Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Missing Middle

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posted on 2024-06-08, 02:56 authored by Hayley Hedges-Fickling

Urban population growth in large Australian and New Zealand cities has a significant impact on the way we design our cities. Despite evidence suggesting there is a common preference for standalone low-density houses among New Zealanders, affordability, land supply and attitudes towards urban sprawl pose significant constraints. To address this issue, proposed changes to Wellington’s District Plan aim to promote densification around transport nodes, predicated on the notion that building higher will enhance the economy and accommodate more people. Although many studies support this claim, equivocal strategies within Wellington’s growth frameworks suggest the basis for determining building heights is unprecedented; raising particular concern for the future liveability of our city. This research endeavors to critique how Wellington plans to accommodate the next 30 years of population growth, utilising data from Sense Partners and Wellington’s Proposed District Plan. Contrary to current proposals, this research anticipates that specific site constraints have not been adequately considered, necessitating the need for a new framework. Incorporating resident feedback through surveying local neighbourhoods and drawing insights from international models will serve as crucial indicators of how to enhance liveability, particularly for high-density residential buildings. Articulating a new plan for this typology is deemed essential to address existing gaps within current district plans, ensuring that densely populated neighbourhoods prioritise liveability.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

120199 Building management and services not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


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