What’s driving urban change in your city? We held seminars and interviews in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington Region, Christchurch and Dunedin with researchers looking into issues of urban development, housing, transport and environment, and with political decision-makers who shape our urban life.

Our seminar on Drivers of Urban Change in the Wellington Region is available on video, with speakers Ralph Chapman, Philippa Howden-Chapman, Mayor Ray Wallace, Arthur Grimes.

How can our cities provide a desirable, prosperous, socially inclusive, healthy and environmentally sustainable way of life? This report brings together the views of key decision-makers and cutting-edge research, exploring the issues of compact vs. dispersed urban development, infrastructure renewal, resilient transport patterns and healthy, affordable housing. The authors draw upon interviews with over 90 stakeholders in the policy-making process and a nationwide opinion poll to delve behind the scenes.


For further information, please contact libby.grant@otago.ac.nz


  • Ralph Chapman

    Associate Professor Ralph Chapman is an economist who has worked in government and the private sector as a consultant. He is director of the Graduate Programme in Environmental Studies, Victoria University of Wellington and is a researcher on climate change policies. Ralph is co-director of the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities where his work focuses on urban form and implications for carbon emissions. He has become interested in practical ways of doing something about climate change – that is, mitigation policies in transport, energy, housing and cities.

  • Dave Cull

    Dave Cull is Mayor of Dunedin. He stood successfully for Dunedin City Council in 2007 and was appointed Deputy Chair of the Economic Development Committee where he was instrumental in the development of the Dunedin Digital Strategy. He believes that digital technology is part of the essential infrastructure of the 21st century. Dave stood successfully as a mayoral candidate in 2010. His focus in his second term as Mayor has been on strengthening the community and the economic capacity of the city.

    Dave completed a BA in Political Science at the University of Otago and worked part-time as a teacher and in the building industry. He has worked on TV One as a presenter of home improvement and DIY shows. He has published several books, on subjects as diverse as icebergs, weather and wine, and training manuals as well as writing for newspapers, magazines and radio.

  • Lianne Dalziel

    Lianne Dalziel was elected Mayor of Christchurch in 2013 after serving for 23 years in the NZ Parliament, the last four terms as MP for Christchurch East. Lianne’s electorate was severely affected by the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and she played an important role in ensuring that her constituents were kept well-informed and their concerns were communicated to decision-makers. Lianne has become a champion of urban resilience and was invited to join the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNISDR) Advisory Group of Parliamentarians for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2012. Christchurch was selected in 2013 as one of the first tranche of cities to participate in the 100 Resilient Cities Network pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

  • Arthur Grimes

    Arthur Grimes completed his PhD in Economics at the London School of Economics in 1987 following his BSocSc(Hons) at University of Waikato. He is a Senior Fellow at Motu Research, an Adjunct Professor of Economics at Victoria University of Wellington, Board Member of the Financial Markets Authority, and chairs the Hugo Group. He was Reserve Bank of New Zealand Chair from 2003–2013. Prior to his time at Motu, Arthur was Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (Victoria University of Wellington), Chief Executive of Southpac, and Chief Economist at both the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the National Bank of New Zealand. In 2005, Arthur was awarded the NZIER Economics Award recognising excellence in economics related to New Zealand’s economic welfare. His current research centres on urban economics, the economics of wellbeing, and aspects of central banking (including exchange rates and currency union).

  • Julie Hardaker

    Julie Hardaker has been Mayor of Hamilton since October 2013. Previously she was a partner in the long-established local law firm McCaw Lewis Chapman, where she specialised in employment law. She has been on the boards of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., St Peters School Board of Trustees, Habitat for Humanity Waikato and the Waikato branch of the SPCA. She is a patron of the Hamilton Citizens Band, Hamilton Brass Band, Waikato Table Tennis Association, Right Track and the Waikato A&P Association. She is also Vice Patron of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Inc. and the Mystery Creek Events Centre, as well as an Honorary Vice Patron of Prisoners Aid & Rehabilitation Society of the Waikato District Inc. Mayor Hardaker has lived in Hamilton for the past 25 years and has a keen interest in history, art and the environment.

  • Philippa Howden-Chapman

    Philippa Howden-Chapman is a professor of public health at the University of Otago, Wellington, where she teaches public policy. She is director of He Kainga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme and the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities. She has conducted a number of randomised community housing trials in partnership with local communities, which have had a major influence on housing, health and energy policy. She has a strong interest in reducing inequalities in the determinants of health and has published widely in this area, receiving awards for her work, including the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in 2014. She is chair of the WHO Housing and Health Guideline Development Group and was a member of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and leads the MBIE-funded Resilient Urban Futures research programme.

  • Penny Hulse

    Penny Hulse was elected Deputy Mayor of the first Auckland Council in 2010. Previously she served on Waitakere local government bodies for 18 years, the last three years as Deputy Mayor. She is chair of the Auckland Development and Auckland Plan Committees and has led the challenging Auckland Unitary Plan process. Penny is a committed conservationist and was instrumental in efforts to protect the Waitakere rainforest through legislation and regional funding for Project Twin Streams. Penny has strong links to her community and she represents the Waitakere ward on the Auckland Council.

  • Simon Kingham

    Professor Simon Kingham is Director of the Geospatial Research Institute and Director of the GeoHealth Laboratory at the University of Canterbury. His research focuses on the relationships between the urban environment and health. There is a strong geospatial component to his work with a particular focus on transport and how to make it more sustainable, people’s perceptions and attitudes to transport and specifically attitudes to school and work travel. His research interests also include health geography looking at the social and environmental determinants of health and environmental exposure: how we measure and quantify health affecting aspects of the environment. He is a researcher in the Resilient Urban Futures programme.

  • Biddy Livesey

    Biddy Livesey is a PhD candidate at Massey University, Auckland. Her current research looks at the urban development of land acquired as commercial redress through settlements under the Treaty of Waitangi. She has worked in the area of urban development as a policy planner at Auckland Council and as a policy analyst at the NZ Ministry for the Environment. She has an MSc in Urban Management and Development, a BSc in Ecology and Biodiversity, and a BA in Te Reo Māori.

  • Donna Matahaere-Atariki

    Donna Matahaere-Atariki has over 25 years’ experience working on behalf of communities. She has spent a number of years as a policy director in the public sector, built and led the provision of services for vulnerable groups and has an uncompromising focus on inequalities and the unequal burden experienced by Māori and Pasifika communities. Donna is chair of Ōtākou Runanga as well as chair of the National NGO Council for the MoH. A Trustee of WellSouth Primary Health Network, she is also a member of the Bathgate Park Primary School Board of Trustees. A former member of the National Taskforce on Family Violence, Donna is also on the board of Te Whare Pounamu and a Gambling Commissioner.

  • Jonathan Moores

    Jonathan Moores is Group Manager of NIWA’s Urban Aquatic Environments Group based in Auckland. He leads research on stormwater quality and its effects on receiving waterbodies, including predictive modelling studies and field-based investigations to characterise stormwater quality and the performance of stormwater treatment devices. He has previous regulatory, policy development and public liaison experience working in local government. Jonathan leads the Urban Planning that Sustains Waterbodies (UPSW) research project, an inter-disciplinary programme of research to develop a decision support tool for urban planning.

  • Guy Salmon

    Guy Salmon is executive director of the Ecologic Foundation. He is an environmental policy specialist, working in policy advice, consulting and research roles. His comparative study of environmental decision-making in New Zealand and the Nordic countries (with collaborators at the University of Helsinki) highlighted the power of collaborative governance for integrating economic and environmental outcomes, and led to Guy championing the adoption of collaborative governance practices in New Zealand. He has worked as a convenor, project manager, adviser and participant in a range of consensus-building policy processes. He has been a member of the Advisory Group on Green Growth and of the Land and Water Forum. Guy’s policy research work embraces climate change, water management, urban issues and collaborative governance.

  • Ray Wallace

    Ray Wallace has been Mayor of Hutt City since October 2010. He was first elected to Hutt City Council in 1995 and served as Deputy Mayor from 2001 to 2005. During his 15 years as a councillor he held various senior positions on Council committees including chair of Operations and Compliance, Community Grants, Community Services Committee and the Heritage Advisory Committee. He has been involved in numerous community projects, such as fundraising for the local volunteer fire brigade, organising foodbank appeals and coordinating youth awards. He has been a Justice of the Peace for 16 years.

  • Karen Witten

    Karen Witten is a professor of public health at SHORE & Whariki Research Centre at Massey University, Auckland. She is a geographer and psychologist with an interest in urban neighbourhoods and how their design and infrastructure influences the social relationships, transport choices and well-being of residents. She is a member of the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities and a lead researcher in the Resilient Urban Futures programme on residential choice and community formation.

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