This page provides information on the medium-density housing project completed by the Ministry in 2011. It describes the medium-density housing typologies used in the project, the methodology used to rate medium-density housing developments, and includes links to three case studies that tested the methodology.
About the medium-density housing project
Medium-density housing is being constructed in large numbers throughout New Zealand. This is a relatively new design type and requires high urban design qualities to gain wider community approval.
In 2011, the Ministry for the Environment completed a medium-density housing project to develop a:
- set of medium-density housing building typologies
- medium-density housing assessment methodology.
The methodology was then tested on three case studies.
Medium-density housing definition
For the project medium-density housing means:
“Medium-density housing means comprehensive developments including four or more dwellings with an average density of less than 350 m2 per unit. It can include stand-alone dwellings, semi-detached (or duplex ) dwellings, terraced housing or apartments within a building of four storeys or less. These can be located on either single or aggregated sites, or as part of larger masterplanned developments”.
Medium-density housing building typologies
Below is a brief description of the key features of each medium-density building typology.
- smaller lot sizes
- not attached to other dwellings but close to neighbouring buildings
- two or three storeys in height
- can be part of a larger masterplanned development.
The Stonefields case study has some stand-alone dwellings on compact sites as well as other dwelling types.
- two side-by-side dwellings contained within one building
- one dwelling is usually the mirror image of its partner
- two or three storeys in height.
- row of identical or very similar attached dwellings that are joined on one or both sides of other houses
- the ‘end terrace’ house can be different to the rest of the terrace
- sometimes can be joined by garages between houses and can either be built into the terrace and accessed from the front or can be accessed by a rear laneway
- two or three storeys in height.
There are terraced houses studied in the Stonefields, Chester Courts and Altair case studies.
- apartments are usually single storey self-contained units within a larger building, but sometimes apartments have more than one storey
- usually there is common access to a core stairwell
- private open space is a courtyard or garden on ground floor or on balconies on upper floors
- often rubbish storage is communal and post boxes are in one central place.
A medium-density assessment methodology has been developed to provide a robust urban design rating system for medium-density housing developments. The methodology can be used to identify particular strengths and weaknesses of developments.
It is envisioned that this methodology, with refinement, could be used to enhance the design of future developments. The Ministry welcomes the use and modification of the assessment methodology to improve the design and ultimately liveability of medium-density housing.
Medium-density housing case studies
The assessment methodology has been tested using three case studies:
- Stonefields, Auckland
- The Altair, Wellington
- Chester Courts, Christchurch.
The case studies were selected to demonstrate various developer responses to differing contexts and a mix of residential typologies.