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New Science Challenge to build a better NZ

New Science Challenge to build a better NZ


The Government has announced a new initiative to develop better housing and urban environments as part of its programme of National Science Challenges.

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities – Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora was one of the areas identified by the National Science Challenges Panel in 2013 where science has the potential to significantly benefit New Zealand. This is the eleventh National Science Challenge to be announced by the Government.

The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Challenge will deliver:

· practical solutions to develop smart cities, better transport and healthy urban environments

· solutions to constraints on construction sector productivity and innovation uptake

· innovative materials, processes and devices for the New Zealand construction sector

· better understanding of demographic drivers and consumer preferences in housing

· solutions for cost-effective upgrades to existing building stock.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Challenge will research new technology and long-term solutions for our building environment.

“The knowledge created by this Challenge will transform our urban environments into more vibrant places to live and give us affordable, well-located houses and buildings that meet the demands of our diverse population and are resilient to change and shocks such as natural disasters,” Mr Joyce says.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith says the Building a Better New Zealand Science Challenge is another important plank in the Government's comprehensive plan to increase housing supply and improve affordability.

"There are excellent new technologies and systems that have the potential to increase the affordability of housing and the supply of housing, and improve the resilience of our housing stock. This Challenge will accelerate the development and adoption of these new technologies and systems and will complement the Government’s wider housing reform programme,” Dr Smith says.

“We have a huge opportunity to incorporate some of these new ideas and solutions as we re-build Christchurch, and cater for Auckland’s expansion.”

Implementation of the Challenge was initially deferred to await the outcome of a joint industry/government consultation - Building a Better New Zealand – that was under way at the time.

Building a Better New Zealand identified a number of important research opportunities for the building sector.

Workshops will now be held with potential Challenge participants and groups who can act on the Challenge results – including representatives of councils, sector groups, and iwi. These workshops will work on the final scope of the Challenge which is a 10-year research programme.

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