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Research Projects

Research Projects


The farmer, the artist, the hooker and the priest: Creative place-makers in forgotten spaces

This project brings together two key themes: The first is that, whether from the retreat of the state, post-GFC austerity measures or natural disasters, cities and settlements face a perpetually changing suite of opportunities and challenges. The second is that while the 'creative class' is usually invoked as the means through which these opportunities are seized in 'cultural capitals', less is known about how seemingly ordinary people work collectively to do extraordinary things in unlikely places. This project explores place-making activities and processes that have been used to creatively enhance rural towns and struggling suburbs.

Staff involved: Suzanne Vallance  Mike Mackay 

Transitional community-initiated open spaces in Christchurch: a driver for post-disaster urban recovery?

The aim of the project is to examine the defining characteristics and qualities of post-earthquake transitional community-initiated open spaces (CIOS) in Christchurch, to analyze the social networks that initiate and support these spaces, and to evaluate the tangible and intangible benefits of CIOS with a focus on what they actually deliver rather than what they symbolise for post-disaster recovery in Christchurch.

Staff involved: Andreas Wesener, Roy Montgomery, Gary Steel

Contingent Cities

Critics warn that, despite their benign connotations, terms like ‘urban sustainability’ and ‘urban resilience’ have been reduced to expert-driven, technocratic exercises that privilege a narrow set of interests and epistemologies, and direct attention away from important socio-ecological issues. This Marsden Fast Start project explores three alternative ‘community-led’ approaches to urban planning, and assesses their implications for more formal planning frameworks and processes.

Staff involved: Suzanne Vallance, Ann Dupuis (Massey University), David Thorns (Canterbury University), Sally Carlton, Ryan Reynolds, Sarah Edwards

Affordable Housing

Constrained land-supply through ‘over-regulation’ is often blamed for rising house prices. This project looks at whether land supply constraints are the best predictor of unaffordable housing or whether other factors – such as weak inclusionary zoning policies, reduced direct provision of public housing, a lack of third sector housing providers, or (ironically) good planning practices that makes places better, safer and healthier - may be better predictors. 

Staff involved: Suzanne Vallance, Natalie Murdoch, Lin Roberts




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