Room to Breathe: Designing a framework for medium density housing in Ōtautahi-Christchurch
Ōtautahi-Christchurch faces the future in an enviable position. Compared to other New Zealand cities Christchurch has lower housing costs, less congestion, and a brand-new central city emerging from the rubble of the 2011 earthquakes. ‘Room to Breathe: designing a framework for medium density housing (MDH) in Ōtautahi-Christchurch’ seeks to answer the timely question how can medium density housing assist Ōtautahi-Christchurch to respond to growth in a way that supports a well-functioning urban environment? Using research by design, the argument is made that MDH can be used to support a safe, accessible, and connected urban environment that fosters community, while retaining a level of privacy. This is achieved through designing a neighbourhood concept addressing 3 morphological scales- macro- the city; meso- the neighbourhood; and micro- the home and street. The scales are used to inform a design framework for MDH specific to Ōtautahi-Christchurch, presenting a typological concept that takes full advantage of the benefits higher density living has to offer.
Room to Breathe proposes repurposing underutilised areas surrounding existing mass transit infrastructure to provide a concentrated populous who do not solely rely on private vehicles for transport. By considering all morphological scales Room to Breathe provides one suggestion on how MDH could become accepted as part of a well-functioning urban environment.