Science & Innovation Minister Steven Joyce launched the Better homes, towns & cities national science challenge yesterday, aimed at encouraging research to develop better housing & urban environments.
It’s the last of 11 national science challenges the Government has launched, and will receive funding of up to $47.9 million over 10 years.
Mr Joyce said the aim was to research how innovation & technology could be better adopted by & embedded into the New Zealand building industry: “The challenge will bring, engineers, scientists & social researchers together to benefit from each other’s expertise & resources, and work on practical solutions that bring long-term transformational benefits for New Zealanders in how our homes, towns & cities function.”
BRANZ (the Building Research Association of NZ) is the challenge host, and its partners include all 8 New Zealand universities, Crown research institutes GNS Science & Scion, independent research organisations Opus Research and the Centre for Research, Evaluation & Social Assessment, Prefab NZ & Auckland Council.
Some initial research examples are:
- Making design decisions that raise the comfort & functionality of buildings, while lowering operational costs through better energy & water use, and reducing maintenance & refurbishment
- Investigating how the configuration of infrastructure, streets, public spaces, urban blocks & range of housing types impact on people’s lives & wellbeing
- Developing new methods to acquire & use crowdsourced data that can inform decisions that improve the wellbeing of citizens and the quality of their built environment
- Identifying successful Maori community housing initiatives that could provide a model for urban & semi-urban development based on sound ecological principles, whakapapa (kinship), cultural practices & economic sustainability.
Update 7 May 2016: The original link to the Science challenge Better homes page was incomplete and, the day after the minister’s release, the correct link (below) wasn’t much use to you either – not updated since February. The second link below is to the whole challenge programme.
Attribution: Ministerial release.