In other articles we have talked about the growing population growth pressures for Kerikeri and the need for controlled development in order to maintain the liveability of the town.
The urban "sprawl" around Kerikeri cannot conitnue unchecked and, in reality, a large dwelling on larger sections is not necessarily the housing option for all. For one or two person households, a smaller townhouse offers attractions such as; lower maintenance, proximity to the town centre, lock-up-and-leave, etc., that they cannot achieve with a larger dwelling or section.
The Kerikeri/Waipapa Structure Plan proposed increased densities within a five minute walking time to the town centre of 20-24 dwelling units per hectare. Vision Kerikeri supports higher density housing but we are concerned by some of the high density development that is happening.
Smaller dwellings in closer proximity to each other require far more design thought in order to provide the occupier with an acceptable lifestyle opportunity and deliver an astheticly pleasing housing cluster. Unfortunately, this type of development is all to often promoted as an "investment option" (for rentals) and, for some reason, lifestyle does not seem to be considered a high priority to renters. We are moving into an era where home ownership is out of reach for a growing proportion of the population while others simply choose to rent rather than buy,
Urban design in Kerikeri needs take into account the demographics of the town where more than 50% of households have two or fewer occupants and, our climate encourages outdoor living. The creation of semi-detached houses constructed to be more liveable becomes a win-win-win proposition for; occupants, developers and the town in general.
The image below shows a small 2 bedroom townhouse which was part of a group of four. As it was built it provided very little outlook. The property has since been transformed to provide an outdoor living area which with the addition of bi-fold doors creates not just a pleasant outdoor "room" but gives the occupants an outlook they could not previously enjoy.