Why density?

If we want to make Wellington an affordable place to live again, we need to build lots more homes, and we need to build them in the right places. The zoning rules in the new District Plan will determine how our city grows. At City for People, we think dense urban form is the best option. So we’re asking our city councillors to change the zoning rules in the new plan and make it easier to build more homes, closer together, in the existing suburbs near existing transport connections.

Raising building height limits would enable more homes to be built on each section. It’s simple stuff.

Lots of people would be delighted to live in smaller homes if it meant they could live closer to the centre of the city – close to the places they work, study, and socialise. But in large parts of the city, it’s impossible for people to make this choice because the current rules don’t allow terrace houses, or apartment buildings.

If we enable denser development, the city can better invest in low-carbon transport infrastructure like light rail, more frequent and reliable buses, cycle paths, and footpaths. The council is able to invest more money in transport infrastructure in suburbs where lots of people live close together, because there are more potential users of new infrastructure in these suburbs. It helps the business case stack up.

Right now, developers are building almost all of Wellington’s new housing at the edge of the city, because the current zoning rules make it too difficult to build new homes at higher densities within the existing suburbs.

A whole generation of people are being forced out from the central city into new suburbs sprawling north, spending hours every day in traffic jams. This kind of urban form costs our city a lot of money because it is more expensive to provide infrastructure to homes that are spread out - we all have to pay higher rates to cover this expense!

Denser urban form would be cheaper, and would also help the city achieve its climate goals. It’s easier to live a low-carbon lifestyle when we can access everything we need quickly and easily in our immediate surroundings, we don’t need to rely on private vehicles to get around, and we don’t need to use so much energy heating really big homes.

We’re asking Wellington City Councillors to change the zoning rules.

We have five key asks for the new District Plan to help make housing affordable and enable Wellington to become a city for people once again.

Our asks

Got more questions about the District Plan, and how it can help the housing crisis? Check our our frequently asked questions.


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Animations by Niko Elsen, used with permission. Art by Erin Daily.