News | 7 July 2022

New research partnership will help improve council homes

Wellington City Council and the University of Otago have joined forces on a research programme that will contribute to the Council’s vision to see all Wellingtonians well housed.

New apartments at Regent Park.
Regent Park in Newtown

Wellington City Council’s City Housing will join six other public and community housing providers for a 5-year research programme, supported by a $12.4 million MBIE Endeavour Fund grant.

The multidisciplinary team is led by Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman from the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities, which is based at the University of Otago, Wellington.

The team includes former Wellington City Council Urban Design Manager Dr Crystal Olin, and Arthur Grimes, Professor in the Chair of Wellbeing and Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. Dr Olin and Dr Kimberley O’Sullivan are Co-Deputy Directors of the research programme.

The research will investigate how the different approaches used by public and community housing providers shape their ability to achieve key wellbeing and health goals for tenants.

As the largest non-Government funded housing provider in Wellington, the Council’s housing arm, City Housing will help provide key data and insights for the research programme.

City Housing Manager Angelique Jackson says the collaboration places tenant wellbeing at its heart. “The data gathered and analysed will help public housing providers make evidence-based decisions. This in turn enables us to maximise tenant wellbeing, both now and in the future. 

“We’re excited that our City Housing community can be part of this landmark programme of work. Tenant participation in the research is voluntary and responses are kept confidential to both the Council and the research team.”

Distinguished Professor Howden-Chapman and Otago University’s He Kāinga Oranga group won Te Aparangi Royal Society’s Rutherford medal last year, for ground-breaking research quantifying the effects of housing interventions – and the team are excited to have City Housing as a part of the project.

Dr Olin says the research partnership with City Housing and six other housing providers is a privilege and a unique opportunity.

“We’re humbled to be funded by the Government to undertake this ambitious research, which is a journey we’re doing together with our partners. Although it’s not often publicised, there is some great work being done by public housing providers to better understand and meet their tenants’ needs.

“Our research can provide the evidence to support such efforts and unlock new solutions to optimise tenants’ wellbeing, putting them on the path to success within the wider Aotearoa community.

“Our research team is looking at the importance of secure, quality housing as a first step in achieving wellbeing. We take a multidisciplinary approach to also consider the wider neighbourhood and community environment, transport connectivity, energy hardship, and provider governance.”

The 5-year research programme will generate vital insights for Council-owned housing now and into the future.