Affordable Housing – A Presentation on Typology and How We Can Not Forget Transport in the Affordability Equation

Solid Q+A from the Committee and the Independent Maori Statutory Board!

Yesterday I have my presentation to the Auckland Council Planning Committee on Housing Typology, and affordable housing. The presentation can be viewed below (starts at six minutes):

The slides (the 9 page version) can be seen below:

Or downloaded here:

Remember affordable housing is more than just the price tag of purchasing the house or the weekly rent, it also includes commute times to work and places of retail as well as the cost that commute time has in being away from example family. 

Key points from the Presentation:

  • Housing Affordability is more than the price of a house being no more than
  • 3x the household income (or rent being no more than 3x household income
  • Housing affordability needs to incorporate transport costs and accessibility to local or sub regional amenities (retail and leisure)
  • Land? Does it matter who owns the land? As I have said before even with the 30:30:30 model Panuku should hold onto the land in a Centre, develop it, charge ground rents to give access to affordability and create leverage for future housing (hold onto land means the percentage of public land inside the Centre stays the same after selling and purchasing of public land in said Centre
Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Source: Auckland Transport

Transport in determining Housing Affordability

  • How so?
  • Commuter costs are not always added to housing costs. (No point of building “affordable homes” if the resident is then faced with a long commute by car) to work no matter WHO owns the land)
  • How accessible is transit, how expensive is the transit (one zone fares are too expensive), where does it goes and what are its operating hours compared to say a shift worker
  • How accessible is transit to places of retail or recreation (if you still need to travel by car it is still an added expense)?
AT HOP in Manukau Mall

Access to Centres and Housing Affordability –Why the Heterogeneous Zone is Promoted

  • Housing affordability is more than the price or the rent of the house
  • The price of the commute (work or leisure) is often left out in determining housing affordability
  • Homogeneous use zones (no matter who owns the land) does not promote housing affordability owing to access to employment and recreation
  • The Heterogeneous Zone (aka the Centre or Mixed Use Zone) promotes better housing affordability due to close proximity to either employment or leisure
  • Land: Public Land should be held onto with development BUT the Mixed Use and mixed types should still be followed

Heterogeneous zoning not fully utilised. Manukau City Centre (Node and Metropolitan Centre).
Source: Panuku

In summary single use zones are not going to be the best tool to promote equity or accessibility if transport costs are going to send the ratio from three times household income to five or six times after said transport costs (petrol or HOP, and time travelling) are included. 

The Mixed Use/Housing as is being picked up overseas (but not encouraged with the Auckland Unitary Plan by any great extent) is the best method (alongside decent transit) to promote affordable housing.

If your local retail activity is within walking distance, major retail activity (so a Metropolitan Centre (if you are already not living inside a Metro)) accessible by transit and employment is close by then your housing becomes affordable as less cost is sunk into subsequent commuting. 

Remember it is rather pointless to build an “affordable” home out in the sticks if I am then forced to be on the Southern Motorway for 90 mins each way each day!