Context news

Mixed-use vertical communities a way forward for distressed building stock?

27 May 2020

By changing the way we think about and approach urban design, we can revitalise our economy and help some of those hardest-hit by the virus.

We’re in the middle of the perfect storm. The forces of recession and unemployment along with the moves toward remote working, smaller tenancies, and online retail are combining with the drift to A-grade building stock and a hotel boom-and-bust event to leave our city centres with acres of untenanted and distressed stock. Add to this the now age-old housing affordability issues for young people, and it seems there’s little joy to be found.

In a just-published UDINZ thinkpiece, Context Director and UDINZ board member Lisa Hinton presents an alternative to this fairly grim prognosis, wherein the New Zealand development industry and government work together to front-foot these issues by easing the way to developing mixed-use and vertical communities that will bring life into our cities and find new uses for building stock.

Reuse is always preferable to new builds — so not only is this the most sustainable path forwards, it’s the one that will be of greatest benefit to our communities, our landlords, the industry, and our young people.

Head here to read the full in-depth piece, which explores these converging forces and discusses how we can leverage mixed-use and new models such as co-living to revitalise our city centres post COVID-19.


We’re actively working on projects with a look toward a new mixed-use era for New Zealand. If you’d like to know more — or if you have a project we can help with — please get in touch at [email protected].