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National Science Challenge 11

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Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities

Next Generation Information for Better Outcomes


Overview  Map-based tools for community and Runanga-led sustainable town planning

Current urban and town planning processes in Aotearoa present few ways to include local knowledge and bicultural views in the decisions affecting cities and towns. This project looks at developing new strategies and tools to improve collaborative planning in Aotearoa New Zealand, by including local knowledge from communities and Rūnanga in town planning. These tools can be developed as maps, mobile applications, or websites, to provide local communities with opportunities to have a say about local needs, priorities, and concerns.
The project focuses on two cases, the Waimakariri and Rotorua, in which the tools can be developed in relation to their specific contexts, and then replicated in other towns and cities across Aotearoa New Zealand facing similar town planning challenges. Many towns in the country are exposed to natural hazards, and how communities and governments plan for post-disaster recovery coupled with population growth in the Waimakariri can provide relevant lessons across the country.The case of Rotorua is equally pertinent, providing insights to other towns in New Zealand, also growing rapidly in population, resulting in urban development pressures and fast-paced transformation affecting the lives of resident communities. For this, the research will identify how best to connect and communicate with Rūnanga and other local communities, to collaboratively define what the tools should look like, and how they should be created with, and for, communities. Once developed, these tools will provide communities with a platform to share and exchange information and knowledge about issues impacting their towns, informing and connecting to planning processes.

This project looks at developing new strategies and tools to improve collaborative planning in Aotearoa New Zealand, by including local knowledge from communities and Rūnanga in town planning.

Main Research Outcomes
University of Canterbury Science and Engineering researchers have gained $10.7 million in funding for five Smart Ideas proposals and two Research Programmes in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2017 Endeavour Round.

UC researcher, Dr Rita Dionisio, is leading a new Research Programme creating map-based tools for community and rūnanga-led, sustainable town planning in small and medium settlements, which has been funded $2,570,250 over the next five years.

This is one of seven new UC research projects will be funded for the next three to five years under MBIE’s Endeavour Fund, which invests in excellent science that has the potential to positively impact New Zealand economically, environmentally and socially.

University of Canterbury Deputy Vice-Chancellor Te Tumu Tuarua Professor Ian Wright is thrilled with the success of the UC researchers’ proposals.[blockquote text=”“The breadth of the projects – extending from geospatial tools for community and rūnanga town planning, to a new biomarker assay platform for disease detection, to tuning protein expression for primary sector applications, to understanding the possible recovery trajectories for Kaikōura marine ecosystems – demonstrates the wide-ranging capacity of UC’s original, significant research.“
“][blockquote text=”“It is also pleasing to see the quantum of funding secured, some $10.7 million, which shows that UC is continuing to be successful in a highly competitive process.””][blockquote text=”“This success highlights the ability of UC’s researchers to generate fundable ideas that are relevant, are excellent research, and could make a significant difference for New Zealand,” Professor Wright “]Smart Ideas are defined as innovative research projects that have a high potential to benefit New Zealand, while Research Programmes support ambitious, well-defined research ideas, which have high potential to positively transform areas of future value, growth or critical need to New Zealand.