Putting the community at the centre of suburban development in Auckland is essential to creating a sense of ownership and pride of place for residents.

Every new development has an impact on the people who live there, and that’s why HLC goes to great lengths to involve the community in the process.

HLC is leading large scale development projects in several established suburbs as part of the Auckland Housing Programme.

These communities have been in place for decades. They’re special and unique and, most importantly, they are people’s treasured homes.

In many cases, the development is replacing substandard housing with modern, quality housing and this is welcomed and supported by the community.

But that housing needs to provide more than a warm, dry, safe place for people to live. It needs to reflect the diverse needs and identity of the established community, both now and into the future.

That’s why it is important to seek input and feedback from the residents living in these communities. Involving the community from the outset guides the design process and lays the foundation for each project.

“More than houses, we are building homes and we’re building community and place,” says Mark Fraser, HLC Project Director.

“It’s one thing to build the houses, but it’s something entirely different to do that with the community and for the community on the way through.”

HLC works alongside mana whenua, residents, schools and community groups to understand the unique needs of each development area.

We’ve created new ways of facilitating community involvement, such as community reference groups, design labs, and public information days.

A great example of this is the Awataha Greenway in Northcote(external link), which has been heavily driven by the community through creative, interactive sessions with residents and students.

In Mangere, we opened an information centre for residents to drop in, share ideas and learn more about the development.

“It’s not about us dreaming up a design in our studio and going and building it, it’s about bringing people along with us on that journey,” says David Irwin, Director, Isthmus Group.

“So that at the end of the day it’s their project much more than it’s our project.”

That’s the ultimate goal: to hand ownership of these development projects back to the community so that they can be valued and enjoyed for many generations to come.

“Fundamental to our approach is that, as the project gets underway, we look after and respect these people’s homes and that way we look after and care for these communities in which we’re operating and we build these neighbourhoods for Auckland’s future,” Fraser says.