Housing and intensification are by far and away the biggest parts of the Unitary Plan being discussed in public. In many ways it feels that we are heading for a real generational divide. Those that strongly support the plan tend to be young (or young at heart) and they see the benefits and opportunities that intensification can provide. On the other side of the debate, those opposing intensification tend to be at other end of the age spectrum. In these types of consultations, those opposing change tend to be more vocal than those supporting it and this has been the case from those attending community meetings on the Unitary Plan. As you can see from a couple of the photos below, only one age group tends to be represented with the vast majority fitting a very specific demographic.
While there will definitely be some high rise intensification in the major metropolitan centres, the vast majority of intensification that will occur throughout the region will happen through lower rise intensification. By that I am referring to infill housing, town houses, terraced houses and low rise apartments up to 4 stories in height. But there are plenty of examples out in the community of exactly the kind of intensification but it is arguably the last point, multi-story apartments that are causing the most fear. So with that in I thought I would show a few examples of where they exist in the community (some are my own photos, some come from Google).
Now some of you may recognise these locations but if you don’t, all are retirement villages. Places where possibly a number of the people in the photos above may spend the last years of their lives.
As people age, many don’t want the burden of maintaining a large section and house. Developments like these ones allow for people to stay within their neighbourhood as they progress through life. This will only become more important as especially as more of the baby boomer generation start to move into retirement. But it isn’t necessarily just about staying in the community, often people move to retirement villages for lifestyle purposes. My former neighbours are a good example of this. They liked to travel a lot, often at short notice so decided to move to a village allowing them lock up and leave without having to worry about their house or gardens.
Obviously not everyone will want to move to a retirement village like these ones, but it’s worth reminding our older generations that while they may be happy in their house now, one day they might be thankful that intensification allows them to stay in their communities, close to their friends and family.