As part of addressing a critical shortage of social and affordable housing in New Zealand, the country’s state-owned social housing provider, Housing New Zealand (HNZ), has been charged with increasing the pace and scale of housing supply and increasing the efficient use of its state-owned land.
To enable HNZ to assess existing property information and identify properties suitable for redevelopment, Aurecon worked closely with HNZ to develop a customised Geographic Information Systems (GIS) site selection and development opportunity tool which:
To develop the site selection and development opportunity tool, Aurecon incorporated complex digital engineering and automation using a geoprocessing workflow, which integrated with Council data across New Zealand.
The Council data was then weighted against over 13 ‘enabling’ and ‘impeding’ attributes including increased demand for intensification of redevelopment; client expectations; current budget commitments and maintenance programmes; revenue generated from current assets; and both physical and legal site constraints. The workflow then analysed HNZ asset data such as asset age and profit/loss information to determine the suitability for redevelopment. Once suitable sites were identified, an interactive GIS web map was used to mock-up development configurations to allow quick conceptualisation and sharing with HNZ.
The ability to cope with the complexity of dovetailing attributes and variables demonstrated the digital tool’s functionality and value.
Historically, the assessment of property information and identification of properties suitable for redevelopment involved a time-consuming process using a spreadsheet-based matrix system. Aurecon’s digital tool enabled the analysis of significant volumes of data to be automated and established a transparent process for all members of Aurecon’s internal project team and HNZ.
During the project and development of the tool, Aurecon held numerous workshop sessions with various senior development managers at HNZ, as well as our experienced digital mapping, planning and advisory teams. This collaborative approach informed the scope of the assessment tool and identified the required outputs to best assist HNZ with their decision-making and business cases for redevelopment.
Advantages of the tool include:
Working against a backdrop of increased demand for intensification of redevelopment and tight timeframes, the easy-to-use and transparent site selection and development opportunity tool provided the necessary basis for HNZ to better understand their existing property information and make informed decisions on development opportunities. This minimises the time spent onsite and facilitates the fast and efficient delivery of clean and warm homes for New Zealanders ‒ a promise previously expressed by the New Zealand Government.
A key consideration in creating the tool was to enable its duplication and extension by HNZ for later stages of their development projects. For example, the tool was set up to seamlessly adapt or ideally extend as a plug-in for other spatial modelling tools and yield feasibility assessments during the future design phases of a site development.
A future iteration could include tasks such as scenario planning models for property clients and assets, city-wide growth scenarios, as well as infrastructure asset and portfolio management solutions.
This project is aligned with Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) ratings ‒ Australia and New Zealand’s only comprehensive rating system for evaluating sustainability across multiple phases of infrastructure programmes, projects and networks. This was an important objective for HNZ, and top-of-mind for Aurecon in developing the tool, as HNZ strives to leave a positive legacy through the provision of social housing for their customers and the wider community.
Aurecon’s tool will be used by HNZ to inform their redevelopment programme for at least the next decade.
Images courtesy of Housing New Zealand