A research team comprising the School of Sport and Recreation and School of Business has secured $7.95 million to quantify the societal impact of major urban regeneration projects currently taking place across the country.
The multilayered and multi-university programme, led by Associate Professor Scott Duncan, Professor Erica Hinckson and Professor Gail Pacheco, will run for five years and aims to enhance the revitalisation of New Zealand communities to improve people’s wellbeing.
Dr Duncan says outcomes will provide developers and policymakers with new and essential information on the multifaceted impact of major urban regeneration on the people of New Zealand, giving direction to future improvements.
“Our focus on wellbeing has arisen from substantial international evidence indicating that countries that enhance wellbeing not only raise the standard of living for their citizens but also create a foundation for stronger and more resilient economic growth," he says.
Stage one of the programme will unravel the long-term impact of urban regeneration on community wellbeing and deprivation using routinely collected government data. Stage two will focus on Kāinga Ora tenants — a population that experiences significant economic, social, health, and education hardship — to examine their personal wellbeing at various stages of housing development.
The final stage will work with affected residents to explore how urban regeneration impacts ‘experienced’ wellbeing (e.g. momentary affective states like stress, anxiety, mood), physical activity, social contact, sense of community, neighbourhood interaction/mobility, and cultural identity. It will employ methods like Citizen Science for Health Equity, a community-based participatory research and innovative measurement techniques such as custom smartphone apps, accelerometers, and portable GPS devices.
“Given the trend to fund major urban regeneration as a means to revitalise communities, address inequity, and improve social capital, we believe that the outcomes of this research will have a major impact on how future urban renewal projects are designed, implemented, and evaluated in New Zealand and overseas.”