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Student competition for future Glen Innes Housing

Student competition for future Glen Innes Housing redevelopment

A competition for University of Auckland Engineering students to redesign a Glen Innes site using Low Impact Design practices, as part of any redevelopment of the area, was launched today by the Auckland Regional Council, University of Auckland, and Housing New Zealand Corporation.

The winning design team will receive a cash prize of $2000.

Low Impact Design (LID) is a practice being adopted internationally to prevent huge volumes of stormwater and contaminants running off urban areas, polluting waterways and causing stream erosion. Stream erosion is the biggest source of sediment from existing urban areas going into Auckland’s estuaries and harbours.

The LID process involves taking an innovative approach to site design with the focus on; minimising the amount of runoff and contaminants generated by paved areas; reducing impervious surfaces; increased vegetation; and avoidance of building materials that leach contaminants. Roof gardens, rain gardens, and rain tanks are also incorporated into the site to create a functional landscape, and where possible piped streams are converted back to their natural state.

ARC Stormwater Action Team leader Earl Shaver says it is hoped the competition will encourage the Engineering students to think outside the conventional engineering approach to managing stormwater run-off.

“These are the engineers of the future and we want Low Impact Design to be a foundation to their design approaches early on in their career progress,” Mr Shaver says. “Having students design the LID concepts for the Glen Innes site will encourage alternative thinking to the ‘cookie cutter approach’ to site development.“

The students will need to consider that any possible redevelopment of the site could provide for a minimum of 1500 residential units, comprising three to four storey apartment buildings, two to three storey terrace housing, and two storey stand alone housing.

ARC Regional Strategy and Planning Committee Chair Cr Paul Walbran says any future redevelopment of the Glen Innes and Tamaki area would be a golden opportunity to showcase the symbiotic relationship between good urban design and reducing impacts of development on Auckland’s streams, estuaries and harbours.

“The community have stated quite clearly that they want any redevelopment to be aesthetically pleasing while meeting the needs of a growing region – and Low Impact Design addresses these concerns because it involves reintroducing the natural environment into built areas,” Cr Walbran says.

Housing New Zealand Corporation Tamaki Community Renewal Project Manager Stuart Bracey says a decision has not yet been made by HNZC to redevelop its housing at the site, but HNZC encourages creative thinking in Low Impact Design practices.

“Managing stormwater is a key challenge for any urban redevelopment proposal,” Mr Bracey says. “Working with the ARC and the University of Auckland is one way of promoting new ways of looking at this challenge and Housing New Zealand is keen to see what practical and affordable stormwater design solutions the students come up with.”

University of Auckland Civil and Environmental Engineering lecturer Dr Elizabeth Fassman says it is important that students gain practical experience to take with them out into the work force.

“The ARC and Housing New Zealand have devised a fantastic concept for a competition that will challenge students to apply classroom learning to a very real, and very difficult urban infrastructure problem in a manner not typically used by the profession – yet!” Ms Fassman says.

“As LID is a relatively new approach in NZ to stormwater management, working with the sponsoring agencies exposes students to the challenges of satisfying regulatory requirements while trying to push the envelope for a forward-thinking client.”


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