Students develop affordable housing concept for New Brighton

MAIN GREEN: A concept for the main green area by Ara students, Nicholas Besuyen, Faridun Joya and Iris Nguyen.

Ara Institute of Canterbury students are investigating the idea of co-housing villages in New Brighton.

The plot of land in question is on the corner of Beresford and Mafeking Sts and is currently a public car park.

Co-housing started in Denmark in 1960, with the idea that ‘it takes 100 parents to raise a child’.

It is community-based and sees people share tasks, such as childcare, gardening, cleaning, communal dining and food production.

The idea is based around living sustainability and gives emphasis to open, shared spaces, including vegetable gardens, bike sharing, tool sheds, children’s areas and gardens.

Engineering and architectural studies tutor Irene Boles said the students hope their concepts will inspire the community and suggest possible scenarios for affordable, quality housing.

The students investigated different housing solutions starting from only 45 sq m of space, which can adapt and grow with the needs of a family.

The focus is on environmentally-friendly medium density villages and all houses would be elevated to meet flood management requirements.

The land is currently owned by Development Christchurch Ltd, a city council entity set up following the earthquakes.

DCL is not associated with the students’ project, but is looking at the possibility of transforming the area into affordable housing in the future.

Ms Boles says a development like this would thrive and expand quickly due to the diverse and inclusive community in New Brighton.

Suitable materials for coastal conditions were also used it the designs, which age well and don’t require chemical treatments.

The project is part of a course called ‘Design for Social Sustainability’ for a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree at Ara. Ms Boles got the idea for the project after meeting with members of the New Brighton Sustainable Coastal Village Project.

The project was founded in 2013 and has been pushing for the idea on the plot of land since.

Ms Boles hopes her students’ research and proposals will inspire more people join the group and help the project go ahead.