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Rise, Ruin & Regeneration: An Examination of the Regeneration of Post-War Suburban State Housing in New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-12, 20:03 authored by Arps, James

Over 70 years since it was completed, the house at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar, New Zealand’s first state house, looks unchanged. However, the intervening years have seen the failure of some state housing models, the deteriorating condition of others, as well as shifting and increasing housing demands. This thesis examines the urban and architectural design, and the subsequent redevelopment, both private and state-initiated, of post-war suburban state housing in New Zealand. The objective of this thesis is to understand through analysis of existing literature, case study fieldwork, and redevelopment examples, the evolving urban and architectural design of these areas and dwellings, which have arguably shaped the residential face of the nation. The outcomes of this thesis are a series of design strategies for the regeneration of post-war suburban state housing in New Zealand. The purpose of these regenerative design strategies is to address a range of significant issues that the Housing New Zealand Corporation faces, while acknowledging the remaining value of the original investment in post-war suburban state housing. The regenerative design strategies are developed from the earlier research, and are broken into three distinct, but inter-related topics. These are suburban environments, state properties, and state houses, and are examined through a specific design case study. The design case study articulates the potential of regeneration to address a number of issues which became apparent through the research. This thesis concludes that while state housing may never again signify in every sense the ‘very heart of the New Zealand dream’ (Ferguson, 1994, p.117), through regeneration it can, once again, be a certain benchmark for housing generally, and can continue to provide for the nation for at least another 70 years.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


McDonald, Chris