Special Housing Areas (SHAs) are an important policy response to rising house prices and concerns about housing affordability. Speakers Laurence Murphy, Ralph Chapman, Nick Preval and Ed Randal discuss the implications of SHAs for urban planning and growth, urban policies and politics, and environmental sustainability? Watch the video:

Special Housing Areas (SHAs) have been established as an important policy response to rising house prices and increasing concerns around housing affordability in New Zealand. While justified as a necessary response to a housing supply crisis, the creation of SHAs has significant implications for urban planning practice and the future of urban growth. Laurence Murphy examined the nature of policy development, and the evolving political dynamics, around SHAs. In particular, he offered a critical review of the policy rationale and impacts of SHAs. Nick Preval and Ed Randal presented key findings from a study of SHAs in Auckland. SHA developments were assessed using four measures of environmental sustainability: population density, carbon emissions, cycling and walking, and stormwater pollution.


  • Laurence Murphy is professor of human geography in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. He has published widely on housing and urban topics including housing policy, homeownership, social housing rental, mortgage securitisation, office development, and finance capital and entrepreneurial urban governance. He completed his PhD at the University of Dublin (Trinity College) and has held lecturing posts at Queen’s University Belfast and the London School of Economics.
  • Nick Preval, Ed Randal and Ralph Chapman are researchers with the Resilient Urban Futures programme at the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities. Nick studies the costs, benefits and risks of compact or dispersed trajectories of urban development, as well as the costs and benefits resulting from improving heating and insulation in homes. Ed researches the relationships between land-use, transport, health and sustainable environment in NZ cities, and has a particular interest in cycling for transport.

This event was held on 11 August 2016.

For more information please contact libby.grant@otago.ac.nz.

Climate Change Energy Health Housing & Building NZ Policy Transport Urban design & planning Urban Governance