High Density Housing the Future for Palmerston North

Density is the future.

With the public housing wait list rocketing past 10,000 this year, the country is struggling to come to grips with the reality of a nationwide housing crisis.

Labour has pledged to build 10,000 houses over the next ten years to help solve this problem. With its annual review revealing they have not met their yearly target, looking at what Palmerston North City Council has achieved with Papaieoa Place social housing could help the government achieve this target, on time.

A shift in demand for lower maintenance property with smaller section sizes highlights that the existing state and social housing comprising of large deteriorating two to four bedroom standalone homes, aren’t allowing a move beyond the Kiwi quarter acre dream. In order to use existing government owned land more efficiently and service our vulnerable people in need of warm, safe and sustainable homes, an innovative approach must be taken and appropriate high – density housing must be produced.

Labour minister for Housing Phil Twyford has agreed with this sentiment saying, “One of the ways we are going to build our way out of this housing crisis is using land more efficiently. Density is the future,” he said.

New look council flats unveiled in Palmerston North from NZ Herald on YouTube.

But there are often concerns from local councils in conducting these projects. Concerns over project delivery, time and budgets that can stifle visions to improve social housing and the communities they serve.  What is needed in instances such as these is a shared vision between council and design team to deliver the best outcome on time for some of our most vulnerable communities.

This was key to the success of the Papaoiea Street Social Housing development.  While most city councils tend to request a traditional tender process, Palmerston North City Council took a bold step taking a design and build approach with BOON and construction partner – Latitude Homes. This model increased both design and value management through a partnership and collaboration that sped up the process and was of ultimate benefit to the community.

Both BOON and Palmerston North City Council were confident in delivering this build on time and on budget, enabled by a collaborative approach and an extensive design and cost plan. The decision of approach paid off; with stage one of the PNCC Social Housing on Papaioea Street complete with 30 units available for tenancy and stage two now underway.

Author: BOON