Environmental planning research students tackle real-world issues

02 November 2022 | News

Covenant constraints on land titles, medium density residential standards, food production in the peri-urban zone and herd homes were the topics covered at a recent student research presentation.

Four Lincoln University Master of Planning students presented their dissertation research to the Canterbury Westland branch of Te Kokiringa Taumata | New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) and an excellent turn-out of planning practitioners and Selwyn District Council representatives.

The event, held at Epic Innovation, offered a spectacular opportunity for the students to showcase their expertise to the community, network with potential future employers and gain confidence in their presenting skills.

NZPI is a professional organisation representing New Zealand’s planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners.

Planners have a critical role in shaping New Zealand’s future by helping to develop solutions to key issues such as population growth, infrastructure needs, pressure on natural resources and environments, demographic change and transport.

Mischa Wild’s research used the Selwyn District as a case study to examine the covenant constraints on land titles and explore how covenants are shaping greenfield development. Her work focused on the requirements for landowners, as well as the impact of covenants for future land use.

Megan Austin’s research used Christchurch as a case study to examine the perceived risks and benefits associated with the extension of medium density housing through the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS), exploring whether the standards were a threat to existing neighbourhoods.

Naomi Darvilli’s research used an in-depth case study analysis to develop a systematic framework to support food production in the peri-urban zone. Developed using four country-based case studies from the Global North, the framework was then applied to the Selwyn District.

Jono Gemmel’s research focused on the broader implications of Te Mana o te Wai in relation to the consenting processes for herd homes and explored perceptions on the potential role of such technologies to enable farmers to meet environmental limits in sensitive catchments. 

Associate Professor Hamish Rennie, of the Department of Environmental Management, said all four of the presentations were of an extremely high standard and he was particularly impressed with the students’ ability to address the questions raised by the audience after each talk.

“There were also several representatives from the Selwyn District Council present, including two elected councillors and at least five staff, who commented afterwards that the presentations were directly relevant to the issues the council is grappling with.

“The students all did their future careers a lot of good.”