Category What change looks like   Show all

  • Ka pēhea te āhua o ngā Panonihanga? | What the Changes Will Look Like

    Why do we need higher density housing?

    Rotorua is growing, and like all major cities in New Zealand, we are experience significant housing challenges. We are short of homes, and there is limited bare land available that is suitable for development. There is also very little choice in the type and size of homes available in existing residential areas, with the three/four-bedroom standalone house still the standard throughout Rotorua.

    To address these challenges it is important that Rotorua encourage residential intensification, which can be defined as: 'housing development at a higher density than what currently exists, through development, redevelopment, infill and expansion or conversion of existing buildings'. At a city level this means enabling the city to ‘grow up’ rather than ‘out’ by encouraging the development of multi-unit attached homes in appropriate locations on less land across the urban area. This is a conscious shift away from low-density urban sprawl characterised by large single storey standalone dwellings on large sections.

    What growing up and growing out looks like

    Intensification provides for:

    • A greater proportion of smaller housing typologies on smaller sections creating greater housing choice and more affordable housing overtime
    • Greater access to public amenity, shops and employment particularly for those that do not have access to transport;
    • Reduced travel costs for the local community;
    • Reduced infrastructure costs through more efficient urban growth;
    • A healthy community through the use of more active transport modes and closer proximity to public open space;
    • A positive impact on the climate by reducing carbon emissions, as we rely less on vehicles to get around;
    • Protection of our important productive soils and natural landscapes from encroachment
    • Increased neighbourhood interaction and community cohesion;
    • A safer community through an increase in passive surveillance, as the public realm is used more frequently;
    • Better utilised quality open space;

    The benefits to growing up

    Although it is important that we enable all types of housing, for different life stages and needs, like most parts of New Zealand, our population is aging and older age groups will increasingly make up a larger share of our community. Our aging population will mean smaller households and a growing preference for smaller, attached housing typologies, which we currently have a shortage of. So providing for residential intensification will ensure that as we grow we have enough homes to meet changing housing preferences over time.

    Experiencing Real Change- Long-term view of higher density housing

    Visible change in Rotorua through this plan change would not happen all at once. It would happen over time as development occurs across the city due to market demand, and as people decide to redevelop their sections in existing residential areas. Gradual change could happen like this:




    Remember, what you do with your house or land is up to you – but the proposed changes could open up significant opportunity for our community and our city over time.

    Design Guide

    In addition to the Plan Change, a Draft Design Guide for Residential Intensification has been produced, to provide more guidance on delivering quality intensification for larger scale developments in Rotorua. These have been created as an educational tool for the community, applicants (and their design team) and Council officers, around design principles and techniques which can be implemented to address common issues.

    This is another way we are making sure we’re building a Rotorua for Tomorrow that is fit for everyone’s needs, and that looks attractive.

    This guide is intended to build on the Ministry for the Environment’s National Medium Density Design Guide, which provides guidance on permitted levels of development under the MDRS (i.e. development of up to three residential units on a site).

    Our guide adds more information on intensive development (i.e. more than four dwellings), which are proposed to be assessed through a resource consent process.

    These are issues which are likely to arise in the design of more intensive residential developments (e.g. on-site privacy or building bulk). Matters covered within the Guidelines are aligned with planning provisions within the Plan Change.