engage expert opinion in their feature articles. published for internal use. and by the same journalist. reservations felt by developers about the three storey townhouse model which in one project has been modified (by raising the rear patio level to the first floor) to enable direct access to the space for barbeque use. the Dominion Post. particularly the New Zealand Herald. however. for instance. and the social and community effects. An important factor in the typology is the choice of house type. Australia Medium density housing is a common form of urban housing in Australia. Useful insights and comment are often found in this material. The Auckland Regional Affordable Housing Strategy (Regional Growth Forum. Contributions to the debate in the print media frequently take the form of detailed. the development is regarded as a success by its residents: “There were high levels of satisfaction with privacy. The characteristics of occupancy of medium density housing (high levels of tenanted property. 2003 selection along with good practice for site layout design. edited summaries of reports of Council deliberations on changes to development policy. and is described further in Endnotes to Section 4. In others. November 2003). 8. At different densities this decision becomes a critical indicator of the residential environment. the Report to the Auckland City Council on proposed Residential 8 Zone changes.” Dixon & Dupuis. The impact of views expressed in newspaper and magazine journalism is considered to have significant influence on public attitudes to intensification. reviewing declining lot sizes in Manukau City. 2003) emphasises the need for affordable higher density housing to achieve high standards of design. of the planning process. deals with house type .Literature Review 13 framework for medium density housing. and the Christchurch Press newspapers. The HNZC Housing Design Guide (undated). May 2003). and similar supposed consequences of intensification are discussed. and relatively high percentages of recent immigrant families) are confirmed in this study. using examples from the history of urban housing to reinforce the principles discussed.

others discuss the process of development. dwelling layout. The study Medium Density Housing 1990 (Victorian Department of Planning and Urban Growth. which needs to “give rental housing some of the external trappings of owner–occupied housing. A second Australian review. some freedom to personalise. Prasad and Ballinger. 1996) is a comprehensive summary of good housing layout planning principles with sustainability. Byrne’s comments on the public sector deal with the social. the better the yield.” He observes that: “The narrower the (street) frontage. and practical house types for the genre. economic. Evolution of an urban Five detailed case study examples are used to illustrate public sector housing at densities between 26 and 83 dph (dwellings per hectare). Professional journals also feature medium density housing developments at regular intervals. for more than a decade. Judd identifies key design issues as follows: urban and neighbourhood design. Rudder. Following the Victorian Code for Urban Residential Design (Victoria Department of Planning and Housing. 1992) more recent publications refer to the above texts as primary sources for medium density housing design. urban design. security. environmental fit. and political issues. been controlled by the Australian Model for Residential Development (AMCORD). and a section dealing with community attitudes.” Byrne. Included in the recommendations are recognition of the potential of the typology in terms of sustainability. Site Planning in Australia (King. at densities ranging from 20dph to 67dph. and higher density housing as a focus. but potentially the greater the problems of noise interaction and privacy invasion. and marketability. effective management systems. privacy. pedestrian access and way–finding. published in 4 1990. The text relates to housing design in the Commonwealth of Australia (rather than a particular State) which has. in Judd & Dean. based on experience in South Australia. Designed for Urban Living (Judd. and the Residential Flat Design Code (2002). Woolongong. 1993) extended the relevant design area to include environmental issues. none over 26dph. illustrating developments that represent good practice in the period up to 1993. coverage of consumer and neighbourhood attitudes is valuable. and revised in 1995. such as territorial control. vehicular access and parking. in Judd & Dean 1983 p99 Designed for Urban Living includes 21 case studies from all the principal Australian urban centres. and other urban centres in New South Wales. Residential Flat Design Pattern Book (2001). 1990) includes nine examples of lower density range developments. and all drawn from the private housing sector. 1983) is a general description of the typology. These include the New South Wales Urban Design Advisory Service handbooks Better Urban Living (1998). however. identity. 1992. climate control and energy conservation. 1983 p68). parts of this text present the case for medium density housing as a solution to urban housing in general (Newman.14 Best practice in medium density housing design documented the evolution of the typology in detail. as well as design. The objective in this study was to address the issues of declining interest in Melbourne in medium density housing as a choice for buyers and developers. Medium Density Housing in Australia (Judd & Dean. ecologically sustainable design. and affordability. Residential Densities (1998). between them providing the platform for all new medium and higher density development in Sydney. and indeed the ability to purchase. . This comprehensive study includes a summary by John Byrne of medium density housing in the public sector.

domesticity. housing design in North America has acknowledged the parallel needs of containing ‘sprawl’. with emphasis on children. as well as development process and building costs. generally apartments. The focus of the New South Wales Residential Flat Design Code. site planning. height.Literature Review 15 housing typology in Melbourne and Sydney has seen a shift to densities higher than those in the range considered in this report. and has applications in the New Zealand context for the Residential 8 Zone category of the Auckland City Council’s planning document. and side and rear setbacks are of equal importance in the design and control process to the Floor Space Ratio. 1999). 1983) and Housing as if People Mattered (Marcus & Sarkissian. 2000 p2). In the development of higher density housing. parking. Two further texts are significant contributors to the literature: The Medium Density Housing Kit (Marcus & Sarkissian. and reviews the principal issues of parking. and Perth) low rise housing at medium density continues to be the preferred form. Mumford. Density by Design (Fader. 2000) is the second publication by the Urban Land 5 Institute of America under this title. in particular. In other cities (Adelaide. Fader identifies the issue of ‘urban liveability’ as a key element in urban housing. The paper concludes: “There is essentially little difference in the design of built form between well designed medium density housing for low/medium income families and (that) in the private sector. Brisbane. and with the most valuable contributions tending to be aligned to New Urbanism. extracted from the Final Report to AHURI (Southern) on the subject of affordable medium density housing solutions for Adelaide. 2003). The study confirms that medium density housing was defined in earlier research and writings with relatively minor adjustments necessary for current applications. North America Since 1990. in a “search for meaning in our physical environment” (Fader. 1999. and others. etc. security and privacy. internal spatial design and fitting out. for economic and environmental reasons.” The paper recognises the fundamentals of medium density housing set out in Judd 1993. refers to literature dating from 1983–1993 (covered above) as the primary research in the field in Australia. with a current emphasis on defeating suburban sprawl. and the challenge faced by US cities to achieve higher standards of urban design. 1986). separation. and landscaping. use is made of Floor Space Ratios and a building envelope device (described as a “three dimensional zone that limits the extent of building in any direction”) to “inform decisions about appropriate density for a site and its context. depth. 1991. and others. Privatisation philosophies have lead to a broad literature of critiques of the standards of housing.). Literature is diverse and regional. the paper entitled “Trends and Strategies in the Design of Medium Density Urban Housing” (Radford & Sarris. Density has been at the core of the debate about city form since Stein. new regulations do not recognise density in any of the AMCORD definitions as a primary development control tool. In addition. and Jacobs (1961) began a critique of urban and suburban development and the consequent deterioration/decline of the quality of urban life. writing in the 1930s. seeking typologies that reverse the trend in the US . Both extend the detail of design advice in the area. particularly for subsidised accommodation (Garreau. Plunz & Sheriden. Rather.” Building envelopes. is on the urban design issues relating to development. adding references to the Melbourne study Medium Density Housing under the Good Design Guide (King.

and in urban regeneration. The book is divided into three sections. and others. Planning controls are operated in a highly regulated environment in comparison with New Zealand. Of numerous recent publications. three are selected here for their relevance to the study. Guidance and Review (Carmona. United Kingdom Housing in the United Kingdom has been developed at higher densities for many years: speculative housing in the private sector is normally built at between 25 and 30 dph in wholly suburban locations. The selected examples used in this study “highlight emerging quantitative standards for the basic building blocks of housing and community development: for example. Medium density housing generally refers to urban public housing. Fader advocates rear access systems. 1991) is a broad–based compendium of all aspects of housing design. Duany. . The authors recognise that social and cultural differences have a fundamental impact on choices relating to housing density. and that re–engage the street. impacts that are illustrated by comparisons between the numerous countries studied. against what are acknowledged to be additional costs. ‘New Urbanism’ is a planning and urban design theory that emerged in the 1980s. New Urbanism is endorsed by federal agencies such as the US Department of Housing. summarising twentieth century advances in design at all levels of density. for the street-side advantage to parking and walkability. the authors deal with detailed strategies: for instance. 2001) is a detailed examination of control mechanisms and their effects on the housing process. of the relationship of density to cost (p175). The study also deals with mixed housing. or developments carried out by the various privately managed. Relevance to the development of medium density housing in New Zealand lies primarily in the comparisons that can be made with the land–use policies outlined in Appendix A. The book is a detailed and illustrated study of housing in Western Europe and North America. which is balanced for developers by decreasing site acquisition costs per unit. state–supported agencies such as Housing Associations. density to car parking (p173). and options for layout 7 design (p180–193. In their analysis of residential planning. Housing Design Quality through Policy. The movement has become a major influence in the planning of new communities. street and alley dimensions. and p237). In these developments density is often much higher than the density levels of concern to this report. setback standards. for example)” is a traditional urban pattern that can continue to work in new schemes. through the work of Calthorpe.16 Best practice in medium density housing design of fortress–like gated developments. Also considered and discussed is the relationship between increased densities (and the consequential increase in development cost). Housing Design in Practice (Colquhoun & Fauset. of which the second deals with innovations in the control process in relation to design guides. pointing to successful developments where “integrating varying market segments within small neighbourhood units (single block or street. lot sizes. including references to Australian (p146) and New Zealand (p148) examples. The book represents the broad theories of 6 the New Urbanist movement. and is adopted as the preferred design approach by the Urban Land Institute of America and many real estate organisations and State housing authorities. and parking ratios. It establishes the principle that building form (of housing) is the determining factor in the development of urban quality.” In a discussion of layout design. which are commonly used in the United Kingdom.

if designed with skill and care. which includes a general summary of current housing finance methods in the United Kingdom. the RIBA Book of 20th Century British Housing (Colquhoun. institutional. and by differing standards of maintenance in the public spaces of the site. can both improve development margins and urban living environments. The review of North American practice and literature is abbreviated by the apparent shortage of relevant material. and identity. security. and continue to attract the attention of contemporary theorists by contributing to the critique rather than solutions in practice. The Australian experience is directly relevant to New Zealand. Affordable housing is generally supplied through rental housing offered by Local Authorities and Housing Associations. neither of which relate directly to low cost housing design. The foundations of design theory in this area have been clarified by the influential writings of Oscar Newman. and maintain values in the marketplace. no distinct body of literature on medium density housing appears to have emerged in the USA. and climate. and not covered in this review) dealing with the notion of territoriality. including medium density housing. Car ownership levels are assumed by planning directives and providers of housing to be acceptable at levels lower than those applied in New Zealand. apart from relatively recent texts inspired by the Smart Growth and New Urbanist movements. if modified by culture. The widespread preference (public. Of the studies in detailed site planning and internal design in medium density housing. the British publications are comprehensive. and particularity of location and context. The value of housing design and layout (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. particularly affecting the inner urban areas most likely to be selected 9 for redevelopment. Current published material in the United Kingdom confirms the continuation of a strongly traditional orientation in housing design. Chermayeff.8 After establishing the principle of density as a governing factor. particularly in larger cities.Literature Review 17 In addition. provides a useful catalogue of the achievements and processes of housing in the United Kingdom. and of public and private space. although there is a considerable quantity of case 10 study data. Rapaport. It concludes that increased density of development. In the literature. is identified as the point at which high design standards become an essential factor in the developer’s calculation of density and value. by external form. 2003) is a report which considers alternative layout and house type designs in an environment where the Government’s policies require the private housing sector to increase residential densities. founded on experience in practice. including the cost of facing materials. the report also develops a methodology for assessing the relationship of density to value. and political) for traditional design is reinforced by conservation–based planning controls. and it is noted that. Summary and Conclusions A consistent feature of the literature is the agreement that the term ‘medium density housing’ is characterised by complexity. 2000). Differences between housing in the private and the public sectors are identifiable by location. at 30 dph. and have relevance to conditions in New Zealand. and Habraken. density is at once a quantifiable ratio and a condition of quality in design relating to privacy. (dating from the 1960s. lifestyle. though it requires . building practice. It is not thought that solutions in the North American context contribute significantly to a better understanding of medium density housing in New Zealand conditions. A critical threshold. affecting both layout design and density.

Melbourne. Regrettably. The four and five storey block form is now the prevailing form for higher density housing up to 140 dph in Sydney.g. on a smaller scale. and reliant on a building form that introduces common internal spaces. the diversity of style seen in New Zealand is not a characteristic of medium density developments in Australia. has contributed significantly to a good quality standard in the genre. and probably due to the same prescriptive system. including numerous case study–based texts. and affects all market sectors. There is a large and well–regarded body of literature dating from housing developments in the 1970s and 1980s. In other Australian cities where population growth is lower. e. Adelaide. and the use and application of Design Guides. . and detachment from ground level access for a high proportion of units. design traditions. and combined with a generally more prescriptive planning regime. In the most common form this housing is between four and five storeys in height. Newer urban housing appears to be shifting towards a different model characterised by significantly higher densities than ‘medium’ density housing as defined in this report. underground parking. there are fewer examples. Brisbane. has been defined by the most recent literature emanating from the Department of Urban Affairs and 11 Planning in New South Wales.18 Best practice in medium density housing design conversion of building systems. This literature has informed the evolution of the typology. and. and is based on a more prescriptive regulatory system.

or the medium density typology. in accord with more recent policy statements from all four councils in the Region (Auckland Regional Council. 2000a. site selection and layout. As an alternative to modernism. had been the unchallenged design reference for all but a tiny minority of housing schemes. and business and political decision–making. Ki Te Hau Kainga. and an analysis of the implications for the Regional Growth Strategy. 2000c p 31). and the Pacific Housing Design Guide: Guidelines for Designing Pacific Housing Solutions The AMCORD document. ‘site density’. The reports taken together record the expectation that: “Higher density housing (has) fewer people per dwelling reflecting the fact that higher density residents are more likely to be younger. The ‘shift–shares’. includes definitions for density. particularly those that aimed to establish medium density housing as a housing typology. to the process of developing better models. Figures used in this paper are based on the 1996 census.Literature Review 19 ENDNOTES (Housing New Zealand Corporation. until this intervention. AMCORD covers all aspects of urban housing. 1999). preference. This analysis of demographic change acknowledges increases in smaller households and the impacts of lifestyle choices in a discussion of the nature of place– making and suburban values in New Zealand.” Auckland Regional Council. John Simpson and others: this may be regarded as an extreme reaction to the inadequacies of modernism. with case studies prominent in the methodology. 2002a). and suggests that declining immigration will reduce simple growth–driven change. 3 The paper concludes with the observation that demographic changes are driven by compositional change (ethnicity). and demographic profiles most likely to be affected by higher density development policy. and ‘gross dwelling density’ to describe different conditions. this should involve comprehensive integrated design codes with a focus on the encouragement of sustainable living environments. in three parts. The North American movement followed a revival of interest in classical origins of architecture begun in Europe a decade earlier by Leon Krier. which. 2000c p21). 4 2 The urban design review of this research recommends that developers should collaborate with the city councils and the Auckland Regional Council to promote innovative ‘best practice’ intensive housing design and construction practice (Auckland Regional Council. The view is not supported by the evidence. 2002b) both contribute at the level of house planning and detail. community attitudes to it. it is noted that other indicators and current Statistics New Zealand figures do not fully align with the Portal summary. an urban design review in which the impacts of intensification on the traditional residential environments of Auckland are assessed. single and without children” and that “There is a common perception amongst neighbours that medium density housing attracts ‘transient’ people who are renting and who will move frequently. and impact more directly on affordability. (Housing New Zealand Corporation. recommending the use of three terms. New Perspectives on Maori Housing Solutions. 2000a) covering the issues of housing choice. The research studies from the Auckland Regional Council’s “Building a Better Future” programme do not deal in design detail except at the urban level: the emphasis is on social attitudes and levels of acceptance. rather than numerical population growth. Some of the same issues of anticipated social change are addressed in the paper entitled “House and Home and their interaction with changes in New Zealand’s urban system. ‘net dwelling density’. classical architecture is unlikely to have any relevance to 1 These reports are summarised in Building a Better Future: Intensification Review– Summary of Research Findings (Auckland Regional Council. particularly but not exclusively for Maori and Pacific Island families. will affect household demographics. 1988) is a source quoted in Australian literature. Neither report addresses the issue of housing at higher densities. dealing with the principles of design for traffic. households and family structures” (Perkins & Thorns. The first edition (Wentling. it is predicted. p11 5 6 .

and very high density social housing ‘projects’. structured. and some subsidized housing. These developments have a density of around 40 dph. is the best known development in the genre. 2000 p13 7 The merits and constraints of all multi–storey house types are outlined in Chapter 7. heritage policies and locally drawn District Plans. comments on three storey houses with integral garages. but the market segments are not segregated one from the other. one–off developments. 1991 p284 8 In case studies. The latter variations most frequently take the form of apartment blocks with low parking provision. now extensively used as a model for design in all southern areas of the United Kingdom. design choices are constrained by prescriptive planning systems and design guides. Further. extra development costs of higher density can be recovered by better unit values if design improvements are made. they are co–ordinated with nationally directed practices for road and traffic design. the CABE research team established findings relevant to this study. A frequent objective. within the pool of rental units. It is mainly used in urban areas where high density is necessary … The problem relates to the distribution of rooms— should all the living accommodation be located on the ground floor or the first floor. at Raleigh Park. involving the community affected by a sequence of workshop 'charrettes' to establish a sense of ownership in the generation of new (usually higher density) proposals. The example in New Zealand nearest to New Urbanist design principles is the Harbour View development in Te Atatu (case studies 1. based in the movement's theory. some rental. 1997). or split between the two floors? It is generally considered that a split … (is) … the most inconvenient arrangement. as follows: (i) evidence from research indicates that there is no penalty attaching to higher density for developers.” Fader. subsidized units are rotated periodically. The issue of affordable urban housing appears to be resolved by continuing use of the various established mechanisms of low rent private sector. with small. and inclusionary methodology for the process of planning new developments. has been to mix housing tenure in larger projects without making physical or spatial distinctions between social or economic groups: various design and housing management techniques are used to achieve this. In this case (Crawford Square. 10 11 . and the disposal of rubbish” Colquhoun & Fauset. These design guides are effective in so far as they ensure compliance with good practice via prescriptive planning regimes. development values will be retained or improved at higher densities if design techniques are sophisticated. preventing any stigma from being attached to specific units. the Oatlands development (case study 18) draws on some New Urbanist ideas for layout design. for instance. of varying quality. but two well regarded developments based on New Urbanism have been carried out in Sydney. such as the Essex Design Guide (Stones. except Gunner Drive (case study 14). 14. A mixed scheme of low rise medium density housing combined with a group of 15 storey apartment blocks. unit value. (ii) (iii) (iv) 9 In other contexts. … (the type) particularly creates difficulties with … washing. good design becomes critical above a density threshold of 30dph. higher density housing in two and three storey layouts is undoubtedly successful in a large number of developments to be seen in Australian cities. and a variable density across the site. include the following: “… is a housing form that has never been entirely popular in Britain. control of small children. a standard achieved through the influence of comprehensive studies researched and published in the period between 1978 and 1993. and achieves variety of house type. A key strategy of New Urbanist theory is a systematic. It is relevant to emphasise the point that following the moves to consolidate city form. often of good quality and architectural standard and at relatively high density. as: “Some of the units are for-sale. some market rate. and 16). Pittsburgh) the key to success was that no visual distinctions were made in the housing designs to signal the type of housing tenure: a rental townhouse looks like a for-sale townhouse.20 Best practice in medium density housing design higher density housing design in New Zealand. providing the most relevant models.

3 A New Zealand Definition of Medium Density Housing .

in order to define the typology in contemporary urban residential conditions. Ÿ A measure of the form of the built environment. . 1990 p1). as a factor that influences perceptions of privacy. as a system of measurement that references dwelling units to a given area of land. The extended definition that generally embraces examples in Britain and Australia would suggest that the following characteristics are also relevant: Ÿ Ground level entry from a public space Ÿ A dwelling type with private external space within the ‘curtilage’. attached or terraced. A recurring feature of the literature defining medium density housing is the view that the concept of ‘density’. and apartments in low rise blocks. and architectural style. car parking. 1992a pp16–17). Density The most common definition of medium density housing in current use in New Zealand is: Housing at densities of more than 150m2/unit and less than 350m2/unit. According to the Australian Model Code for Residential Development (AMCORD). The AMCORD documents use the term ‘density’ to refer to a ratio describing the relationship of a given number of household units to an area of land.. or multi–unit development. (with the characteristics of) ‘attached. Separation of titles is also a New Zealand preference. Housing New Zealand Corporation. and secondly. The four City Councils in the Auckland Region.22 Best practice in medium density housing design A NEW ZEALAND DEFINITION OF MEDIUM DENSITY HOUSING Introduction This section discusses medium density housing in the New Zealand context. or territorial boundary of ownership Ÿ A dwelling type with direct or close proximity to secure parking Ÿ Separate legal title. and both Wellington and Christchurch City Councils operate a density range on the basis of site areas of 150m2–350m2 for . or 30–66 dwellings per hectare (dph). recommending three principal definitions. They refer to “many different ways in which this relationship can be expressed” (AMCORD. and as “horizontally attached dwellings which… rarely exceed three stories above the ground with individual access and private open space at or near ground level . The word ‘curtilage’ is used in the British literature to describe the territorial limits of identifiable private ownership of a property within a larger housing development. and the nature of ‘medium density housing’. density is: Ÿ A measure of population or the number of dwellings per unit of area. firstly. and Ÿ A measure of development potential. Density is discussed in this section.. To form a definition of medium density housing in the New Zealand context it is also relevant to address the issues of particular concern to developers and designers: security. no lifts’” (Victorian Department of Planning and Urban Growth...” (Judd. including ‘unit title’ ownership. This definition is used by the majority of City Councils and the Housing New Zealand Corporation. of which the term and definition ‘site density’ is most relevant to this report. Australian literature further defines the typology as “small lot subdivision. 1993 p8). House types that may be included are detached. have no universal or standard application.

The Auckland Regional Council identifies “residential intensification as developments with a net site density of 500m2 or less”. embracing the developer’s perspective. a density calculation on some recognised basis is necessary for valid comparisons to be made. and consequently ‘density’ as a planning tool is not a sole arbiter of the design process. and other open space) but includes public areas within the boundary of the land predominantly occupied by the housing itself. density is therefore used as a reference or guide rather than a precise measurement regulator. density is usually the first point of reference in forming bases for comparisons: an ‘after the event’ position is created by a density calculation. In his seminal study “Towards a redefinition of density”.). This practice is typified by Waitakere City Council. 2000 p 31). without using absolute or pre–determined rules to govern housing development. using density as a mechanism alongside other factors. and higher density at 200m or less (Auckland Regional Council.1 Most recent references to the concept of density confirm the relevance of two general points: (a) density is not a useful mechanism for determining quality in residential design because other factors in various combinations impact on the outcome. medium density at 350m2 2 or less. even where density is not a significant factor in the design. building type or detail. enclosure systems. and therefore a highly variable factor in housing design. etc. the relationship of given socio– cultural groups to traditional density figures. The CABE report (2003) takes a different stance. or a control mechanism that provides certainty of outcome. Density and Privacy Studies have established that density and privacy are interdependent and that achieving acceptable standards of privacy is a key issue in the design of socially successful higher density housing. … the detailed layout and design of the .A New Zealand Definition of Medium Density Housing 23 medium density housing. This aligns with the first AMCORD definition. this report will use a simple net site area basis of calculation. which applies an ‘effects–based’ process to decision–making on medium density housing proposals. and the socially complex issue of privacy. The practice in Britain is to define development capacity. and comparisons that do not use a density indicator can function only in terms of their nominated criteria (for instance. usually of a sense of ‘crowding’. It is also the case that in the analysis of built housing developments. the relationship of a particular area to the larger context. Australian planning systems recognise that a density definition relevant to Brisbane or Darwin is different from one applicable to inner suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne. To enable this comparison to be made. in suburban locations. in defining site area as the area of land that is required for a given development (which may include significant public works). excludes areas external to the site (public roads. While other factors affect the quality of outcome. “It is essential to consider in detail. Rapaport discusses the nature of ‘density’ in terms of perceptions of crowding. reserves. railway lines. and to a high degree of specificity. The technique of applying a Floor Space Ratio (FAR) or a Floor Space Index (FSI) is commonly used in development control in central and local urban areas in preference to density. landscaping. As a method of setting maximum development limitations. (b) density is a human perception. with other controls relating to form and site coverage in others.

the greater the likelihood that privacy will be optimised. uncomfortable spaces that also discourage communality. there is a sense that anyone seen ‘inside the fence’ is .. semi–private. 1986 p39). There is some evidence from the case studies that in pursuit of a well–lighted ‘defensible’ (in the sense of ‘secure’) common area. 1975 p153 windows and doors... which notes that: “One important way of enabling control over privacy is to provide a clearly defined hierarchy of public. concentrated in mid to inner–suburban areas or on public housing estates. or medium density housing as a typology is either less safe or more susceptible to crime than other housing types. senses. and in Judd’s later text Designed for Urban Living (Judd. In … housing of two or more storeys. as well as spatial. Medium Density Housing 2 in Australia (Judd & Dean.24 Best practice in medium density housing design setting in terms of privacy. 1983). in which security and control are more severe difficulties. and has limited application to a New Zealand definition for its focus on North American social housing. the social rules available and used. 1993 p30 Security and Privacy Security (or its absence) has been an issue associated with medium density housing since the term came into common use.” (Newman’s work is open to criticism for over–emphasis on “design solutions to crime”. As Judd says: “. 1993). by placement of Advocates of Smart Growth in the USA identify security amongst the three highest priorities in their intensification agendas. Judd makes reference to the issue of ‘Security’ related to Oscar Newman’s theory of ‘defensible space’ which has direct relevance to site layout design: such spaces should be “assigned to specific groups of residents” and “good territorial definition can help to enhance identity … and contribute to relieving social conflict between residents. . but with little evidence to support the view that higher density housing generally. medium density housing . which often have higher rates of burglary and personal crime.) Defensible space is thus an abstract term that describes a relationship of private and public domains in perceived. and so on…” Rapaport.” Judd. 1993 p30 The connections between density and privacy are further analysed in the basic Australian text..” Judd. and proximity of public open space can create anonymity (and therefore lessen the possibility of intruders being noticed) and equally. overlooking of the private open space of adjacent dwellings from upper level rooms represents one of the most common privacy problems. and private outdoor spaces which discourages intrusion by outsiders and provides necessary buffer space between dwellings and associated common access routes (quoted from Marcus and Sarkissian. such as a controlled entry gate. In other projects. The greater degree of control that can be given to residents as to how their private territory is defined and personalised. construct a passive surveillance environment that discourages intruders. the developer’s determination to remove the possibility of concealment results in barren. (has tended to be) . criminal behaviour is related to broader social problems and their geographic distribution rather than housing type or density per se. It is typologically characteristic that greater concentration of building. where security is in the form of a physical barrier.

rental housing in the public sector should be as similar as possible to private sector housing in the same neighbourhood. Minimum ratios are required through District Plans but are commonly exceeded by developers. and consequent loss of amenity compounds the difference. (King. Sydney. climatic differences. Investors as well as developers are risk averse. Medium density housing has developed in other countries with localised variations for parking and traffic design. and lower density suburban housing. Prasad and Ballinger. with reduced street widths also possible if measures are taken to ensure pedestrian safety. with lower levels of use of public transport than Wellington or Christchurch. obviating the 3 value of passive or casual surveillance. Coogee. in which pedestrian priority is assumed). preferring a tried and trusted model before an innovative one as a matter of course. As in other housing forms.A New Zealand Definition of Medium Density Housing 25 probably entitled to be there. 1991). and at all densities. In particular. placing high value on achieving the optimum density for the perceived market. . high standards of security fittings to doors and window openings. it is apparent that standards of parking provisions vary. usually with less car dependency than observed in the case studies included in this report. and the case studies (Section 5). and a maximum of 30 houses are served by the road. Comment in the literature consistently refers to the need for affordable housing to be indistinguishable from other housing. particularly Auckland’s high rainfall. and on street or ‘kerb’ appeal. not used as a case study) achieves an acceptable level of safety with narrow drives and without footpaths. One of the more successful examples in Australia (Moverly Green. and electronic intruder alarm systems. In addition. 1996 p66). reflecting a dilemma at the heart of medium density layout design. In the New Zealand context the parking issue also reflects differences between the main urban centres: Auckland has a road– based transportation system and the typically car–oriented culture of a low density city. although designed for urban regeneration developments. are a normal specification in New Zealand’s medium density housing schemes. Low speed internal roadways are regarded as preferable. public space. Rudder. including architectural expression or image. In so far as design solutions can achieve good security in an undefined community. The Dutch Woonerven system (a ‘residential precinct’. even when the car itself is also protected by an alarm system. particularly in the private sector. Car Parking and Storage Restricted parking and storage space for privately owned vehicles is inherent in the typology of medium density housing. The speculative industry also takes a cautious approach to all aspects of housing development. The desire to increase both proximity and total parking provision is evident in examples from all countries. representing one of the most significant differences between it. on minimising construc4 tion costs. sets a relevant standard for medium density housing by combining landscaping. From the literature. The vehicular environment has a dominant role in many examples of the typology. External Style Speculative housing development has a long history of modifying and adapting existing architectural styles to meet perceptions of market preferences. The loss of security of a vehicle parked ‘not within the curtilage’. encourage planning that locates the car in close proximity to the house. the ability of owners to view their car is significant. and traffic in a mixed environment (Colquhoun and Fauset.

case study 7) or draw on late modernism to express complexity. with European influences most widely used. In the best schemes the perception of anonymity in the ‘mass’ of a large development is replaced by clear identity of the parts. Medium density housing is generically a repetitive typology: stylistic variation within a general theme (‘Spanish colonial’. and Beaumont Quarter. by use of colour to differentiate one house from the next. case study 14). of this study. and parapets at the party walls. case study 6. and geography. At the Corban Village development (case study 4) each sub–section of the layout is architecturally distinctive. More expensive facing materials tend to be used in the higher priced developments. Sacramento (case studies 17 and 27). the developments illustrated therefore provide a partial but not complete picture of the issue of external design. ‘French rural’. and by variation in form. many variations based on the Spanish Colonial style. as do St Georges Road (case study 12). (eg. Others explore vernacular architecture from England (Melview Place. Most of the case studies in this report illustrate architectural forms that reflect commonly held ideas of domestic building. other cities have developed models in the typology that add significantly to the body of relevant work. In spite of the great variety of style there is little sense of ‘theme park’ architecture in these developments. window architraves and reveals. and several of the North Shore schemes. and the single unit within the part. reducing perceptions of mass. with no particular theme. but a short summary of the principal variations is considered useful. Italy. or style and market sector. and a group of Art Deco houses with streamlined curved corner windows. again using colours of the style to distinguish one unit from another. A complete catalogue of stylistic influences is beyond the scope of this report. Within the limited range of examples. by form. The Harbour View development exhibits. and regarded as critical to success. Gunner Drive. widely adopted. two storey Breton terraced cottages with quoins. (Tuscany Towers. and choice of materials. Medium density housing design in Australia has not . case study 8). Both developers and the public seem prepared to accept imported domestic vernacular architecture in some form. and a strong sense of free market choice. variety. A greater mix of dwelling types is also a perception (but not always the reality) generated by stylistic variations. case study 24). Styles vary widely. Some of the larger developments in West Auckland illustrate the high degree of design licence possible in the typology.26 Best practice in medium density housing design With regard to design style. which in some cases has led to an architectural style associated with a particular design ‘school’: Beaumont Quarter (case study 26) is an example. this study recognises that New Zealand architecture in medium density housing cannot be fully represented by examples selected entirely from the Auckland region. lack of self–conscious expression or reference to a foreign vernacular. that seeks to disguise the differences between medium density housing and lower density suburban housing. The Arawa Road project (case study 10) is arguably the closest design to a recognisable New Zealand architecture.5 Stylistic variation occurs across all the layout classifications: this study found no apparent correlation between style and density band. amongst other styles. simplicity. and difference (Romola Street. including the following: undecorated modernist externally plastered three storey houses differentiated by colour. The architectural variety contributes to the strategy.) conceals repetition by allowing building detail to be read. etc. traditional Dutch decorated curved gables and party wall profiles.

. preferring traditional. less exuberant residential styles that understate rather than celebrate diversity.A New Zealand Definition of Medium Density Housing 27 generally experimented in a comparable way. This section serves as a platform for the following case studies which provide a more detailed review of contemporary 6 medium density housing in New Zealand. Summary This section examined key design issues based on relevant literature and current practice in medium density housing.

the house itself has to be physically and architecturally independent of it neighbours. novelty is often welcome in the marketing process. In medium density housing this independent condition is not usually possible. 2) complete definitions of privacy need to take account of the critical role of ‘control’ in the understanding of privacy. and stylistically indeterminate models may need to be evolved. A thirty year old house originally built for a modest market price will frequently be more cheaply replaced than modified to meet current lifestyle requirements. can be consistent and accurate. it is hardly surprising that inconsistencies occur in the literature when density figures are used in comparisons. the opportunity to change the architectural style is usually taken. where houses are demolished after 25 years. the development of a separate housing type (medium density housing) which does not lend itself to alteration. lists and illustrates several projects of apparent relevance to this study but states density figures that place them outside the range of 30–60dph. and with up to date services for electronic uses as well as bathrooms and kitchen. Cost estimating. (as in case studies 13 and 24). storage for recreational equipment. and/or heavily defended ground floor openings. 1975 (quoted by Darroch. electronic alarm systems fitted during construction. suburban detached house is not adaptable to higher densities. as a condition of re–insurance. with a different plan configuration reflecting contemporary use of domestic space. including the development of medium density housing. There is a pronounced need distinguish between developments.Using the AMCORD methodology and revised calculations. to in the the 4 (ii) (iii) Stylistic definition can establish certainty of product for investors and funding institutions. There is an increasingly common pattern of suburban re–development in North American and Australian cities. adjusted to the new product. to be replaced with a ‘new model’. There is evidence that insurers. the Auckland Regional Council publication Urban Area Intensification (Auckland Regional Council. different. either because of inflexible design.” Altman. (iv) . 1983) 3 New housing developments in many countries including New Zealand reflect this concern. doors. 2 (b) In the process of identifying a design model for the New Zealand context. design is architecturally experimental. and the numerous differently defined bases for calculation. For this to be possible. in Judd & Dean. having met a claim. will demand higher specifications for locks. 2000e) referring to the AMCORD ‘net residential density’ term. most of these schemes do in fact coincide with the density range considered here.28 Best practice in medium density housing design ENDNOTES 1 In the light of the debate regarding the usefulness or otherwise of ‘density’ as an indicator. a different type of building has to be generated to meet the typological requirement of medium density housing. that is. and for developers. Darroch refers to Altman’s six definitions of privacy. opting for auto–gated compounds. both of these issues may need further consideration. For medium density housing to be part of the same housing market in which rapid redevelopment is a regular market activity. In the process. of which two are quoted here: “1) privacy is essentially a matter of person/environment transactions. 5 In these circumstances the extreme variety of external design in medium density housing in New Zealand is a phenomenon for which several explanations are offered: (i) The generic single storey. both for buyers and residents. it is a dialectic or dynamic system— it is not a static event or state. In some instances. often including work from home room(s). At the same time. This tentative conclusion may lead to two other issues relevant in the New Zealand context: (a) the custom in New Zealand society of constant do–it–yourself alteration of the home. and alarm installations. order to establish identity. or because of the controls imposed by a management structure representing community ownership. and sometimes upper floors also. evidenced by contemporary housing design in New Zealand. For instance. usually much larger. In a chapter entitled “Concepts of Privacy”.

leading. and other details that suit dry hot climates. however. It is. this is in contrast to the conservative styles seen in the same market in the United Kingdom. or modernminded public encourages more rather than less experiment with external style than the industry offers. thus affecting much of the housing built. but still a commodity possession. The ‘leaky building’ issue is local to the New Zealand building industry. associated with this housing type in the press. causes cracking in the external wall surface allowing water to enter the cavity within the wall. The period of development of most medium density housing in New Zealand has been subsequent to both these dates. If the wall has been built without the means by which such water can drain from the cavity the untreated framing starts to rot. and is considered to be a technical matter relating to construction rather than a systemic issue in medium density housing. The monolithic systems align readily with the stylistic preferences of developers and the buying public: various ‘European’ styles in particular the ‘Mediterranean’ styles rely on some form of stucco-like finish to the external walls. and is paralleled by design in Australia.A New Zealand Definition of Medium Density Housing 29 (v) A broadly open-minded. The Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) issued appraisal Certificates for numerous proprietary cladding and finishing systems of this type after 1994. since the cheapest cladding system able to gain approval from the central and local building authorities is attractive to developers. 6 The house building industry has been affected by the problem called ‘leaky buildings’ since 2001 when the consequences of construction using monolithic plastered cladding systems fixed to untreated timber framing were first detected. eventually to structural failure of the wall. the Building Industry Authority (BIA) accepted untreated timber for external and internal construction in 1997. often due to shrinkage following drying out. The movement of framing timber after construction. Evolution of the notion that housing is a commodity governed by the same market rules that apply to other commodities: housing is less short term (as a personal investment) than other domestic ‘durables’. Many schemes included in this review are affected by the problem. and therefore in public perceptions of higher density housing in general. (vi) mon. This failure may occur in a short period: a few months is not uncom- .


4 Case Studies: Methodology and Criteria .

The layout classifications are defined as: Type 1: front access to the house. internal and external space standards. for different levels of density and layout types. with the car internally garaged within the house type. the proximity of the private car (and its security) is regarded as a secondary performance indicator.32 Best practice in medium density housing design CASE STUDIES: METHODOLOGY AND CRITERIA Introduction This case study examines contemporary medium density housing with particular reference to the relationship of density to amenity. To construct a basis for valid comparisons different site layout types have been classified. aspect. following this model. for convenience. Methodology A methodology to select and critique examples was developed from Australian and British models. and ‘not within’ the curtilage. and access to the private car. and including car parking adjacent to the house in a space controlled. In New Zealand. and possibly owned. In New Zealand’s relatively informal society rear access is a common habit: the ‘back’ door does not represent a high level of social familiarity. therefore. Site layouts that provide similar car access validate comparisons between schemes at different levels of density. . ‘remote’ parking. for reasons outlined in Sections 2 and 3. Type 4: layouts dependent on the three storey house type with internal garaging. Density is considered to be a performance indicator in all ‘after the event’ analyses of housing developments. access. Type 3: front or rear access with the car parked outside the property boundary: called. as defined in Type 1. secure parking. distinguishing between ‘within’ the territorial boundary of a property (curtilage). some of which are referred to in previous sections. reducing options for frontage widths. and. to acknowledge the local influence of climate. to: (i) track the pattern of compromise as it occurs for different levels of density and layout types. (iv) assess the physical environment of medium density housing relative to lower density housing. The methodology separates. and internal planning as density is increased. British literature makes frequent use of the term ‘curtilage’. It is acknowledged in the literature and amongst design professionals in housing that as density increases. as elsewhere. (iii) record and establish a database of quantifiable evidence to represent key aspects of each scheme relative to density. specifically in relation to car storage and parking. The analysis therefore aims to evaluate New Zealand examples. (ii) identify changes in the quality in the residential standards achieved. to acknowledge the amenity factors of security. referring to internal planning and external space standards. Type 2: rear access to the house. layout types by vehicular proximity. to recognise the distinctions between layout amenity to householders in terms of car access. House types are also directly affected by the density scale. and in the New Zealand context. by the unit but also accessible from a public area and therefore not secure. or provided with a carport or parking space within the property boundary. and access in use. compromises affecting the quality of the residential environment accumulate.

selection has not excluded such schemes. and are selected as examples at two different density levels. East Tamaki (case studies 17 and 27). in some instances indicating an explanation for the choice made. New Lynn (case study 10). in response to the focus in this report on affordable housing. Sites considered included composite or hybrid layouts. utility and servicing design. Two storey house types dominate in the density range studied. demonstrate achievable standards. because they are not. 60 examples were listed for consideration. This has been recorded as a factor influencing layout design. The quality of the environment achieved is determined by density conditioned by other choices made in the scheme including house types. rather than perceptions of residential quality. and Mt Taylor Drive.Case Studies: Methodology and Criteria 33 Site Selection Initially. drawing on the Australian experience in the typology. described in the data chart as a ‘market level’. location. (ii) Schemes of interest for reasons of layout type or density. The final list yielded 34 examples. this option is considered sufficiently common for the case study selection to include a small number of examples for comparisons. landscaping. further criteria were established to identify representative schemes covering the principal layout 1 types. 15. (iv) Density: schemes at densities higher and lower than the range identified as ‘medium’ density (30–66 dph) were included to provide comparisons. and layout to density characteristics increase significantly. for comparisons. and the provision of public open space. under 40dph (in the lower range) and above 60dph at the high end of the medium density range. There are few ‘pure’ examples of Type 2 in the Auckland region (where all the New Zealand examples are located). Glendowie (case study 12). without reference to layout type or density where known. Avondale (case study 22). with the three storey elevated living area house type used in some examples. although smaller than the preferred lower limit. (iii) Schemes previously included in other studies are generally excluded. (vii) Quality of environment: schemes were selected primarily to illustrate the critical relationship of density to layout. permitting gated examples to be included for comparison of layout types. (v) Value: a significant variable observed. (vi) Affordability: a general preference is expressed for private sector developments at low and middle ‘market levels’. and part of the Sacramento development. and affect validity of comparisons. Case studies 6. (i) Size: schemes of less than nineteen units were discounted: in smaller projects it was considered that variables of shape of site. was seen to impact on design options. with resource consents granted but not yet built. These . Public sector schemes are also reviewed. It would be misleading to suggest that these developments are representative of the average standards achieved in Australia. including schemes reviewed in other studies. including four Australian schemes. facing materials. They do. were included: Holly Street. with the exception of Arawa Street. From the original list of 60 schemes. 16 and 31 are included to illustrate a particular layout characteristic. often combining Types 1 and 4. however. (viii) Management: the existence and effectiveness of Body Corporate management schemes affects many of the developments reviewed.

local real estate enquiries. Site areas given in City Council records. as far as possible. road areas. and to the ease of access to data (and the lower costs of retrieving data) in the Waitakere City Council procedure. This is necessary to eliminate—as far as possible—disadvantage to very low–cost schemes and to identify high–cost schemes. The pilot study also revealed that small variations— where extra but numerically insignificant variations such as modified end unit plans occurred—had little effect on density or the FAR. Corban Village. All schemes selected were visited and photographed. including four on the North Shore. and private gardens and patios. Value and House Types From site observations and.2. and high quality housing in which market performance has paralleled or exceeded similar developments. with flat or near flat sites taking priority. These three larger developments have yielded eight examples between them. an assessment was made of market position. and therefore gain relevance to a study focusing on this typology as an affordable housing proposition.34 Best practice in medium density housing design four developments illustrate established. and is recorded as an . public open space. and were therefore not quantified in the assembled database. only one of which (Coroglen) is located in West Auckland. The methodology used included scanning scale drawings to provide data by digitally isolating built and non–built areas. site coverage footprint. House types are described and discussed in the notes with each case study to establish a generic relationship between house type and layout classification. total floor space. perhaps the majority. to be comparable. A further justification for the use of West Auckland examples lies in the perception that many. Where slope is significant to the layout design a note is made in the accompanying description. From a pilot exercise it was found that this data yielded sufficient material to quantify density. Multi-development Sites Three of the West Auckland examples (Ambrico Place. market. well–regarded. parking ratios. The process of selection also took into account the medium density housing study carried out four years ago by the Auckland Regional Council (2000c). or where site areas given did not align with the preferred base data for density calculation. providing opportunities for useful comparisons of different layout and house type options. or taken from dimensions and bearings on survey drawings were checked by this method where a simple arithmetic check suggested the possibility of error. and Harbour View) are large sites that have been parcelled into smaller sites to attract commercial development: from the overview of the study. and to identify house types as percentages of totals. in some cases. developments have been selected. within a single location. floor area ratios (FAR). and to some extent.3 Methodology The methodology involved visiting Council offices to obtain scale plans and details of the main house types used in each development. This is partly due to time limitations on the report. which documented nine projects. Topographical Criteria Since severe slopes tend to distort other factors. Location Excluding the Australian examples. half of the case studies are drawn from Waitakere City. of medium density housing projects in Waitakere are set at a low or medium point in the market scale. but is not otherwise indicated on the thumbnail plan. it seems that few commercial house builders are prepared to take on a single project of more than 100 units.

A minimum requirement for back– land sites should be a ‘compound’ roofed enclosure. kerb–side collections are sometimes seen to cause unacceptable weekly conditions for those houses. In the best schemes the process of refuse storage and collection is virtually invisible. Refuse Collection Refuse collection is referred to in the literature as a significant factor in determining the acceptability of higher density housing. and the difficulty of identification. Inorganic collections. Storage of refuse inside the unit curtilage needs to be planned carefully for reasons of hygiene and practicality in the functioning of the household. The number given on this scale is not quantified. in the best examples taking the form of an external enclosure with an external route to the collection point. severely undermines the development’s potential. An unregulated refuse system. may have to be tolerated as an annual event. the street impact of scores of bins. It is apparent that some developers take care with this matter. on a scale from 1 (low market) to 5 (high market). For soft collection systems based on polythene refuse sacks a maximum number of units served should be established if roadside (not internal) collection is necessary. Many of the schemes visited have a refuse enclosure at the site entrance where refuse is deposited by residents. as they are. in some cases. Kerb–side collection from individual properties is the preferred option for a high quality residential environment. and supplies a strong argument to reinforce public prejudices against increased densities. is very considerable. but is generated by knowledge of the original property sale price. Washing/drying Arrangements Site visits were conducted in good weather in June and July 2004. with subdivisions to avoid an excessive agglomeration of bags. although infrequent. Open air clothes drying is also a long– standing tradition in New Zealand households. located behind the front property boundary and screened from the street. and others do not. and 24 provide some examples). while retractable lines and collapsible racks are common. Such arrangements reflect the small. where known. and often shadowed rear external spaces (case studies 10. with few roadside entrances and collection points. Building roads to ‘adoptable’ Local Authority standards is expensive in construction costs and in site space at higher densities. Site planning to ensure even small rear yards with orientation to allow some solar access is possible up to approximately 60–70 dph. and in some cases is not a practical option for reasons of access. In other schemes where development has been carried out behind houses on an existing road frontage. This number should not be more than ten. a workable and hygienic solution up to a maximum of about 25–30 houses. which is regarded as a relevant item of information in the assessment of the quality of the environment achieved relative to levels of density and layout type. In larger developments. The purpose of the scale is therefore to indicate the market ‘intention’. 13.Case Studies: Methodology and Criteria 35 approximate indicator of market value in column 19 of the data chart. in less concentrated forms. Observations confirmed that external clothes–drying is a common preference but not always a straightforward option for householders. in the suburbs. In some instances ad hoc clothes drying arrangements occupied front gardens. or by the developer’s expectation of sale prices. and should be provided for wherever possible in all housing with ground level access to private open space. estimated by building detail and location. damages the locality beyond the site itself. using various semi–permanent lines sometimes fixed under balconies. and at higher density levels if the .

where relevant.36 Best practice in medium density housing design development incorporates underground car–parking. and communal facilities. The case study commentaries discuss other factors that affect the overall quality of the residential environment including management by body corporates. . where provided 4 by the developer.

Case Studies: Methodology and Criteria


1 The Tuscany Way site (case study 16) forms the southern boundary of the Edgelea block of 43 houses. The block is one model for greenfield medium density housing, planned as a perimeter of outward facing (front access) linked, or detached houses enclosing two garage courts serving rear accessed units not from the developer for associated infrastructure costs, but the bond payment took the form of security against certificates of title on unsold houses in the scheme. The Waitakere City Council was not the first mortgagee on the titles, effectively making the bond a debt to the Council alongside other unsecured creditors. Mr P Brown, Waitakere City Council Resource Management and Buildings Service manager said the arrangement at Tuscany Towers was unusual, in that neither a cash bond nor a bank guarantee was required from the developer. Because medium density, in this case on a large scheme of 97 units, normally cannot avoid unit titles (rather than the standard sub-division freehold title) the developer’s contribution cannot be ‘staged’ across the financing of the project in smaller increments; the cost of a long–serviced bank guarantee is high for the developer, who is dependent on sales and contract completions over a longer period than normal in suburban sub–division developments. It would seem that in this instance, in order to encourage the development (as a landmark medium density project, amongst the earliest in West Auckland) the Waitakere City Council took a step back from their usual bond requirements (Western Leader, Thursday 1 Nov 2001 p1 (Tuscany Towers, New Lynn) “Caught in Collapse”). 4 It is noted that some Body Corporate management schemes in higher density developments ban external clothes drying, requiring occupiers to use only tumble dryers. The same restriction is applied in some medium density developments, to protect external appearance from the domestic intrusion of washing. At densities between 30dph and 66dph these restrictions are not necessary, although at the upper end of the band, as case studies show, private open space becomes increasingly difficult to achieve.

The Edgelea block site plan located on the block perimeter, in this case a courtyard type. A small semi-private ‘pocket’ park with no vehicular access but accessible to emergency traffic is defined by the frontages of eighteen units occupying the core of the block in three separate developments. A similar hybrid layout is used in the Oatlands development (case study 18), with a similar intention: to provide variation in house type, price range, and to gain density. 2 Ambrico Place, New Lynn. The Ambrico Place development occupies land previously used for industry, including a brickworks serving the local district of New Lynn; the site has been re–built since 1996 as the first larger scale medium density housing in Waitakere City. The development now consists of approximately 350 houses. There have been nine separate developers involved, all except two using architects for the layout design. Each parcel is different in architectural style and there are significant differences in layout principles, and in relational possibilities, that are reflected in varying densities (see case studies 25 and 29). Three of the Ambrico Place developments have used the narrow frontage dual aspect three-storey townhouse plan form. One of these is reviewed (case study 29). 3 Tuscany Towers (case study 7): Waitakere City Council required a bond of $485,000

Case Studies

and Ambrico Place. Parking: the total parking provision is given as a ratio of car spaces per unit. the schemes reviewed have been selected in groups to minimise the effects of differences between locations. (ii) . A summary of statistics is included with each study. the under-sized space is not counted in the total. slightly raising the total parking ratio for the development. Columns 12–16 all quantify other aspects of the parking and vehicular access arrangements. to illustrate the scale and form of the scheme. Exceptional or non–standard figures are noted as follows: (i) Tuscany Towers. Case studies are presented with the following conventions: (i) Sketch plans are diagrammatic. New Lynn. column 8: includes the large lower ground floor in the total site footprint. The plans are not to a given scale. particularly Glendowie (3 schemes). indicated on the sketch plans by a broken line. with North point to the top of the sketch. Architects are credited. case studies are numbered and named in the left hand columns. Botany Downs (3). and the organisation of roads. Columns 1 and 2 list basic data describing development size.40 Best practice in medium density housing design Case Study Conventions Each site is illustrated with a thumbnail sketch plan showing the distribution and orientation of buildings. column 6: 2. 26 and 28 use underground garage parking. reflecting increasing footprint. The numerous candidates around central Auckland were reduced to one. the secondary type is indicated in brackets in column 20. Column 20. Columns 3 and 4 then arrange the schemes in ascending order of density within the layout type. (ii) (iii) (iv) (vi) (vii) Where possible. groups schemes according to the four layout classifications employed in this study (see p32). Case Study Data On the data table (p77). Case studies 25. Case studies are presented in ascending order of density in each layout type. access and parking. Where communal or public open spaces are significant the area is indicated by a diagonal line. Beaumont Quarter. and column 13: 143**: figures include three storey units with four or five parking spaces available in a lower ground floor garage/ workshop. resulting in under-sized parking spaces in front of garage doors: where this has been noted from site visits. the authors acknowledge a small degree of injustice to the designers in such cases. where known. The figure generally rises with increasing density. In some instances there are variations between approved plans and the development ‘as built’. with other relevant data for date and place in columns 17 and 18. to avoid higher– end examples that may benefit from a developer’s willingness to invest more in building costs in anticipation of higher returns or faster sales. and balances or off–sets the variations in unit sizes. the spaces between them. In some instances the sketch plans are simplified to clarify the layout type. Where a scheme uses more than one layout type.44*. Case studies 13. including visitor and casual parking. Integral garages are included in the unit floor areas where they occur. Tuscany Towers. 15 and 28 are Housing New Zealand Corporation owned developments. The Floor Area Ratio (FAR) (column 5) indicates the density of the development as a ratio of total floor space to site area.

2. 3. and capacity for extended domestic uses. standard of privacy achieved. quality of the public environment within the development. Glossary Terminology or abbreviations used for convenience in the case study analysis and the data chart include: Dph: dwellings per hectare. The case studies selected display some characteristics typical of the typology in relation to more than one of these summarised criteria. 6. . children's play area. 4. and maintenance. Although the relationships between the criteria are complex. quality of. and recreational gardening activities. Floor Area Index (FAI). the principal criteria are identified as: 1. including site topography and shape. FAR: Floor Area Ratio: also referred to elsewhere as Floor Space Index (FSI). and ‘Du/Ha’. defined by overlooking and by perceptions of crowdedness. 5. and marketing intentions. indicating positive. there are fewer than 2 car parking spaces per dwelling in the overall development. defined by function. and provision for private open space defined by convenience of access. column 9: excludes carport roofs. Parking ratio: the ratio of total car parking provision to the number of dwellings in the development: where the ratio figure is less than 2. used here as the reference for the total floor space built as a ratio of the total site area. and arrangements for. and vary between developments according to specific factors. See Section 4.Case Studies 41 (iii) Sacramento 1A. standard of security achieved in the detailed design of the physical environment and house unit. also abbreviated in the literature as ‘dpha’. and by perceptions of personal territorial ownership. standard of private vehicle parking achieved. including out-door meals. 7. Each study is therefore accompanied by a table of seven sections corresponding to the criteria listed above. defined by perceptions of individuality within the whole development. Case Study Evaluation The criteria that determine the quality of the residential environment in New Zealand's medium density housing developments are identified and discussed in the preceding sections. defined by convenience of proximity and access. standard of identity achieved. method of. ‘DpHa’. etc). privacy. as with similar schemes (case study 24. landscaping. collection of refuse. negative and neutral resolutions of the relevant issue. washing. defining density for a fuller explanation of the term.

The ‘Z’ plan unit with a cross wall dimension of 9. This development employs terraced housing but with compromised amenity in comparison with traditional suburban housing.59 .7m and an overall length of nearly 15. Two storey units with integral garages address the street with small set–backs and vehicle crossings at over–frequent intervals: however. To retain the highest possible density. in which the density achieved is not justified by the crowded environment of the space between the houses. not located practically for use as a ground floor toilet. In this instance the site itself is also a challenging shape. to reduce overlooking and satisfy height to boundary regulations.20 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 5.42 Best practice in medium density housing design (1) VINOGRAD MEWS. WAITAKERE CITY Vinograd Mews is a small development of nineteen houses at a density of 33dph. and is used to advantage in this layout.0m is not an efficient house type for this purpose. the street is positively defined. upper floors are windowless on the back. the core of the site is planned with the balance of units permitted. Other details suggest further problems with an unfamiliar house type: the third bedroom on the ground floor has to have a separate bathroom. Architect: Grant Neill open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 19 parking ratio 2. causing a sense of crowding. and without domination by garage doors due to the recessed plan detail. The scheme illustrates many of the issues confronted by designers working in the medium density housing field.742 179 302 33 . Street frontage is an important requirement in the Harbour View strategy. Internally the planning makes considerable effort to avoid habitable rooms on both sides of party walls (built in 200mm concrete blockwork) at both floor levels. HARBOUR VIEW. making the rear elevation a featureless wall. These compromises are reflected in the site planning. and a TV position under the stair cannot be viewed by any practical arrangement of living room furniture.

EAST TAMAKI. a factor most apparent in the service access.30 average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 8. planting is insignificant. Architect: Alan Rolston Residential open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 30 parking ratio 2.Case Studies 43 (2) ADELPHI VILLAS. There are numerous developments of about this size and type in New Zealand: at this density (two storey housing in semi–detached units.52). The elevation to the distributor road to the north of the site presents a wholly suburban identity. property boundaries are indicated by concrete strips set into the (otherwise uniform) tarmac surface. The quality of the residential environment is necessarily compromised in this layout type. Garage doors dominate. Parking occupies all available space adjacent to the internal road. and security measures are the dominant feature in detailing. lacking ownership or organisation. MANUKAU CITY For reasons of typicality this project is included to represent a housing form that minimises the value of public space in order to gain density and private garden area.52 . Refuse is collected from an enclosure (not roofed) at the site entrance. its appearance made more unsightly by an irregular arrangement which conveys an impression of haphazard use.135 142 271 37 0. fronted by letter boxes. Overlooking remains a problem in spite of attempts in the planning of the site to protect privacy. 37 dph and a FAR of 0. the type has become a standard product in the market.

with the majority of units either detached or linked detached sharing only the party wall between garages. has not been implemented. To ensure market diversity a small group of thirteen units has been arranged around a rear access garage court. this approach has little to recommend it. The development loses most of the benefits of suburban layout design without gain in any area. Architect: Fuller Design open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 89 parking ratio 2. A landscaping scheme. dual aspect houses.08 - + - + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 24. A compacted version of low density housing. cannot achieve the potentially excellent residential environments of either suburbia or medium density housing. No public open space has been included. SUNNYVALE. or to the potential of urban housing to contribute lively neighbourhoods as part of the intensification process. The layout is a hybrid. The internal road is a public street in a compacted version of a traditional suburban layout.44 Best practice in medium density housing design (3) SEYMOUR ROAD. such as this. a level at the lower end of the medium density range. WAITAKERE CITY The development occupies land not previously built on.43 . locally increasing density and introducing a variation on the otherwise comprehensively suburban theme. As a residential environment. This contributes to a density of 37 dph. which would improve the quality of this development. The scheme makes no concessions to recent good practice in higher density design. or to New Urbanist theory. close to the Manui rail stop and the Parrs Park recreation area in West Auckland. The development has been built to attract investors in rental property. perhaps reflecting the amenities close to the site. designed by Sinclair Knight Mentz. The scheme is included in this study to provide evidence of the need to recognise the difference between suburban (in the Auckland and New Zealand traditions) and medium density housing design. and front access. providing an explanation for the variety of separate house types used.600 118 273 37 0.

Terraced three storey townhouse types as built on the north–western boundary are not as articulated in plan as indicated on the original drawings. evidenced by architectural variety that removes any sense of uniformity or repetition. and. and rear entry predominantly with two storey house types. The plan includes an adopted road which provides service access and refuse collection. WAITAKERE CITY The layout is based on two separate design principles: a front entry type using two and three storey house types. no provision for internal communal areas. best illustrated in the central (rear access) group served by a private access driveway. HENDERSON. The same three storey type used in short terraces north of the internal road are detached from the rest of the development by their own paved forecourts. the development illustrates the quality of a residential urban environment possible at this density without sacrificing access to and security of the car. but succeed in enclosing this edge of the development and retain a lively street elevation. due to adjoining public open space. excessively so at this density.686 249 40 .Case Studies 45 (4) CORBAN VILLAGE. Although the house type is justified by a south–facing slope on this site. The whole development was packaged into approximately six developments. Overall. and the majority have a second space within view from the house. it also generates a tarmac and car–dominated environment at ground level. All units have one secure car space. In this group the north–south orientation raises the question of the inactive entrance on the south side where recessed ‘front’doors are not in use in all cases. Architect: Various open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 83 parking ratio 2.20 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 20.

a factor that generally deters the dense planting which would be necessary to both improve the public side of the development and reduce over looking in the private garden spaces. These have a ground floor room behind the garage. leading to a rear garden environment of a heavily fenced and enclosed warren of private spaces where overlooking is a significant issue. giving a strong vertical emphasis. The layout design is comparable to Seymour Road (case study 3). similar to two previous schemes. accessed.56 . Back to back dimensions are minimal for the house type. next to a stream. Architect: Harrison Grierson Consultants open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 98 parking ratio 2. is likely to be sales to investors. Two small areas adjoining the road provide public open spaces. Density depends on the use of 26 three storey townhouse units on the perimeter of the site. and to increase the number of ‘end’ units.30 - + - + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 24. Short terraces of three units have been used to maximise side access to rear gardens. GLEN EDEN. A narrow plan is further expressed by dividing the front elevation into two. seen by the market to have higher value. The market. in this variant. is developed around a public loop road providing access for refuse collection and other services. The core of the site. in this case. WAITAKERE CITY This scheme was started in 1999.46 Best practice in medium density housing design (5) FAIRHAVEN. at the lowest levels on the site. including a play area. and is now being completed with 98 units. by a corridor alongside the stair leading to living accommodation on the first floor. of two storey dual aspect units.728 141 252 40 . and the Corban Village (case study 4) development.

and planning the development at this density.140 176 242 41 0. but would not permit a detached unit design. particularly between external private spaces. also appear to have been built as single units. Internal planning of the houses is conventional and also reflects new domestic uses of space by layout and spatial diversity. Access is from private culs de sac serving up to five units.10 - + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 3. power steering. All the buildings are strongly articulated by form and by facing materials used. Two pairs of houses. (b) the extreme reduction of space outside the separated houses. The FAR is 0. to such a degree that the site plan sketch is highly simplified. GLENDOWIE. Architect: Powley Architects open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 13 parking ratio 2. Privacy between house units is inevitably very poor. a consequence of pursuing a market goal of building detached houses. dimensionally minimal so that the shared access function is only possible if rigorous discipline in use is maintained.73. also a high figure for this layout type. The project stands at the top of the market value scale in this study.73 . The total average floor area. and upper floor rooms look directly into opposite units.Case Studies 47 (6) ROMOLA STREET. (See also Mt Taylor Drive—case study 11). contributing to perceptions of a crowded plan. At this density a different layout type would resolve these and the access problems. including the 2 garages. where new residential property is replacing dilapidated housing stock and at the same time lifting density levels. The site plan illustrates two relevant points: (a) an architectural intention to propose higher density housing without loss of a modern tradition to treat each building as an object of design quality in its own right. shown as attached in the plans. AUCKLAND CITY This small development is part of the regeneration of the Madelaine Avenue area of Glendowie. and medium size rather than large cars are necessary. at 176m indicates a relatively large unit size.

providing extra non–allocated parking: the public domain is thus represented at several hierarchical levels. The internal streets are also public spaces. These are standards of amenity that are possible at this density level. The development aims at a high standard of urban public space. consequently.61 . Access to these units from street level is via an ornate tiled stair shared by two adjacent houses.44* + - + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 23.48 Best practice in medium density housing design (7) TUSCANY TOWERS. and achieves good standards of privacy between units. fences and walls. A storey–height step inherited from former use of the site on the east site boundary introduces a third variation of larger units on a platform over a four car garage. The architecture is uniformly ‘tuscan–suburban’. the layout and the street articulated by three storey four bedroom houses at corners and junctions. WAITAKERE CITY Tuscany Towers was the first and largest stage of the development in Ambrico Place. marked by a tower. the urban environment is vehicle– oriented rather than pedestrian–oriented and in this respect simulates suburban models.017 130* 237 42 0. Architect: not known open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 97 parking ratio 2. offering live/work options to some residents. and knowledgeable example of the genre. and progressively more difficult to maintain at higher points in the density range for this layout type. using a plan form that provides accommodation at ground floor level for living or business use. reinforced by controlled rather than abundant landscaping. The public areas are included in the density calculation. The majority of houses are two storey three bedroom terraced units with garages accessed internally. and also from the external public road by a second ‘front’ door. including details of ornament. The scheme of 97 units includes a tennis court and a public ‘square’/community space. The layout also achieves a high level of car proximity and security. colour palette. NEW LYNN. careful detailing of paths. AMBRICO PLACE. which also houses the communal television aerial. consistent. and variations of height forming a coherent.

Essentially. In this description there is a clear implication of an experimental type. NEW LYNN. in this case calculated as 1. The minimised vehicular space requires disciplined use by residents. The design achieves a high level of security and privacy— there is minimal overlooking between units. underlining the need for co–ordination of the whole site strategy from an early stage if higher density housing is to be successful. the layout achieves a higher standard of privacy than most comparable schemes. illustrated in the bottom photograph.0. At a density of 44dph.768 126 227 44 1.18 + + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 2. and blank rear walls to the garages form the ends of the small courtyard gardens which are also accessible through the house. a single storey design has been used. Planting in these accessways succeeds in softening the otherwise entirely hard surface. The layout design involves agreement from the controlling Territorial Authority to a high FAR. The design identifies by materials and scale with the brick and tile suburban model bungalow. and use of a house type generally considered to be expensive for medium density housing. and one of the few recent developments of the type in the Auckland region. or into units from the public side—and consequently little contribution to the sense of community in the neighbourhood. The high standard of private open space achieved by the courtyard house type is severely affected by a later development on an adjoining site.00 . with an attached garage. WAITAKERE CITY This variation is the only semi–courtyard house type included in the survey. AMBRICO PLACE.Case Studies 49 (8) MELVIEW. Comparisons can be made with Rowena Crescent (case study 15). with two ‘attic’ bedrooms to reduce roofline heights for minimum back to back dimensions. in this case a wide–frontage two or three bedroom unit with a double garage connected to it. Architect: not known open space (public) open space (private) refuse security collection privacy parking identity no units 22 parking ratio 2. Diagonal cross–over garden walls divide rear gardens. one more than would currently be permitted under regulations in another part of the Auckland region. however. On the public side the ‘mews’ access ways are shared by six dwellings.

52 . a better solution to space necessary for light and privacy distances between buildings than privately owned back gardens. In this layout (see also Seymour Road. Details of shutters. This diversity is reinforced by the site planning.50 Best practice in medium density housing design (9) ALBION VALE. Numerous materials are used.23 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 20. semi–detached. This interrupts and varies the street terrace and forms a larger block at the entrance to the site. Seven two storey detached houses with remote parking in carports opposite. Overall site density is increased by the inclusion of a three storey. Architect: Powley Architects open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 94 parking ratio 2.800 115 221 45 0. SUNNYVALE. screens and entrances introduce variety to the street elevations. case study 3) the influence of the developer’s interest in building for investment is apparent. The development is not close to shopping or transport other than bus routes. which are minimised. represented by the variety of detached. add a further option to the investment market. and short terraces built. The scheme is included in the survey to illustrate the impact this variety can have on the resulting environment. dual aspect house type. board and batten.5m. narrow fronted. and facing brick. unusually in this typology. which. uses curved roads to avoid repetitive and tedious views. WAITAKERE CITY The majority of units in this scheme are two storey three bedroom houses in terraced or detached type. The site plan includes two small pocket parks towards the north end of the site. The high parking ratio may be partly explained by the location. and space between the units of less than 1. with front access and attached garages. plaster finishes. and the major public recreation space in the district. but is adjacent to the West Auckland Marae. including metal sheet.

5m wide. one recent re– sale suggests that invested values are in line with other property values in the area.168 112 219 46 0. Carports behind this group reduce natural light to kitchen windows (which could have been placed on the gable walls) and front gardens tend to be dominated by washing lines. The refuse bags form an unsightly weekly event at the site entrance. Architect: Insite Architecture open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 19 parking ratio 1. WAITAKERE CITY The development is one of the early new generation medium density housing schemes in West Auckland. This compresses the site area available for four north facing units. and a better site services solution would have relieved most of the problems. The layout is compromised by the tapered shape of the site at the west end. All units are clad in timber products and thus avoid association with ‘leaky building’ external finishes. A slightly smaller development of seventeen units at a density of 41dph. and overshadowed. Most units have good orientation. and not stigmatised by the type of house offered. and affect the outlook from other properties on the street. in an otherwise pleasant. made possible by the assembly of under–used land at the rear of several properties fronting onto Arawa Street. Medium density classification is justified by proximity to New Lynn and the Fruitvale rail station. This significant design flaw could have been avoided by provision of a boxed compound at each exit. to which it is linked by a footpath at the bottom of the rail embankment on the southern edge of the site.51 . and also by the decision to provide a second exit at the east end. Bagged refuse is collected from the roadside at the exits onto Arawa Street.70 + - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 4. quiet residential environment. reducing the space the road needs clear of building. 3m wide driveways in and out of the site operate on a strict one–way basis. NEW LYNN. good access and parking.Case Studies 51 (10) ARAWA STREET. and a reasonable outlook. Proposals to double up the western rail link and increase rail traffic will affect the quiet environment of this development in the future. resulting in private space on the south side that is unacceptably small at 1.

inevitably small.55 places the layout in the middle of the density range. From observation.55 . and the small park. WAITAKERE CITY The density at 51dph and a FAR of 0. it is apparent that not all the residents use the front door access onto Oates Road. including washing lines. The seven frontage units are less practical in this respect. which diminish the quality of the streetscape. transparency to pedestrians. and partly to the use of a hybridised layout design resolving the main street frontage access to seven units by the use of rear garaging. have metal ‘pool’ fencing 1. The internal street also suffers from the garage doors. All properties. and to visitors parking on the street. while mail delivery is to individual properties. and the small private area adjacent to the front door not apparently functioning as a garden in all cases. the majority (18 of 25) with attached single garages not accessed from inside the units. GLEN EDEN.00 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 4. apparently well–used.52 Best practice in medium density housing design (11) OATES ROAD. at this density. despite its convenience for access to local amenities.2m high.941 108 198 51 0. This is partly due to the regular shape and dimensions of the site. and excellent security. but adequate for their purpose. Architect: Tse Group Architects [for HNZC] open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 25 parking ratio 2. The street form is a successful contribution to a more urban identity in Glen Eden. and rear access from open–sided garages within the curtilage approached from the two–way internal driveway. and at a high point for the layout type. The site includes a combined park and children’s playground on the west section of the front terrace. Rear gardens are. The Oates Road frontage on the south boundary is established by a terrace of seven houses with front doors and kitchen windows facing the road (south). the private garden space dominated by the back wall of the garage. Refuse is collected from both Oates Road entrances (no enclosures: informal on–street arrangement). and adding the important dimension of space to an otherwise compact development. In other respects it is an unremarkable scheme of two storey three bedroom houses. giving a slightly defensive impression but also clear definition.

and a high FAR at 0. In the Mt Taylor layout. The FAR figure is close to that of the Romola Street project designed by the same architects (case study 6). providing small open park areas perhaps in compensation for under–sized private gardens.78 . The project (not built) is included in the survey to illustrate the potential for mixed housing and architecturally complex design in this process. overlooking between houses in this instance controlled by care in site planning. in two storeys proved not to be capable of providing an acceptable residential environment: all external space. and some ground level areas are required for parking and manoeuvring of cars. if effected. two wedge shaped landscaped spaces articulate the site plan. This and the Romola Street scheme represent a distinctive and lively architecture characteristic of contemporary Auckland design. possibly anticipating later conversion to supplementary living space. reflecting minimal private open space proposed. with a group of twelve one and two bedroomed apartment units closing the site plan at the north end. This group has a local density of 96dph.78. would reduce the parking ratio.Case Studies 53 (12) MT TAYLOR DRIVE. The proposal consists of two and three storey terraces in linear form on a narrow site. AUCKLAND CITY Redevelopment in the area around Madeleine Avenue in Glendowie has included several experimental housing schemes. The balance of the layout has a density of 53dph. which.658 148 187 53 0. GLENDOWIE (PROJECT). Some house plans show single width garages with stacked parking plus one external visitor parking space. proposed as “innovative” solutions to urban housing at higher densities. and variation in unit design to prevent repetitive streetscape. which. Architect: Powley Architects no units 30 parking ratio 2.70 average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 5. They also propose housing at moderately high density with minimal external space.

The accommodation is standardised around a two bedroom plus study. open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection Architect: Tse Group Architects no units 45 parking ratio 2. and although details such as meter boxes.2m floor area.30 - + - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 8. and is now gated. the smaller 2 of two bedrooms has 9. and the back wall of the Lansford Crescent industrial area. single garage formula. AUCKLAND CITY The site lies between the edge of the Western Rail Link south of the Avondale Town Centre.0m frontages. Casual parking spaces occur intermittently along the road without dominating the space. Because of the linear site and terraced housing form. single bathroom. This is typical of land in the Auckland region now being considered for housing use. refuse bins. with some variations. previously not developed. The twelve units in these two blocks are penalised by this strategy: rear patio yards are heavily shadowed. The scheme is entirely built in timber framing with a plastered cladding system. in an 2 average size of 116m per unit. and steps to entrances are not all resolved. The project was built as an open development. too small to have practical value. there would appear to be minimal opportunity to achieve a reasonable residential environment. A version of the three storey townhouse type has been used in two short groups to screen the 6m high concrete block wall on the east boundary from the bulk of the site. with a manager resident on site. The benefit to the remaining 33 two storey houses is considerable. These are planned in short terraces following a curved central access road. Compensation is provided for the units affected by the use of a modified single aspect plan variant. In this context and the configuration of the site itself. the public side of the terraces generally produces a satisfactory urban housing environment.54 Best practice in medium density housing design (13) ST GEORGE’S TERRACE. AVONDALE.62 . Garage doors are recessed behind the front elevation line.427 116 187 53 0. with poor natural light on the east side of the house. There is a body corporate responsible for maintenance. balconied decks on the west elevation and 5. where back to back dimensions are too small. which is further enhanced by moderately dense and well maintained landscaping. overlooking is not a significant problem except for two short groups in the centre of the plan.

at this density. but would also have reduced the total number of units. Rear gardens are only accessible through the house in most cases: the site plan. Architect: Snell Kaiser Hale Ltd Designers open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 31 parking ratio 1. and the use of narrow fronted deep–planned house types. maintaining an active street elevation. The high density achieved is partly the result of small floor areas (allowing for integral garages. does not permit rear footpaths. Sliding doors are not supplied as self–closing. Overlooking is contained by the mix of types. These have a single aspect configuration at first floor made possible by the third bedroom being accessed from the living room on the ground floor. WAITAKERE CITY The third site selected in the Harbour View development consists of 31 houses in a rectilinear plan form.Case Studies 55 (14) GUNNER DRIVE. Kitchens are placed next to the front entrance in this plan. The ‘C’ type is a two bedroom plus ‘study’ on the upper floor. with a poorly planned ground floor internal kitchen and under–sized living room. Consequently. the net habitable space 2 averages 95m for three bedroom houses). or air–tight fittings.076 114 164 61 0.70 Type C: Ground floor plan .90 - - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 5. HARBOUR VIEW. the exception being in the use of the ‘C’ variation (a dual aspect narrow front type) used for the group of three in the centre of the block—the single aspect unit would have overcome back to back overlooking. According to approved drawings a sliding door unit is used between the garage and the living room. representing a conventional arrangement of medium density housing on a straightforward flat rectangular land parcel. This scheme achieves minimum standards of private and public space without providing any degree of separation between pedestrian and vehicular space. an internal ground floor bathroom is necessary with access from the living room and headroom partly restricted by the stair.

including courtyard housing with equal private open space and garaging amenity. some landscaping. the inclusion of this development in the study is justified by an experimental site design. particularly the New Urbanist group in the USA. Architect: Architectus Architects [for HNZC] open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 16 parking ratio 2. GLENDOWIE. and front doors. AUCKLAND CITY The section of the development reviewed in this study is limited to the rear access terrace of sixteen units. with casual parking.56 Best practice in medium density housing design (15) ROWENA CRESCENT. thus creating the possibility of an urban street dominated by active and continuous facades. but remains within the property curtilage. The garage is normally separated from the house. as in this scheme. site dimensions have allowed an extended garden area and thus a distance between garage and house that would appear to be too great. however. suggest criticism of the scheme. In this instance.28 . and appears to satisfy the objectives of the design.01 + + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 6. Some detail of the units themselves. The street side of the houses. Private garden or patio space between the two. rather than housing at medium density. The rear access layout type is discussed further in Section 6. are less satisfactory.570 116 410 24 0. Low density housing in the immediate vicinity determines a relatively low density layout on this site (24 dph). This comment does not. such as patio doors to the garden side serving the rear access determined by the layout. windows. and the stepped terrace elevation. At this density other layout types could have been considered. but recognises the experiment undertaken. The removal of the garage to the back ‘liberates’ the street frontage by separating the main public elevation and the front door from the main car access. Rear access from semi–private or private rear lanes is endorsed by many housing designers overseas. is a successful and welcome variation in a typical low–density Auckland suburb. and separation of the extended function of the garage from the house promises a diversity in practical use that usually cannot be offered by the attached garage model.

The internal wall of the garage is fitted with glazed doors opening into the courtyard. and delayed for several years after the first block was occupied. with the formal house frontage facing a public street. The house type used succeeds in bridging the transition to the residential character of new housing to the north and west. WAITAKERE CITY The first phase of this group.58 . In the second stage. Ground floor plan: North Block Benefits to the public street side (both stages) include full use of the frontage without the interruptions of garage doors or vehicular pavement crossings. and improved pedestrian safety creating a wholly pedestrian environment. The site is adjacent to a small commercial area. The lane is separated from the adjoining garage court (serving another development) by a robust fence. Internally the house type used in the first stage is conventional in plan. without significant recognition of the connection to the garden and garage. not yet completed. or use likely to be made of the ‘back’ door. HARBOUR VIEW. adopting the principle of rear access from a private lane. In this development the front street is the boundary of a small public park. The design has the potential to offer live/work accommodation. Architect: Richard Lambourne open space (public) open space (private) refuse security collection privacy parking identity + no units 13 parking ratio 2. and is inevitably a low quality space.Case Studies 57 (16) TUSCANY WAY. with insufficient allowance in the planning for planting or variation to the aesthetic of continuous metal doors.539 157 272 37 0.00 + + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 3. with a corridor connection between the two parts. Orientation places the garden at the back on the northerly side of the terrace. the plan arrangement is modified to form a small courtyard between a large double garage and the house. The rear access lane is entirely hard surfaced. which reinforces perceptions of high security but also regrettably doubles the driveway surface. four two storey three bedroom terraced houses was built as an experiment in layout typology.

All units have a rear accessed carport or car parking space. The site is close to the Botany Downs shopping centre. with no integral garage. and for lower market positioning. particularly for perimeter buildings enclosing a communal space. with reduced numbers of crossings and few garage doors. The frontage to the external streets. (ii) a dual aspect front access three bedroom type. with off–set or stepped plans used at corners. MANUKAU CITY Two stages of this scheme are included in this review to offer a comparison of densities achievable in hybrid layouts with mixed house types. The majority of units are accessed from the site boundary and there are two variations. and a tennis court. closer to a representative figure for two storey mixed housing. of 76m2. some of which do not have attached garaging. perceptions of spaciousness and good distance between terraces. in other respects. A communal pool with a changing pavilion. open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units parking ratio 2. but the generous central space provides some compensation. BOTANY DOWNS.40 average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 13. Private gardens are very small.36 Architect: Powley Architects 46 . The development has a density of 34dph. succeeds in providing a good interface with the public realm. entered from either side with parking either side or more distant (40% of the total). Density is determined by use of two main house types: (i) dual aspect/dual access two storey two bedroom unit. plus visitor space. this figure includes a 2 large public open space of 2900m . If the public space is deducted the density calculation increases to 44dph.440 113 292 34 0. and approximately 138m2 floor area (60% of the total). this scheme also provides a comparison with case studies 20 and 21. This type can be used in either principal (north. and overlooking in the corner sites is pronounced. There are few such examples in recent Auckland medium density developments. or east–west) orientation. which is also traversed by a public footpath from the perimeter road.58 Best practice in medium density housing design (17) SACRAMENTO 1A. provide public space in the centre of the layout. with an integral single garage. However. relatively low for a terraced housing layout.

5m) the lane is dominated by garage doors with variation provided by open sided carports and seventeen further accommodation units in the form of studio apartments built over double garages. (b) A core area of the site contains 50 detached and 2 terraced units on smaller lots varying from 300m to 2 160m . The average density of the development is approximately 22dph. and formal architectural detail responding to order in rank and position in the site layout. the studios accessed from external stairs entered from the service lane. which includes a children’s playground.800 277 37 - . landscaping organised in geometric patterns. The development succeeds in generating a strong sense of communality in the central area. an ‘activity’ area. while the core density reaches approximately 37 dph. carefully planned mixed unit housing scheme that combines suburban and urban streetscapes. Partly because of the narrow lot widths (minimum 4. PENNANT HILLS ROAD. SYDNEY This project is an example of a commercial mixed density sub–division that combines three separate layout principles: (a) a perimeter access road serving a lower density 2 detached unit house type. while the character of the perimeter road is not distinguishable from any average suburban street in the area. All units front either the perimeter road or the central ‘village green’ public open space and are accessed from a privately owned rear service lane.Case Studies 59 (18) OATLANDS DEVELOPMENT. on approximately 500m lots. and a ‘passive’ recreation space. axes. (c) The whole development is planned in accordance with some of the New Urbanist principles: pedestrian systems. This strategy provides the development as a whole with a reducing scale of lot sizes to form a boundary to surrounding low density housing. and also retains 27 high value houses to sell. but with an inactive east façade to the park. Oatlands is a sophisticated. A three storey block of 24 apartments with underground parking encloses the central public space. The layout includes two small parks. Architect: Stanton Dahl Haysom Spender open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 140 parking ratio - + + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 64.

included. The site was the first of several stages of medium density development carried out by Lend Lease Homes in the area around Macquarie Park. MACQUARIE PARK. All houses in the scheme have small private gardens or patios on both sides of the unit.5 + + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 8. and to illustrate a twenty year old design that has matured and improved as a living environment. All units are two storey. A high standard of privacy is achieved by pedestrian–only access to most units. seen in this analysis as the product of density of less than 40dph. the majority (25 of 35) with two large bedrooms and a ground floor bathroom in addition to a ‘two–way entry’ bathroom on the upper floor. and the acceptance of separate car storage and parking.60 Best practice in medium density housing design (19) FONTENOY ROAD.900 107 254 39 0. the house areas are small. and the efforts made by the designers to articulate the otherwise uniform elevations to the public side.44 . Three bedroom units are designed with a second bathroom on the bedroom floor. As in the case of the Ewenton Street scheme. a large central space occupied by the driveway. The terraces are connected by steps responding to a sloping site. and reflect the space standards applicable at the time rather than current Australian standards. SYDNEY Fontenoy Road is the oldest example reviewed in the study. a difficult boundary configuration and a steep slope to the north east have resulted in some units being disadvantaged for access from the higher driveway in the centre of the plan. without alteration or significant re–investment over the period. Others have direct access from parking or temporary unloading space: garages and carports are generally a short walking distance from the house unit. along with Ewenton Street (case study 25) to reflect the greater familiarity of Australian housing designers with the design of medium density housing. On this site. and by dense landscaping. Architect: Lend Lease Homes (Architects) 1983 open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 35 parking ratio 1. all of which have been completed at similar densities to Fontenoy Road.

included in the conventions of this type of unit are one bedroom units with a combined entry space/kitchen/bathroom access located on the south side of the unit. but at the expense of back spaces heavily dominated by vehicle parking.Case Studies 61 (20) CAROLINA PLACE. The cause of the problem is the concentration of similar house types and a high parking ratio for this size of unit: a mix of types and a lower density would offer other and better layout options. the layout has consistency. of which the first. that is. ALBANY. NORTH SHORE CITY The scheme designed for this rectangular site consists of a two stage development. Internally. from two bedroom 2 duplexes. The scheme is compared with the adjoining development accessed from Bush Road (case study 21).300 59 191 52 . Shared external stairs provide access to upper units. Architect: Sigma Planners. to one and two bedroom apartments of 50m . Architects & Designers open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 33 parking ratio 1. with each double sided parking block located adjacent to the dwellings served. forming a pocket park with a pool and 2 poolhouse/gym of 80m for common use. Units vary in size and (presumably) market level. identity of individual units is sought through the frequently used device of small pitched gables added decoratively to front and back terrace elevations. which create a barrier between this scheme and adjoining housing. Parking is one covered carport for each unit.97 - - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 6. of two “U” shaped courtyards with parking to each side. This is a small unit development in a two and three storey building form. remote from the dwelling. All parking is outside the property curtilage. plus one open parking space. Internal planning is conventional with all units having views onto the central space.31 Ground floor plan: Typical 1-bedroom unit . is considered here. with 33 units. To break down the repetitive character of the building blocks. The site plan shows both phases of the development to clarify the planning strategy. The central public open space is landscaped.

because of a cross–over plan type used in the two storey apartment planning.86 - - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 18. This is achieved without sacrifice of public open space. on the east–west facing blocks private open space is possible at ground level. Inevitably the internal road is entirely dominated by parking and carports. This arrangement raises problems of sound transmission.33). curiously. and upper floor balconies overlook rear patio gardens to bedroom windows. occupies a small courtyard which also provides access to the two lower units. Parking is remote from the dwelling curtilage. The layout strategy is different. A three bedroom ground floor unit (type C) has one bedroom looking into this courtyard. overlooked by no more than half of all units. The central public space is. with a comparable parking standard and FAR (0. similar to 2 Carolina Place (60m ). alongside the Sacramento development (Stage B).31 and 0. This scheme has building and active elevations on its boundaries rather than tarmac and vehicles. has social significance. open space (public) open space (private) 2 privacy parking identity refuse security collection Architect: Powley Architects + no units 105 parking ratio 1.750 60 178 56 0. Upper units are arranged in pairs sharing a staircase. surrounded by gardens.33 . and orientation on the north–south blocks. it is necessary to avoid lower floor living rooms on the same side looking directly into the carports lining the internal road. In addition. A lower parking ratio and a wider mix of unit types would improve the residential environment. which. and high parking ratios demanded by the developer. NORTH SHORE CITY The Bush Road development is similar to the Carolina Place scheme in density. for projects aiming to provide low cost housing for younger buyers. placing living rooms at first floor over bedrooms (in a separate title) below. Each of these projects has been designed to address layout issues generated by large numbers of small units. ALBANY. the central public space has a tennis court and a pool. As with the Carolina scheme. which reverses lower to upper plans. The stair. Density achieved in a two–storey development is 56 dph. and for the focus on small unit sizes.62 Best practice in medium density housing design (21) BUSH ROAD. market price expectations at lower levels. it is included to provide a comparison. The average unit size in this project is 59m . reducing security and the practical value of attached garaging. at ground level.

870 89 161 62 0.60 average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 12. The scheme was granted consent in 2001 as an ‘innovative housing’ development under the terms of the Auckland City Council District Plan.6. The layout proposes terraced housing spaced 15m apart with parking on one or both sides of the private access driveway.55 . despite a parking ratio of only 1. from a central amenity. Public spaces are indicated in three positions on the perimeter of the site plan. Characteristically in this layout type the house entrance is separated from the parking space or carport by a public footpath. at a density of 62 dph and a FAR of . the majority proposed two or three bedroomed two storey terraced type with an average floor 2 area of 89m . At the site entrance five semi–detached units with double garages add another house type variation. AUCKLAND CITY This is a proposed development of 80 houses on disused industrial land adjacent to Avondale College sports grounds with access from Holly Street. Part of the internal roading is proposed as a public road.55. as far into the site as necessary for collection.Case Studies 63 (22) HOLLY STREET. and the public side of all dwellings is thus dominated by vehicles. AVONDALE (PROJECT). in an area of low density quarter acre section housing. without nominated recreational uses or children’s play areas. The site has a deep hollow in the central section affecting the outlook of fourteen of the units proposed. House types vary. Architect: Andrew J MacGregor Architect no units 80 parking ratio 1. of refuse.

approx. published in Architecture Australia. private open space.18 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 3. that originate in a brief that required diversity in accommodation. 85(4). but can be classified here as a hybrid remote parking type since six of the nineteen units are entered directly from the site boundaries rather than from within the site. open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 19 parking ratio 1. in a small development. The project demonstrates the possibilities. and good environmental amenity. illustrates a layout that achieves high standards of privacy. It is also noted that the layout is governed by climatic considerations (emphasising shade. and cross ventilation for summer cooling) appropriate to the tropical location rather than Auckland’s temperate climate. The site planning. 55m ) are placed on the second floor along the southern edge of the site. and identity of individual units at a high point on the medium density scale. building heights taper down from three storeys on this boundary to single storey units on the northern frontage.64 Best practice in medium density housing design (23) COTTONTREE. however. The project has received awards for design. have small patio gardens and secure parking adjacent to their entrances. Architects Photographs by Richard Stringer.572 197 63 . Fourteen of the nineteen units are entered at ground level. 1996. BRISBANE This development is a type of cluster layout. variety in unit value. Architect: Clare Design. The 2 smallest units (one bedroom.

the front elevation includes a glazed door (the ‘front’ or main entry door) 2 and a ventilating window of 0. small off– sets in the road layout.00 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 9. The remaining 41 units are planned with entrance through a hallway/kitchen with side access to the stair. Refuse collection has been well designed and planned. except for front entry to the living room. The scheme is included to demonstrate the limitations of the layout type in which density of development in two storeys does not permit garaging within the individual property curtilage. All the terraces are oriented (by the site boundaries) to face northwest or northeast. but uncompromisingly car dominated public space.350 75 153 65 0. with a container discreetly located at the front of the development. in this case the kitchen. The internal plan is not. MOUNT ALBERT. monotype development of two bedroomed terraced houses with carport parking adjacent to the unit. AUCKLAND CITY The development was completed in 2001. one of five such sites in this study. which is consequently both dark and unventilated. Considerable effort has been made in this project to soften the internal street. The principal variation is the house type used on the southern boundary for twenty units. The scheme is gated. The first floor is conventionally planned with two bedrooms and a central mechanically ventilated bathroom. by butterfly roofs to carports.25m for the laundry. the layout is a dedicated. which provides a front patio garden in addition to space behind the terrace. and heavy landscaping and planting.49 . but no window to the kitchen area. however.Case Studies 65 (24) SOLJAK PLACE. and a laundry space but no ground floor toilet. modified for this condition. which achieves its objectives to form a pleasant. To preserve privacy to ground floor public side rooms. Apart from a small recreation space in the north corner. and a small front or rear private garden. on a site next to the western rail corridor. Architect: Powley Architects Ground floor plan: Typical unit open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 61 parking ratio 2. emptied by vehicle mounted hoist.

71 . Architect: Philip Cox Richardson Taylor and Partners open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 38 parking ratio 1. The high density figure and the high quality of the residential environment is achieved by the inclusion of a naturally ventilated single storey underground garage providing all parking for the 38 units on the site (shown broken line on plan). workshops. Judd (1993) comments that the position of the garage favours some units over others: there is a considerable walk required for some householders. The majority of the mesh–enclosed garage lock–ups are not used for cars but for storage. Fifteen years after construction it is observed (2004) that the development has matured into a comfortable. Only seven of the houses in the development have three 2 bedrooms. Evidence of current resale prices suggests parity with other property in the area.50 + - + + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 5. and hobby activities.669 107 150 66 0. Houses facing onto the two street frontages (Ewenton and Darling Streets) are two storey square plan two bedroomed townhouses with rooms on the upper floors contained in roof space with dormer windows.66 Best practice in medium density housing design (25) EWENTON ST. Unit dimensions are not available for a more detailed footprint calculation. including a stair. The layout consists of a perimeter two storey terrace of housing enclosing an internal public courtyard defined by 225mm brick screen walls and planters. Refuse collection is from a single point in the development. a walled. to satisfy the heritage context. gated compound adjoining the Ewenton Street footpath entrance. reflected in the low average size of 107m . reflecting the high accessibility of public transport available in Sydney. high quality environment. The central landscaped areas. SYDNEY This two storey development is located in an inner suburb where regeneration is occurring by a process of infilling and small scale redevelopment in accordance with an intensification policy. in two courtyards are surrounded by private patio gardens accessed from the units. BALMAIN.

10 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 10. Developer contributions were negotiated against the benefit to the city of some aspects of the development. are paramount concerns partly explained by the scheme being an early intervention in this part of the city. The majority of the house types used are without internal garaging: cars are parked in front of units with security provided by surveillance from the house and the street. The scheme is included to provide a comparison with others at a similar density. provide diversity and identity. by individual electronic alarms. AUCKLAND CITY The first stage of this development occupies formerly commercial land near the city centre. in an underground garage. both internally and externally. Density at 69dph is aided by the inclusion of eight apartments in a central block also containing a small area of lettable commercial floor space. The scheme includes a gym/pool reflecting the market standard. A range of facing materials. Small courtyards. patios and rear yards separate house fronts from public spaces which vary in character and planting. and by the use of five main variations in the house type. for the majority. Privacy and security. painted brickwork and stained timber. secure remote parking. without being ostentatious or expensive. zincalume. Finishes are of uniformly high quality.Case Studies 67 (26) BEAUMONT QUARTER. and the standard of urban space achieved. including pressed aluminium. The scheme demonstrates some of the potential of medium density housing by the mixed development strategy. expressed in the external detailing of louvres. Architect: Studio of Pacific Architecture & S333 open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 70 parking ratio 1. or. preventing a later move to enclose the public areas.150 n/a 145 69 n/a . The louvres also provide solar control. and has high annual maintenance charges levied through the body corporate. Later stages will alter the density (achieved in this stage by adopting underground remote parking strategies) for a high class urban housing solution.

4 to 1. alongside set–backs. however. without offering a convincing demonstration of the typology at this density. and a colour scheme based on traditional mexican shades reinforces the chosen style. left).900 74 138 72 0. Ground floor external spaces—patios between the apartment and the rear carport enclosure—generally lack sun and privacy. with parking on both sides of the roadway. Façade design provides variation. the 2 average unit size is reduced from 113 to 74m .68 Best practice in medium density housing design (27) SACRAMENTO 1B. EAST TAMAKI. increases the net density to 72 dph. and the omission of public space. 21). 2 approximately 44m . despite the lower ratio.64. rather than contained in the garage court as in Stage 1. calculating the bedspace/hectare ratio also increases the effective density (163 maximum in Stage 1 to 191 maximum in Stage 2). MANUKAU CITY [See general notes: case study 17] The second phase of this scheme re–uses three of the previous house types. in terms of the residential environment achieved. The one bedroom units are entered from external stairs located between units. but adds another. which are oriented north or west. smaller unit type: a one bedroom apartment in a two storey block: “Arizona”. The central spaces within the site are entirely car–dominated. This small unit. add an entry–level market option for first time buyers. with living room over living room (compare to case studies 20.53 . Architect: Powley Architects open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 50 parking ratio 1. the second stage necessitates the majority of parking for the small units to be located off the main access through the site.64 average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 6. The apartment unit does. Identity is secured by these methods. This causes upper decks to overlook ground level garden areas (bottom photo. Some ground level enclosed space is used for covered parking. More critically. and the parking ratio from 2. The stairs lead to balconies shared between two upper units.

non–secure parking cavities beneath a larger building mass. The scheme has been reviewed in the Architecture NZ journal. AUCKLAND CITY This development is located next to the large and expanding shopping facility serving the Lynfield District.66 . suggesting that a critical mass factor has potential in the typology. typically commercial. Architect: Woodhams Meikle Architects [for HNZC] open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 51 parking ratio 1. necessitating the 12 centrally placed carports and their access through the centre of the layout. The project is included because it illustrates innovative site planning and the quality of a housing environment possible where larger schemes are undertaken and are driven by a singular design philosophy. including those from Hillsborough Road. and is reminiscent of a form. of unenclosed. Topography and access dictated the position of the garage on the west boundary. LYNFIELD. Despite this compromise. and other media. the development is able to exploit the low parking ratio required in housing for the elderly to achieve a high quality and relaxed example of housing at higher densities.Case Studies 69 (28) HILLSBOROUGH ROAD. The decision to separate the bulk of parking in a lower level naturally ventilated garage has had the effect of liberating internal site space at ground level to produce a landscape– dominated environment.00 average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 6. The west elevation consequently exposes the basement garage to external views of the development.175 79 118 85 0. All units are spacious by comparison with private sector apartments. and planned with care and consideration for elderly residents. The site context consists of an arterial road frontage dominated by commercial uses. and the retaining wall over– shadowing north facing units on the eastern corner. where details have been fairly widely publicised. This distances the parking from accommodation on the east side of the site.

Unit sizes are similar. Architect: not known open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 22 parking ratio 2. The two terraces of housing enclose a 16. an unfortunate location in that it affects perceptions of quality in the rest of the development. with a ground floor kitchen on the street or public side of the block overlooking parking on both sides of the central space.70 Best practice in medium density housing design (29) 2 AMBRICO PLACE. 2 in this case a two storey two bedroomed 77m plan. The blocks are articulated on alternate party walls by small set-backs and steps which are intended to provide some visual relief to an otherwise monotonous elevation. but mostly the result of ruthlessly efficient use of land.0m wide concreted access roadway and parking space (the dimension recommended in the Waitakere City Council design guide). Density is considered to be the primary explanation for this low standard. it offers a lower priced alternative to the earlier scheme but at the cost of a severe reduction in quality of the residential environment. WAITAKERE CITY This development is included in the review to provide a comparison with projects 22 and 24. which it post–dates. A few of the householders have erected car ports which contribute a small element of variation in a barren public space. partly because of a regular site boundary.00 - - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 2. and the site is classified by parking layout as a comparable scheme. The density is over 30% higher than the two most similar schemes. NEW LYNN.67 . in which landscaping is entirely absent. The scheme borders the Tuscany Towers development. Internal planning of the units is conventional. The scheme exceeds the density limits compatible with good residential design for this layout type. Accepting the principle of market variety. The site dominates the entrance to Ambrico Place.538 77 115 87 0.

and is equipped with a pergola and a petanque court The centre block (Block B) uses a variation of the three storey townhouse type that illustrates an aspect of the evolution of the type in recent local examples: the ground level plan provides a double length (stacked) garage connected to an entrance hallway by a sliding door.77 . justifying higher density housing by location.Case Studies 71 (30) MOKOIA ROAD. with a slope of 5m to the south west.95 + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 4358 141 182 55 0. to offer different unit sizes and accommodation packages. minimally. all units have a double stack garage plus a parking space. since views from both other blocks are obstructed. Turning and access driveways between the two higher blocks is landscaped to form an acceptable. sufficient to use the dual aspect plan. An unusually high percentage of the site area is not privately owned. but car–dominated area. the length of the façade. and is maintained to a high standard. accessed from the garage. which appears to have been deleted on the first and third blocks. Allowing all parking indicated on the site plan. the development provides a high ratio of three spaces per unit and three additional visitor spaces. The original drawings indicated a rear room at this level. The small park between Blocks B and C is a tapered plan. Blocks are stepped and decorated at parapet level to articulate. Two refuse collection compounds are provided. Three variations of the townhouse plan type are used. there are views of Auckland City and the upper Waitemata Harbour. NORTH SHORE CITY The site is adjacent to commercial developments. Architect: Hornby Architects open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection + no units 24 parking ratio 2. but a repetitive and unvaried elevation is not significantly affected by this move. The three storey house type used is a deep plan version aligned in east–west blocks to maximise solar access. The spectacular prospect of the upper harbour benefits only the lowest rank of the three blocks. BIRKENHEAD.

In this instance. not tied to normal residential regulations by location on Business zoned sites. ONEHUNGA. AUCKLAND CITY This development is included to represent numerous examples of small housing schemes in this and other parts of the region. and where mixed uses might have produced a better design for the developer as well as the wider community.620 172 163 61 1. These are understood by most to be typical of the medium density housing typology. Architect: Anthony Davis Architects open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 16 parking ratio 2. affected by height to boundary regulations on the south side.00 - - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 2. The internal planning is extremely confused and impractical. Front entrances are adjacent to the garage double door at road level. two rows of more or less identical three storey blocks. the diagrammatic and barrack–like site layout seeks no advantage from the slope of the site. the second looking at the back of the first. approached from the vehicular access. The forward (northern) block at least has a half level connection from the first floor living spaces to the garden. Refuse is collected from wheeled bins parked at the site entrances. Infill developments. using a step in the land slope.72 Best practice in medium density housing design (31) GALWAY STREET. The scheme is an instructive example of the internal difficulties in planning three storey house types. have been permitted.05 . There is little to say in defence of development of this quality. which is tarmac. have occurred in a fairly piecemeal pattern. public doubt about higher density housing is likely to be reinforced by such schemes.

This strategy sacrifices higher parking provision to achieve higher density and results in a congested ground level space lacking any significant pedestrian domain. ensuring good standards of sound and fire insulation.389 134 135 74 1. A tilt slab construction system has been used. similar to others of this type in recent Auckland developments. supplemented by the public street in front of the development. The floor plans vary between 2 blocks. With few exceptions (case study 30 is one) these schemes demonstrate the limitations of the house type: all developments of this type are characterised by poor standards of privacy. Street level entrances with deep north or west facing first floor decks provide weather protection to one third of the houses. part of the Ambrico Place development.12 - - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 3. and impractical internal planning. AMBRICO PLACE.Case Studies 73 (32) KRISLEY COURT.01 . NEW LYNN. WAITAKERE CITY This site. uses a version of the three storey townhouse type and is planned at a lower density than the two storey project opposite.12 vehicles per unit. averaging 134m per unit including a single garage and a ground floor rear bedroom. with internal structures in timber framing. On–site car parking is limited to 1. At the time of development these houses were the lowest priced new units in the area. car-dominated access. poor or non-existent public space. Architect: not known open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 25 parking ratio 1. The triangular site has a boundary to the Western Rail Corridor on the northwest side.

and with a 7. also has a minimum dimension of less than 2.83 .0m. open on one side for the western block. WAITAKERE CITY The Keeling Road development is a variation on the three storey townhouse type.0m. Laundry facilities are on the first floor.85m. with short dimensions of under 2.330 88 106 94 0. All internal habitable spaces are under–sized for practical or comfortable use: 2 2 the top floor bedrooms are 9. Ground floor plan: Typical unit This scheme demonstrates both the shortcomings of the type of house used. Public space on the site is principally the roadway.50 - + average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 2. and a low parking ratio of 1. Market prices at the time of sale were the lowest for new houses in the area. A rear room at ground floor level. HENDERSON. Although housing at this density falls outside the density range. and the constraints this type imposes on site planning. The dimension between party walls is 3. producing an internal garage width of less than 3. Architect: ADC Architects open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 22 parking ratio 1.0m and 6. this scheme illustrates a number of points useful to the study. which includes a toilet accessed from the room. in this case with a density of 94dph made possible by a two bedroom top floor plan based on 2 floor plate areas of approximately 31m .6m wide space between the other two blocks. requiring a sliding door between the hall and the garage. Overlooking is unavoidable.7m respectively.2m long. The total floor area of 88m including the garage is not adequate for a three bedroom townhouse unit.5. while the garage 2 itself is less than 5.74 Best practice in medium density housing design (33) KEELING ROAD. Private external space is accessible only through the garage and the back room.0m. entered through the garage.

90 - - - - average total site unit area density 1: density 2: density 3: 2 2 2 area (m ) (m ) m /unit dph FAR 6. The FAR at Eden 1. Entry to units from this street are unceremoniously industrial in their presentation. is an early example of the advantage taken of ‘Business’ zoning in Auckland City Council. open space (public) open space (private) privacy parking identity refuse security collection no units 83 parking ratio 1. privacy distances.Case Studies 75 (34) EDEN 1. to build high density housing without need of compliance with standard residential design controls. on Enfield Street in Mt Eden. is the highest in the survey. which indicates a need for a building form of at least four storeys. AUCKLAND CITY Eden 1. bedroom windows on the back pavement line at street level—all typical and symptomatic of detail design issues in the typology of medium density housing. Use of this access is necessarily highly disciplined. MT EDEN. but it is included to illustrate the limitations of the three storey timber–framed townhouse option for medium density housing.36 .36. there has been criticism of errors including balconies overhanging public footpaths on the perimeter. Internal semi–public streets are no more than continuous walls of facing garage doors separated by a 6m wide driveway of tarmac. as well as solar access. the density places the scheme well outside the remit for this study. and with underground parking a necessary corollary of good design for public and/or private open space within the layout. This loophole has been exploited by several development companies in the past decade. at 1. The development would not have been permitted in any Australian city or in the UK at the time it was built. and acceptable relationships to the surrounding neighbourhood. Eden 1 also exhibits many of the problems associated with higher density urban housing: apart from construction defects relating to the monolithic cladding system. Architect: Richard Priest Architects. At 125 dph.641 109 80 125 1.


660 1.072 1.71 n/a 0.55 2.163 1.652 8.352 1.870 3.538 4.440 64.770 6.01 2.44* 2.742 8.248 10.080 107 59 60 89 1.934 9.439 2.66 0.430 2.690 3.233 392 n/a 612 1.800 4.042 553 338 791 351 221 1.155 1.772 10.55 0.287 2.97 1.955 1.936 6.166 1.619 778 2.5 1.36 2.393 1.768 20.039 75 107 n/a 2.18 1.350 5.58 0.Best practice in medium density housing design 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 average unit area (m†) 179 142 118 Case Studies 9 site coverage building footprint (m†) 2.279 ACC (Aus) ACC 21 30 13 44 27 3 12 2 56 52 38 0 48 32 25 22 159 641 1.56 0.12 1.150 6.287 1.203 5 3 4 1 3 1 1 1 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 3.10 1.274 16 17 18 19 20 No. footpath (m†) 655 1.300 18.389 2.10 2.00 1.70 2.728 3.856 2.686 24.516 city WCC MCC WCC date of approval 1998 2002 2004 2003 2001 2002 1998 1998 2004 1996 2002 2001 2000 1999 2001 1998 2001 2003 1983 1999 1999 2001 1995 2000 1990 2002 1999 2001 1997 2002 1997 1997 2000 1997 market indicator 4 4 2 3 2 5 3 3 3 2 3 5 3 3 2 4 3 4 site layout classification 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 5.495 4.44 0.170 1.59 0.658 8.675 4.619 590 2.790 1.394 2.140 6.198 2 storeys (%) 100 100 100 69 68 69 72 100 64 100 100 50 60 100 100 100 100 83 100 62 100 100 3 storeys (%) 31 32 31 28 36 50 40 17 0 38 - car parks outdoor 22 13 98 99 130 2 114 4 116 16 25 26 59 27 17 3 63 n/a car parks indoor 19 56 77 83 98 26 143** 44 94 17 25 56 45 31 16 23 47 57 hard surface area (m†) 941 1.67 0.427 5.693 4.49 0.076 6.900 6.799 971 1.175 2.324 WCC WCC 1.707 13.312 7.86 1.024 74 79 77 141 172 134 88 109 MCC ACC WCC NSCC ACC WCC WCC ACC .127 2.52 0.330 6.539 13. units 19 30 89 83 98 13 97 22 94 19 25 30 45 31 16 13 46 140 35 33 105 80 19 61 38 70 50 51 22 24 16 25 22 83 total site area (m†) 5.770 100 100 82 100 72 100 4 18 12 0 18 28 100 100 96 82 88 124 56 1.358 2.850 2.418 1.376 2.40 1.609 2.50 1.508 6.536 1.821 4.599 - 77 12 13 14 driveway area incl.090 234 325 1.83 1.800 8.52 0.941 5.00 2.750 12.18 2.36 0.61 1.085 631 390 168 572 351 39 162 26 1.31 0.51 0.833 904 ACC ACC WCC ACC 720 39 756 759 WCC ACC - - - (Aus) (Aus) 33 144 115 32 51 10 3.64 1.60 1.600 20.958 4.139 839 3.20 2.570 3.20 total floor area (m†) 3.53 0.95 2.00 2.620 3.90 4.477 192 1.08 2.220 3.168 4.00 2.211 n/a 2.23 1.400 4.360 10 11 15 outdoor car parking area (m†) 286 169 1.881 1.972 NSCC NSCC ACC (Aus) 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 0.00 1.30 2.05 1.950 418 - WCC WCC ACC WCC WCC WCC 0.62 0.5 1.717 26 52 1.900 6.77 1. site and street name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 Vinograd D r Adelphi Villa s Seymour Rd Corban Village Fairhaven Romola S t Tuscany Tower s Melvie w Albion Vale Arawa St Oates Rd Mt Taylor D r St George s Terrac e Gunner Dr Rowena Cres Tuscany Wa y Sacramento 1 A Oatland s Fontenoy Rd Carolina Pl Bush Rd Holly S t Cottontree Soljak Pl Ewenton S t Beaumont Quarte r Sacramento 1B Hillsborough Rd 2 Ambrico Pl Mokoia Rd Galway S t Krisley Cour t Keeling Road Eden 1 no.70 0.017 2.452 3.501 9.90 2.33 0.135 24.73 0.28 0.728 1.612 3.572 9.113 10.140 23.086 2.43 parking ratio 2.252 6.70 2.574 4.00 2.108 1.30 2.641 density 1: m2/unit 302 271 273 249 252 242 237 227 221 219 198 187 187 164 410 272 292 277 254 191 178 161 197 153 150 145 138 118 115 182 163 135 106 80 density 2: dph 33 37 37 40 40 41 42 44 45 46 51 53 53 61 24 37 34 37 39 52 56 62 63 65 66 69 72 85 87 55 61 74 94 125 density 3: FAR 0.651 2.433 5.443 141 176 130* 126 115 112 108 148 116 114 116 157 113 3.30 1.752 3.783 2.669 10.667 1.042 5.292 12.732 2.181 4.00 0.01 0.78 0.

6 Discussion and Conclusions .

(ii) Planning strategies to consolidate urban growth pre–suppose a higher density housing form that. This leads to a progressively higher level of discomfort in the environment as a whole. building detail. diversity (apparent or actual) in built form and mix. This section discusses the issues that emerge from the case studies. thereby constructing a critical template for the analysis. Different developments exhibit these characteristics of medium density housing to different degrees. Three clear points from the context and literature review (Sections 2 and 3) provide the platform for this section: (i) Medium density housing has developed in the last decade as a common housing typology. external private space. at this stage. the public domain. at about the same density. quality.80 Best practice in medium density housing design DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS Introduction The case study review indicates that medium density housing in New Zealand is highly varied. By classifying all case studies according to the four principal layout types. wide–ranging in quality. and develops a profile for a New Zealand model for medium density housing design at different levels of density. Secondary indicators are landscaping. in turn suggesting that personal security and individual identity are also reduced. In all medium density housing there is an element of compromise relating to house type. The sense of crowding in some of the case studies generates the perception that privacy is reduced or lost altogether. Density and Layout Type Density has been taken in this study as the principal quantifiable ‘indicator of difference’ between housing developments that are similar in other respects. The layout types are therefore discussed in order. and construction costs. exposure of private open space to overlooking. For this reason the case study comments and some of the discussion in this section necessarily focus on areas in which the most significant compromises are identified. A larger and more positive use of the same devices occurs in the Fontenoy Rd scheme (case study 19. while Fairhaven achieves a slightly higher density by use of the three storey house type. a Type 2 layout). and evidence of care taken in the maintenance of public space. comparisons can be made between developments with the same layout type at similar densities. and (iii) Research and other literature on medium density housing in New Zealand is limited in scope. but is not foreign to the urban culture of New Zealand. where most units do not . sometimes at very similar (quantified) densities. Layout Type 1: Case studies 1–14 At the lower end of the density scale two schemes of similar size and layout type. which is associated with ‘density’. Most of the examples included in the study have some merits in at least one area. Seymour Rd (caser study 3) and Fairhaven (case study 5) offer a comparison based on density: Seymour Rd uses rear access parking for part of the layout. arrangements for refuse collection. car access. and as summarised in the data chart. Variations in the type of layout used are considered to partly account for such differences. and different layout types at similar densities (where overlaps occur in density levels). and quantity. lacks any clear definition or preferred model. Both devices are trade–offs against the stand alone house type preferred by most of the housing market. and evolving within a relatively de–regulated environment.

e. justifying the lack of public space within the site. case study 9). Three storey house types are used in schemes with densities as low as 40dph for the amenity value of front access. remote parking affecting 55% of the residents and a relatively low parking ratio) is balanced by a quiet. and permanently curtained windows.7) and partly explained by the parking ratio of 1.9. Privacy between units is minimal. The mix of two and three storeys helps to produce diversity in built form. To reduce overlooking some of the hybrid mixed type schemes locate the three storey type on the boundary (Corban Village (case study 4). (Albion Vale. The amenity loss (represented by refuse collected from the site entrance. and case studies 1 and 2. Comments on the internal planning of house types. Fairhaven (case study 5). a quality less easily achieved in two storey terraced layouts. and loss of the active street frontage. along with street frontages varied in height by single storey garages alternating with two storey houses. with living rooms and kitchens at first floor level. The strong sense of crowding in both these developments is entirely absent at Fontenoy Road. The row of six units on the north side are over–shadowed by a 5m high back wall to adjacent retail . Detached and attached (i. examples of two storey terraced housing include Oates Road (case study 11. and good landscaping in the public areas. although the higher buildings on the perimeter may sometimes adversely affect neighbourhood relationships. 51dph. The Gunner Drive project was revisited twice to observe different conditions in use. only the centre unit has two inter–tenancy walls. and identity in the street. in that it relieves the sense of crowding. they generally fail to provide workable layouts at any point in the range between 30dph and 66dph. In a block of three (for example. a small park is important spatially. At the same density. Romola Street (case study 6) demonstrates the limitations.) and Gunner Drive (case study 14. paired) house types occur at the lower ends of the density scale. results in loss of privacy to adjoining two storey units. but at the expense of poor public space. In the Oates Road scheme (case study 11). 61dph. this project.Discussion and Conclusions 81 have attached garages. and public service refuse collection from about 80% of the units. is reflected in the high FAR figure (0. This strategy. At the high end of the scale. approximately 20% more than the next highest figure in the layout type. there is much evidence of domestic activity over–flowing to the public side of houses due to small or shadowed rear gardens. case studies 3 and 5 achieve high levels of direct car access. The very high density. high quality internal site environment with very high standards of privacy. but is not included in the data recorded. However.). and therefore casual surveillance. which are expensive to build. which also explain the trade– offs involved in achieving the density. with overlooking from first floor windows affecting all houses and particularly the three in the centre of the layout. suggest that density is a market choice and not an index of social standing. and end units are perceived in the private sector market to be worth more than middle terrace units. Albion Vale (case study 9)) effectively enclosing the development. however. power steering. have been made in the case study notes (p55). and low standards of individual unit privacy. one of only two examples in this layout type with a ratio of less than 2. On street parking adjacent to the site is used by residents at night and weekends. Short two storey terraces are often favoured by developers. Fairhaven (case study 5). and reduces bulk and perceptions of density. A large public park adjoins the development of 31 terraced houses. a not unexpected conclusion. as a development that only succeeds at all by voluntary restrictions on car size.

and face towards garage doors on the internal street. Oatlands (case study18). This contributes to the car–dominated environment that establishes the street. 44dph) based on a courtyard house type. or separately lettable accommodation. Rear access alters the relationship of the car and garage to the house. not as a community space (able to serve unspecified but implied communal activities) but as the service conduit between them: relationships of houses are based on tarmac rather than a shared public space. The principal contemporary merit in the New Zealand context is that the garage can function independently of the house and the public street for domestic or other purposes.82 Best practice in medium density housing design buildings. and many others. the cost of construction and maintenance of the rear lane. Only two examples are planned to exploit the full advantages of the rear access type. The layout type is strongly endorsed by New Urbanist planners. in each case to locally increase density and resolve site planning problems caused by the preferred front access type. An example is provided by the Oatlands development. The most unusual. Sacramento 1A (case study 17). scheme in the lower range of density is the terraced front access development at Melview Place (case study 8. and Tuscany Way (case study 16). This design prioritises privacy and security. case study 16. and perhaps experimental. as an urban space. Tuscany Way (case study 16) in the Edgelea block context. and Corban Village (case study 4). The additional studio unit that is sold with the house provides passive surveillance of the mews. including home business. Reasons for the relative absence of this type in medium density developments in New Zealand include: i) density over about 40dph is difficult to achieve because of the site space required for the rear lane. the only apparent trade–off is in the under– sized access ways on the public side. placing the working entrance on the ‘back’. as well as preferred front access and close connections between the car and house. one of only two examples in the study (Tuscany Way. Layout Type 2 (Rear Access): Case studies 15–19 Several examples of hybrid layouts use the rear access system to provide parking within the curtilage. by studio units built above double garages (see text. is the other). and attracts equal criticism from some medium density housing advocates. Oates Road (case study 11). Rowena Crescent (case study 15). relieved. p59). and removing the vehicular access from the front. thus relieving the street of traffic crossings for each house. and offers a live–work option. The 32 units in two groups at the Edgelea development are accessed from three separate lanes linking garage courts to the public street network. The rear access system is developed to the most sophisticated standard seen in the case studies reviewed. where the ‘mews’ rear access private roadway is lined with garage doors. (The seventeen studios in this scheme are not recorded as separate household units in the density figure of 37dph). including Seymour Road (case study 3). which is expensive to build because of the necessarily high external wall to floor ratio and ii) iii) . the house type. offset only by the park area.

Short walking distances. and pedestrian routes to shops. case study 29). and is acceptable to some purchasers in terms of value and the quality of the housing environment offered. 61dph). with the exception of Gunner Drive (case study 14. schools and other services. has been discussed in the context of its role in predominantly two storey front access layouts. The layout type is therefore considered to be an option that suits higher density development in the private sector. and where the urban potential of the typology is not a priority. particularly when the type has been used to increase density. Layout Type 4: Case studies 30–34 The three storey house type. Layout Type 3: Case studies 20–29 Parking and car storage detached from the curtilage is regarded by developers and householders as a less convenient and less secure arrangement. as a device to increase density. where lower market expectations are established by location. which is an unsatisfactory housing environment in numerous respects. are hybrid layouts mixing front and rear access with integral and remote parking. the front door. The ground level environment is invariably car–oriented. (case studies 17. unless the layout and density objectives allow enough space for separate pedestrian movement. and the unresolved dilemma of locating the kitchen and laundry. the urban qualities achievable. From densities listed in the data chart it is clear that this house type relates to high density rather than medium density housing. for example. The characteristics of Type 3 layouts are relatively low Floor Area Ratios. It is apparent from this study that such sacrifices are justified by the developer as a trade–off against the higher density achieved. Soljak Place (case study 24) and Holly Street (case study 22). From the data chart it is apparent that the Type 3 (dedicated remote parking) layouts . The five examples included here are a small representative selection from a large number of similar developments in the Auckland area. Corban Village (case study 4) and Oates Road (case study 11)) can come into more frequent use. and variation in built form. range in density from 52dph to 87dph (2 Ambrico Place. The advantages are in the formal relationship of the house to the wider community. (for instance. Three schemes reviewed. and the flexibility of the house type. as at Mokoia Road (case study Where the formal front elevation faces onto a pedestrian–oriented public space as at Oatlands. also help to justify the arrangement. and significantly smaller average unit sizes. Examples include all possible variations of kitchen location. Type 1 layouts are displaced at a density of about 50dph.Discussion and Conclusions 83 iv) v) additional internal space required for dual entry planning. the non–traditional ground floor in which the back door serves as the principal entrance from the garage. the preference generally being for a location on the garage side of the house for direct access to refuse disposal and use of the private rear garden for washing. The internal limitations of the type have been considered in Section 3 and commented on in case study notes. In all such examples the position of first floor living spaces imposes overlooking and reduced privacy on adjacent two storey units. and its effect on site planning. With Type 3 layouts it is common to find moderately large projects with little or no variation of house type. lower parking ratios. 18 and 19) all at densities of less than 40dph. which tends to be redundant in layouts without access to a public space. and where little variation is intended.

from approximately 60dph in two storey housing. or part underground parking. and elevations varied in detail are examples of this recommended local practice. and can transform the quality of the residential environment. in two storey layouts where density begins to require remote parking if good residential standards are to be retained. Progressive undergrounding of parking is a consideration at densities over 55dph. The long straight blocks at Tuscany Towers (case study 7) and Sacramento (case study 17) reflect European and British design rather than the developing local custom. that of a ‘car–dominated’ environment. to be necessary. beyond which the tradition (in New Zealand) of greater individual identity is difficult to retain. of general value. but not enclosed. in a multi–storey development with low parking ratios. The shorter rows at St Georges Terrace (case study 13). and the domestic value of the garage as an extension of routine household activity are considered to be central to the analysis of the typology. planning for the manoeuvring and storage of. On sloping sites the construction of retaining walls for garaging. secure garage courts are justified at all densities. by these developments. 26. Type 4 layouts are not considered useful in site planning for affordable housing at densities of less than 66dph. The Dutch ‘Woonerven’ integrated traffic and pedestrian design system may have some application in two storey housing where a Type 2 layout is used. other layout and house types are also options. all have achieved good standards of public space and privacy at densities between 55dph and 85dph. This may suggest rear access for some units. but works most effectively in shorter terrace lengths of 6–8 units. Summary The most successful developments with Type 1 layouts are all at densities of less than 46dph. By observations from case studies. at this density (55dph) however. case study 34. Many aspects of this issue have been dealt with in previous sections and the case study commentaries. 1997) needs to be revisited in the context of New Zealand and Australian medium density housing to include a third category. also on a sloping site. Small. access and garaging are in effect entirely underground. and particularly above 45dph. Progressive under–grounding as density increases is shown. and for the most satisfactory environments. Further points. introduces the principle of underground. as at Mokoia Road and Galway Street (case study 31).84 Best practice in medium density housing design 30). Case studies 25. a requirement at densities over 60dph. There is a moderately high maintenance penalty to consider with this design. 125dph). and access to the car. or Arawa St (case study 10). (Eden 1. are made as follows: i) Underground garaging: cars in underground parking spaces relieve the ground level environment of the presence of the car. The terraced housing form in New Zealand is an acceptable house type in this density range. 28 and 30 illustrate this. unless house types include duplex or vertically arranged units. It is also apparent from the examples of this layout type reviewed that establishing any significant public open space—the prerequisite for the development of a community—is not achievable at any level of density. At the highest density in the schemes reviewed. The nearest examples found in this study (to the model developed in Holland) are Fontenoy ii) . Vehicle Planning and Parking The distinction between ‘building–dominant’ and ‘landscape–dominant’ design made originally by the Essex Design Guide (Stones.

Sacramento (case studies 17 and 27). creating monotonous environments in some of these schemes. with no more than one or two steps between groups. also. and Hillsborough Road (case study 28). but is diverted by the constant . Rowena Crescent (case study 15).Discussion and Conclusions 85 iii) Road (case study 19). is noted as a Mixed Development and Internal Design A broad preference for a development monoculture is evidenced by a large majority of the schemes reviewed in the private sector: there is an apparent reluctance to experiment with mixing of household sizes or types.000 in total). and the vans themselves. where they block views. This perception occurs at all density levels. Similar remarks apply to ‘people–mover’ vehicles based on one–tonne vans (Toyota Hiace. 87dph). vibrant community. for instance Adelphi Villas (case study 2: 33dph) and 2 Ambrico Place (case study 29. and cannot be regarded as comprehensive in this study. and others. and variations in external design. which cannot usually be accommodated in standard height garages. are increasing in popularity. helps to build the sense of crowdedness that characterises the typology in the public mind. the regular appearance of small extra spaces within a house plan for ‘study/office/sitting’ uses. there is a tendency to restrict the range to adjacent socio–economic groups. etc. visible even from relatively brief site visits. etc. and Tuscany Towers (case study 7) are typical of schemes offering housing to a narrow social range. generate a lively. v) rear garden access should include external pathways wherever possible. viii) the actual higher building cost of medium density housing needs to be recognised. iii) kitchens should be ventilated and able to receive natural light by location on external walls. Repetition of house types. telephone connections and television aerials often in quiet corners or first floor landing areas. the Harbour View development (case studies 1. Comments on internal details are limited to a small number of examples where access was available. Some of the schemes that embrace diversity of household type. In smaller schemes the monoculture of a single house type is more pronounced (Soljak Place (case study 24). In addition.). vii) single aspect two storey house types based on courtyard front access plans should be considered. variation of building style at Corban Village (case study 4). Of the minority in the mixed category. In developments where a mix of types has applied. tend to be parked outside houses. and dominate by bulky ‘presence’. Comments noted in the case studies are summarised as follows: i) garages and ground floor toilets should not be accessed from living rooms or kitchens. These vehicles. and by noise. owned and used for commercial purposes. perhaps predictably. particularly where density exceeds 45dph. Four wheel drive vehicles now represent 8% of private cars in New Zealand (198. 14 and 16). Four wheel drive vehicles are in evidence on many sites investigated. including power points. ii) internal routes for laundry and refuse need to be planned to avoid passing through living rooms. and present a particular problem in medium density housing design.). iv) ground floor toilets in two– bedroomed four person units are desirable. 2 Ambrico Place (case study 29). vi) more use should be made of first floor single aspect house types to control overlooking.

These generally consist of garages in use as workshops with doors open for light and air. but are often conspicuous in medium density housing. and construction materials. reflecting demographic change and new patterns of work in New Zealand’s urban centres. A study to identify this issue in the context of medium density housing would aim to recommend design practices to overcome the effects of association with this problem. iii) Technical aspects of sustainable design. v) Public acceptance of the typology is known to be linked to the widespread ‘leaky homes’ problem. vi) A more detailed study of internal design of components and fittings is needed to identify durable specifications in the context of medium density housing.86 Best practice in medium density housing design reflection of requirements. In the context of these two observations. originating from the housing construction industry generally. in which the standard form of construction is two and three storey housing using timber frames as the primary structure. . needs further research to establish criteria for cost–effective insulation methods. semi–commercial activities were observed during visits. orientation. in medium density developments. but also water services. a long–term study that tracks re–sale prices relative to local property values is needed to establish similarities and differences. the report has identified several areas that need further study: i) Research is needed to relate costs of construction to density to determine steps in the density scale that are critical in the process of medium density affordable housing design. Access to as–built plans and construction details would be necessary for such a study to be effective. and in one case several people working at sewing machines on tables and benches set up for out–work or ‘work from home’ business operations. Activities of this type are invisible in the suburbs. Sub–letting of rooms or garages is another common form of use. changing domestic In several developments. ii) Increasing density will require consideration of underground garaging at the upper end of the present scale: research is needed to examine the costs and benefits of this option. iv) Retained capital value is considered to be a vital indicator in sustainable medium density housing. Medium density housing in other countries is now moving towards multi–storey development at densities up to 120dph. particularly energy consumption. Further Research This study has been restricted to the density band between 30 and 66dph.

References .

Auckland: Auckland City Council. Auckland Regional Council (2000e). Auckland: Auckland Regional Council. Auckland Regional Council (2000d). Auckland Regional Authority (1987). Auckland: Auckland Metropolitan Planning Organisation. Auckland Regional Authority (1967). The Residential Design Guide for Developments in Residential Zones in Strategic Growth Management Areas. Employment and Land Use Patterns. Auckland: Auckland Regional Council. Auckland: Auckland Regional Council. Auckland Regional Authority (1975).I. . The Liveable Communities 2050 Strategy Draft. Auckland: Auckland Regional Authority. Building a Better Future Intensification Review—Urban Design Review. Auckland City Council (2001). Auckland: Auckland City Council. Auckland: Auckland Regional Council.88 Best practice in medium density housing design Auckland City Council (1958). Auckland City Council (1999). Auckland: Auckland City Council. Auckland Metropolitan Planning Organisation (1951). Auckland City Council (1968). by Boffa Miskell. Auckland: Auckland City Council. Housing: A Challenge for Council. Auckland: Auckland City Council. Auckland: Auckland Regional Authority. Auckland City Council (2003). Residential Consolidation Study. Housing Density Study. Growing Our City through Liveable Communities 2050. Auckland Regional Council (2000c). City of Auckland District Scheme: Code of Ordinances and Scheme Statement (Recommended for Approval). Auckland City Council (1999).R. Auckland: Auckland Regional Authority. Auckland: Auckland City Council. Auckland: Auckland City Council. The Urban Design Code for Liveable Communities 2050. Auckland: Population. Auckland City Council (1976). Auckland City District Plan: Plan Change 58. Outline Development Plan for Auckland.M. Auckland Regional Council (2000a). City of Auckland District Scheme: Scheme Statement (Recommended for Approval). Building a Better Future: Intensification Review—Community Perceptions & Attitudes. City of Auckland District Scheme: Scheme Statement (Public Notification). Auckland: Auckland Regional Authority. Auckland Regional Authority and Mt. Auckland: Auckland Regional Council. by Research Solutions. Building a Better Future: Intensification Review—Summary of Research Findings. Auckland City Council (1999). Auckland: Auckland City Council. Building a Better Future: Intensification Review—Review of Literature on Housing Preferences and Choices. by Synchro Consulting & P. Auckland Regional Council (2000b). Urban Area Intensification: Regional Practice and Resource Guide. Regional Master Plan: Housing (Preliminary Report). Albert Borough Council (1976).S. Auckland: Auckland City Council. Auckland City Council (1977).



Australian Model Code for Residential Development (1992a). Amcord Urban: Guidelines for Urban Housing Vol 1, Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Housing and Regional Development. Australian Model Code for Residential Development (1992b). Amcord Urban: Guidelines for Urban Housing Vol 2, Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Housing and Regional Development. Australian Model Code for Residential Development (1992c). Amcord Urban: Guidelines for Urban Housing Vol 3, Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Housing and Regional Development. Carmona, M. (2001). Housing Design Quality through Policy, Guidance and Review. London: Spon Press. Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand (2003). Review of Statistical Housing Data, by J. Leung–Wai & Dr G. Nana. Wellington: Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand. Christiansen, W. K. S., Ed. (1991). Mahoney’s Urban Land Economics. Wellington: New Zealand Institute of Valuers. Colquhoun, I. (1999). RIBA Book of 20th Century British Housing. Oxford: Butterworth–Heinemann. Colquhoun, I. and Fauset, P. G. (1991). Housing Design in Practice. Harlow: Longman Scientific and Technical. Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (2003). The Value of Housing Design and Layout, London: Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (2004). Design

Reviewed: Urban Housing, London: Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Commonwealth Information Services (1989). Australian Model Code for Residential Development. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. Darroch, R. (1983). “Concepts of Privacy”. In B. Judd and J. Dean (eds) Medium Density Housing in Australia. RAIA Education Division: Canberra. pp81–83. Dixon, J. & Dupuis, A. (2003) Urban Intensification in Auckland New Zealand: A Challenge for New Urbanism, Housing Studies Vol 18 No.3; pp 361-376. Droege, P. (1999). The Design Dividend. Sydney: Property Council of Australia. English Partnerships and The Housing Corporation (2000). The Urban Design Compendium. London: English Partnerships. Fader, S. (2000). Density by Design: New Directions in Residential Development. Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute. Forsyth, A. (2003). Measuring Density: Working Definitions for Residential Density and Building Intensity. Minneapolis, MA: Metropolitan Design Centre, University of Minnesota. Garreau, J. (1991). Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. New York: Doubleday. Hoque, A (2001) Urban Design Intervention for Intensive Housing, Planning Quarterly 141, June 2001 pp 19-22. Housing New Zealand Corporation (2002a). Ki Te Hau Kainga: New Perspectives on Maori Housing Solutions, by R. Hoskins, R. Te Nana, P.


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Rhodes, P. Guy, C. Sage. Wellington: Housing New Zealand Corporation. Housing New Zealand Corporation (2002b). Pacific Housing Design Guide: Guidelines for Designing Pacific Housing Solutions, Wellington: Housing New Zealand Corporation. Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Modern Library. Jain, U. (2001). “Effects of Population Density and Resources on the Feeling of Crowding and Personal Space”. Journal of Social Psychology (127(3)), pp331–338. Johnston, R. J. (1973). Urbanisation in New Zealand. Wellington: Reed. Judd, B. (1993). Designed for Urban Living: Recent Medium Density Group Housing in Australia. Canberra: The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. Judd, B. and Dean, J., Eds. (1983). Medium Density Housing in Australia. Canberra: RAIA Education Division. King, S., Rudder, D., Prasad, D. and Ballinger, J. (1996). Site Planning in Australia. Sydney: Australian Government Publishing Service. Kohler, A. (2004). “Land of Confusion”. Progressive Building, February/March 2004, pp24–25. Krieger, A., Ed. (1991). Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater Zyberk: Towns and Town Making Principles. New York: Rizzoli. Kunstler, J. H. (1994). The Geography of Nowhere; the Rise & Decline of America’s Man–Made Landscape. New York: Touchston, Simon & Schuster.

Kunstler, J. H. (1998). Home from Nowhere. New York: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster). Leccese, M. and McCormick, K., Eds. (2000). The Charter of the New Urbanism. New York: McGraw– Hill. Marcus, C. C. and Sarkissian, W. (1983). The Medium–Density Housing Kit. Milsons Point, N.S.W.: Social Impacts Publications. Marcus, C. C. and Sarkissian, W. (1986). Housing as If People Mattered. Berkeley & Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Mt. Eden Borough Council (1980). Third Review of the District Scheme: Background Report on Residential Zoning in Mt. Eden, Auckland: Mt. Eden Borough Council. Mumford, L. (1938). The Culture of Cities. London: Marin Secker & Warburg Ltd. Muthesius, S. (1982). The English Terraced House. New Haven: Yale University Press. New South Wales Urban Design Advisory Service (1998). Better Urban Living, Guidelines for Urban Housing in NSW, Sydney: Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. New South Wales Urban Design Advisory Service (1998). Residential Densities, Sydney: New South Wales Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. New South Wales Urban Design Advisory Service (2001). The Residential Flat Design Pattern Book, Sydney: New South Wales Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. New South Wales Urban Design Advisory Service (2002). Residential Flat Design Code, Sydney: New South



Wales Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. North Shore City Council (2001). Good Solutions Guide for Intensive Residential Developments, North Shore City: North Shore City Council. Perkins, H. and Thorns, D. (1999). “House and Home and Their Interaction with Changes in New Zealand’s Urban System, Households and Family Structures”. Housing, Theory and Society 16 pp124–135. Plunz, R. and Sheridan, M. (1999). “Deadlock Plus 50; on Public Housing in New York”. Harvard Design Magazine, Summer 1999. Radford, A. and Sarris, T. (2003). “Trends and Strategies in the Design of Medium Density Urban Housing”. Radford, A. and Sarris, T. (2003). Affordable Medium Density Housing Solutions for Adelaide, Adelaide: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Southern Research Centre. Rapoport, A. (1975). “Towards a Redefinition of Density”. Environment and Behaviour 7(2), pp7–32. Rapoport, A. (1985). “Designing for Diversity”. In D. Brown, B. Judd, and J. Dean, (eds) Design for Diversification. RAIA, Education Division: Canberra; Portland, OR. pp30–42. Regional Growth Forum (2003). Auckland Regional Affordable Housing Strategy, Auckland: Auckland Regional Council. Stones, A., Ed. (1997). Essex Design Guide for Residential and Mixed Use Areas. Chelmsford: Essex County Council; see also editions of this Guide from the original publication dated 1973.

Tetlow, J. and Goss, A. (1965). Homes, Towns and Traffic. London: Faber and Faber. Vallance, S., Perkins, H. and Moore, K. (2003). The Effects of Infill Housing on Neighbours in Christchurch, Christchurch: Lincoln University. Victoria Department of Planning and Housing (1992). Victorian Code for Residential Development—Multi– Dwellings, Melbourne: Victorian Department of Planning and Housing. Victorian Department of Planning and Urban Growth (1990). Medium Density Housing 1990, by Tract Consultants, Swinburne Centre for Urban and Social Research and Sarkissian Associates. Melbourne: Victorian Department of Planning & Urban Growth. Yates, J. (2003). A Distributional Analysis of the Impact of Indirect Housing Assistance, Sydney: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.

NZ Environment. B. Chapman–Smith (1993). (2003). “Quick Look at What $1. M. New Zealand Herald. P. Gibson.. Auckland. A. “Auckland’s Growing Pains”. Congestion Will Leave City Empty”. Dey.” New Zealand Herald. (1998). (2003). (2004). Gaynor. New Gibson. Auckland. Auckland. New Zealand Herald. “Act Now to Halt Urban Free–for–All”. Hawley. “Co–Housing—the New Suburbia?” Build. “Govt Calls for Councils to Introduce Low–Cost Zones”. “Dream of an Urban Paradise”. pp24–25.. J. (2001). R. Zealand Herald. Auckland. New Zealand Herald.92 Best practice in medium density housing design General Media References Barton. New Zealand Herald. “Escape from the Ghetto”. Editorial (2003). “Land of Confusion”. D. Sydney. “Consumers Favour Growth. “High Density Bends the Rules”. New Zealand Herald. 39. Professional Builder. “Our View”. Gibson. . du Chateau. “$1m to Fix Unit Leaks at Albany”. (2004). O. Gibson. “Blank Faces a Blot . Good Weekend. “Little Boxes”. “Setting up Your Body Corporate”. Orsman.74m Buys”. Gibson. (2003). Auckland. (2003). B. (2003). New Zealand Herald. B. A. Auckland. “Housing Market under Scrutiny”. 01– 02/11/2003. February/March 2004. (2003). (2004). New Zealand Herald. Auckland. (2004). pp77–78. July 1999. Ledbury. New Zealand Herald. G. Auckland. Berry. “Developers Have Cafe Set Firmly in Their Sights”. Build. (2001). A. April/May 2003. Gibson. (2003). “Pollution. Architecture NZ. Johnston. Auckland. New Zealand Herald. Auckland. Editorial (2003). Wellington. B. “Security Issues: The Rise of the Gated Community”. Progressive Building. A. A. Rudman. (1999). “The Future Style of Infill Housing”. Jacques. Auckland. “Living in Urban Denial”. Metro (NZ). (2003). T. New Zealand Herald. “Snapshot of Life in the Big City”. Chapple. (1999). “Aggressive Banks Drive Housing Boom”. A. (2003). (2003). Auckland. C. Auckland. (2003). Cumming. Beston. May–June 1993. New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Herald. A. A. Auckland. Auckland. Auckland. Reid. Oppose Density”. (2004). I. G. “The Big Squeeze”. “Humungous”. Auckland. New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Herald. (2004). “End of the Quarter Acre Paradise”. (2003). and Watkin. New Zealand Herald. McLeister. p42. pp6– 8. C. McShane. Auckland. “Tiny City Apartment Shockers: Developer”. (2003). “Reviving Our Urban Centres”. Kohler. R. Auckland. New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Herald. (2001). pp60–61. New Zealand Herald. English. Auckland. A. Auckland.

“Better Design. D. (2000).References 93 Turner. Property Business (28). “In Defence of Density”. (2003). Turner. Vital for High–Density Housing”. P. Ward. The Australian. “Save Our Suburbs”. . Auckland. (2001). D. pp28–30. Layout. New Zealand Herald. Melbourne.


Appendix A Local Authority Intensive Housing Policies in Metropolitan Auckland .

3 which now stipulates “Density” defined as minimum net site 2 area per residential unit of 1 unit per 250m 2 in Area D. Generally it is two–storeyed. is the stipulation that medium density housing sites should enable “all residential units to face or relate closely to public streets”. The location of medium density housing is required to be within easy walking distance of shops including proposed shops. Densities will not 2 exceed one unit per 150m of land area. community services. item 1. from existing ones. and 1 unit per 250m in the previous category of mixed use overlay area. while public open spaces may vary in character and not all reserves provide all recreational opportunities. and by the arrangement of indented bays that do not effectively widen the street when not in use. On–street parking must be provided at the rate of 0. Because less open space is usually a concomitant of intensive housing.4. and useful. in addition. and continued in paragraph 1. parking. public transport (defined as four or more trips/hour at peak periods). Amongst these.” Plan Change 1 defines “intensive housing” as terraced housing and other forms of multi–unit development generally involving more than five units on a site. can arise. even if built at higher densities. Easy walking distance includes some recognition of topography. as well as the shape and size of the site proposed for development. and essential public infrastructure. and public open space in relation to new housing proposals. The following section (including amended Table 17A.96 Best practice in medium density housing design NORTH SHORE CITY COUNCIL District Plan & Plan Change 1 Plan Change 1 updates policies dealing with intensive housing. private open space: this allows for and encourages the development of medium density housing with communally owned. There are.1. and be capable of forming relationships with “nearby properties and public areas. though three storeys are also possible. but not wholly in place of. to permit communal space in lieu of. size and location relative to other public facilities. (for ‘varied residential and mixed use overlay areas’) Plan Change 1 requires a Concept Plan that addresses all aspects of macro planning of roads. Referring to Area ‘D’ applications. It is noted that existing retail benefits from greater density of population. at a minimum rate per . to “facilitate the integration of the development. including refuse collection. Roads serving new medium density housing must provide the opportunity for “significant” visitor parking. (defined as offering a “wide range of goods and services”). bearing in mind their shape. both immediate and cumulative. and accordingly intensive residential development warrants a distinct objective and associated policies. Section 2 of Plan Change 1 deals with improving subdivision processes. The definition of density is determined as “the net site area of the site being developed divided by the number of units proposed.” Further amendments allow for redistribution of public and private open space. This results in a revision to Table 17A. a series of urban design objectives listed in the Plan Change. Intensive housing developments must be on sites that are capable of providing the desired environmental outcomes.1) provides for variations to previous District Plan(s) to revise categories for sizes of unit lots and recognising smaller areas.3.” This requirement is to prevent spatial separation of new neighbourhoods. and public open space for recreation. A minimum area 2 of 200m is accepted. park areas separate from traffic spaces.5 per unit proposed.” Plan Change 1 observes that: “Quite significant adverse effects. in place of nil.1. the design detail is of greater significance.

design and management of the public space is to be approved in the process of consent. but it also has the potential to cause adverse effects on residential amenity values.. and commentators. They foster a sense of ownership of the street. and reinforcing urban design intentions inherent in the intensive housing development process.. and the difficulty of achieving a good standard in these terms when the most common block form is a terraced plan of connected units. referring only to “acceptable” levels. North Shore City Council also notes the significance of refuse and recycling collection systems.Appendix A Local Authority Intensive Housing Policies in Metropolitan Auckland 97 dwelling of 25m .2: rule 17A. in particular. access and pedestrian amenity Each of these headings is explained in greater detail. as in “.5.2: “Intensified residential development can enhance the efficient use of the City’s infrastructure … and create energy savings. Plan Change 1 replaces previous regulations with a rule that not more than five units will be permitted access from a single private driveway.units fronting the street contribute to the liveability of the principal public space in a residential area.” All designers will acknowledge the value of this intention. as well as by other means. Privacy.10(d)) requirements for pedestrian access. parking. of whatever height. it can be stated that few of the schemes built in the period between 1995 2 and 1999 would meet the criteria now established in this Plan Change 1 document. Together they demonstrate North Shore City Council’s determination to bring high standards to the environment of future medium density housing or intensive housing proposals.” Additional criteria for assessing all intensive housing development include the following: Ÿ Streetscape and neighbourhood character and amenity Ÿ Building form Ÿ Outlook and outdoor spaces Ÿ Privacy Ÿ Landform. measure privacy by fixed minimum distance. in explanation. Testing some of the individual developments studied in the case study section of this Report.private outdoor spaces should be located.” Discussion advises that it is difficult to determine the cumulative effect of . vegetation and landscaping Ÿ Traffic. “. street frontages (at least two habitable rooms facing directly onto the street). North Shore City Council define acceptable standards of privacy in general terms. residents can observe and overlook the street. thereby enhancing the personal security of people in the street. which is readily accessible by service vehicles. including: Issue 13. Thus.. defining at the same time (4. Regarding vehicle access.” MANUKAU CITY COUNCIL Operative District Plan 2002: Chapter 13: Residential Areas Six issues relating to Manukau City Council’s residential areas have been identified for further discussion.1. and requires a “well integrated” provision. Other authorities. is relevant to any study of medium density housing design. and which will not “detract visually or generate health risks in the area. and at whatever density. designed and screened to maximise privacy for unit occupants.. and where doors and windows face or front the street.2.

social justice. and choices in terms of transport options other than the private car. and general rules for traffic management within larger sites. the document quotes from studies referred to in the AMCORD Urban 1 1992 in which: “. requiring net site areas of 2 400m . In outlining the Residential Strategy.” (p13).. Appendix 1 covers two sections.” and that “. (b) Site design including front yards. Intensification also alters the existing character of an area. and to be designed to ensure a high degree of public surveillance of the space proposed (p90). the discussion concludes that reasonable levels of amenity can be provided by appropriate design input: design quality is the critical factor. In the same vein.the most acceptable approach seems to be selectively making cities more compact.. A special design code applies to these areas. Referring to the Victorian Code for Multi– dwellings (Nov. Streets must not be dominated by parking or by garage doors. may be market lead. economic and lifestyle requirements. and Site Design respectively (as listed above. 1)(p51). the Council reserves rights over the following: (a) Neighbourhood design. Public Open Space should therefore be adjacent to public streets (rather than tucked behind housing). Typically. but may also be encouraged by current development standards and policies. The Design Code outlines a comprehensive set of urban design principles including street design. street frontages. balconies. to increase housing variety (and) access. and parking and landscaping provision. and should avoid back yards adjacent to it. development interfaces (with existing: height to boundary regulations). building envelope and single form can achieve all environmental. These policies appear to limit choice in housing..98 Best practice in medium density housing design intensification on residential amenity. (c) Servicing. and privacy distances between .2. public parking is endorsed on secondary streets. where details such as fences and balconies are recommended. albeit at slightly higher densities... and p80–102). landscape & vehicular access. In all these developments the Council will have regard to all elements of the intensive housing code (App. as well as limiting choices for a culturally and socially diversified population. In a strategy to moderate the impact of higher density housing on existing low density suburbs. Issue 13. The present patterns of traditional subdivision. to protect privacy of dwellings. and in positions where security is provided by overlooking.” (p92). public open space. “to conserve and enhance neighbourhood landscape visual amenity values. dealing with Neighbourhood Design. A and B.” In higher density areas. which limits different lifestyle options for current and future generations. back yards. Privacy is determined by sections B3 and B4. street layout. 1993). and is widely resisted by existing communities. Manukau City Council’s population is becoming increasingly diverse. vehicle access. Manukau City Council uses a “special policy zone” applied to very small pockets of land around the Botany Centre (only).. street frontages. front doors.6 This relates to the (current) lack of diversity in residential environments. Public Open Space is described as needing to protect significant landscape features. Density rules are also used in the Main Residential Zone (MR) so that “residents have certainty about the potential of development on any adjoining site.

Innovative housing development is anticipated on large sites. Parking standards are similar to those elsewhere in the Auckland region.2 visitor spaces per unit for all larger dwellings.” Two height limits. and anticipates 2 and 3 storey buildings in the 8(a) areas. including dimensions for shared driveways for horizontal and vertical standards of amenity.8. overlooking. para 7.7. etc). This lower limit is supported by regulations dealing with Maximum Building Coverage. This zone applies to sites of 1 ha. respectively. … commercial centres. (pC18–19). pB11).Appendix A Local Authority Intensive Housing Policies in Metropolitan Auckland 99 buildings are proposed: 12m between facing frontages. (pA17). AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL District Plan operative 1999 The Plan acknowledges that there are few sites left in the city for traditional subdivision. Density limitations included in zone 8(a) and (b) propose a minimum of 150m2 of gross site area per unit (8a) and 100m2 in zone 8(b).1. or more. and 20m between backs of dwellings set around a 10m radius circle determining acceptable relationships. Further controls are exercised through the Maximum Height regulations. including external traffic noise. Where two separate dwellings meet at a corner and at an angle of 135 deg.2. allowing 55% coverage for sites up to 200m2. (pA4). or less. The Residential Design Guide applies to this zone in order to achieve quality medium to high density development. a 4m distance is required between windows.. in order to “facilitate more intensive development in areas near major public transport routes. Development controls are limited to overshadowing.2 (pC13). Zones 6–8 are medium and high density areas. introduced in 2003. . Residential zones 1–5 are either special character or low density areas.. zones. although some higher density development may be permitted in Zone 5. Side yards are reduced to nil metres in this code. of 10m and 12. and 2 spaces + 0. Zone 6(b) 2 provides for sites down to 300m per residential unit. para.8. 7. and in combination with mixed uses including housing other than standard use types (elderly persons housing. and 3–4 storeys in the 8(b) areas which will generally be within five minutes walking distance of a town centre or major transport centre. Section B7 deals with car parking. Residential 7 is called “High Intensity”. is applicable to Strategic Growth Management Areas (SGMA’s). Residential 8 zone. or other devices including cill heights and glazing options. (7. (pB25).4 (pC8). Acoustic privacy is addressed in similarly minimal regulations. the policy providing for “minimal development controls … while affording appropriate protection on the interface with lower intensity .). in all areas a minimum of 40m2 of floor space is required per unit.5m presuppose 3 and 4 storey developments. ” (etc. allowing 1 space per unit up to 75m2. Up to 100m distance is permitted for visitor spaces. and a sliding scale reducing to 35% for sites between 200– 499m2. with 2 height limits applied to differing contexts. visual domination and loss of privacy. and therefore addresses the need for residential growth in terms of infrastructure limitation. as outlined above. Visual privacy is ensured at a minimal level of operational usefulness by off set dimensions for windows facing each other less than 6m apart by 1m vertical or horizontal re–alignment. and the concerns of the community to preserve and enhance the existing character of residential areas.4.

and Gross Floor Area details. Parking and garaging are advised with a view to ensuring safety of vehicle movement and to enhance street quality. and are required to have front door access and visitor parking on the street side of the dwelling if used in medium density housing layouts. the Waitakere City Council guide adopts identical separating dimensions between adjacent houses as the Manukau City Council guide. which is also defined as minimum areas for different sized houses and units. It advises lot widths for single and double garages. area to site boundary rather than the net residential calculation used by AMCORD). residents. with the same diagrammatic control detail as used in the North Shore City Council’s Guide (see above). In the third section the Guide House Types are outlined in detail. The Waitakere City Council approach to medium density housing is an “effects– based” one. Density is not used by the policy–making group of the City Council’s planning section as a regulating tool for judgements or guidance in the processing of housing developments. a 59 page illustrated recommended practice guide intended to advise developers. to height to boundary requirements for adjoining pre–existing developments. and dealing with 8 separately headed areas of design. and 18m for south or east facing sites (entrance side). living room surveillance of the street. and allows upper level living rooms where views are possible. This Guide has 3 sections covering (i) subdivision design. WAITAKERE CITY COUNCIL The principal documents relating to the Waitakere City Council’s policy on Medium Density Housing are: 1) WCC medium density housing criteria: an 18 page sub–section of the District Plan setting out criteria designed to ensure that such housing developments “provide a positive contribution to the character and amenity of residential areas”. particularly “through” lanes which are seen as a security hazard. (1998). There is no attempt to relate house types to layout variations. other than as a rough estimating device at an early stage. (iii) house types. Privacy is addressed with the proposal that “a reasonable degree of privacy in … dwellings” can be achieved by back to back dimensions of 16m between upper level windows and 10m between ground floor windows. In this section. In addition. The Guide makes recommendations in considerable detail for narrow lot widths. or to density. casual surveillance. The clear objection in the Guide to rear access reflects a legitimate concern for street design where access is reversed in such a way that the street itself is a back lane space lacking interest. divided by the site area defined as exclusive of adjoining roads (that is. (ii) design elements for medium density housing. anticipating the difficulty of stitching medium density housing into the existing suburban landscape. here based on square metres . the Guide considers rear service lanes as a “last resort”. and corner lot design preferences.100 Best practice in medium density housing design Interpretations and Definitions explains Floor Area Ratio (FAR). the Waitakere City Council recommendations include the advice that windows of kitchens and living rooms should not overlook adjacent private open space. covering varying orientation of types. as the gross floor area of building proposed. and active street frontages. in other details. and minimum lot depths (22m) for north and west facing sites. and active frontage. 2) WCC developers’ design guide for residential subdivision and medium density housing. in accordance with the intentions and principles of the Resource Management Act. The Guide refers. and designers on matters relating both to subdivision and the urban qualities attainable through the process of higher density housing. mixed use types.

Appendix A Local Authority Intensive Housing Policies in Metropolitan Auckland 101 per unit proposed rather than in dwellings per hectare. The guide is a comprehensive and detailed handbook for good design in this housing typology. and addressing the principal differences between medium density housing and traditional suburban layout. recognising the essentially urban character of higher density housing. .

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