Tā mātou e tūhura ana
What we are investigating
Take | Issue
Lack of exercise is a risk factor for poor health. Active travel can enhance health and wellbeing but many neighbourhoods in Aotearoa New Zealand are not designed to promote it. Improvements to transport and community infrastructure could address this gap but the best combination of interventions is still unknown.
Whāinga | Aim
This research aims to investigate the impact of transport and community infrastructure on peoples’ health and wellbeing. It will evaluate different ways of “retro-fitting” the design of our cities, and increase transport choice, to encourage more active modes of travel and reduce car dependence.
Huarahi I Whāia | Approach
The project will explore interventions that best fit with local opportunities and preferences across two locations, Māngere and central Christchurch. Once interventions are implemented, the research team will measure health and wellbeing-related impacts using survey and observational research.
In Māngere, the project will build on an intervention where neighbourhood streets have been retro-fitted to prioritise active travel. The project will investigate the impact of locally co-designed activities – aimed at increasing the connectivity of walking and biking infrastructure – on physical activity, social connection and safety.
In Christchurch, the project will investigate changes in travel practices associated with moving to new higher density central city building developments. Interviews and surveys will explore the factors that ensure success, such as attitude and behaviour change, and regulatory and institutional requirements. The research will inform ways that transport and housing design can be integrated to encourage active mobility in urban regeneration programmes.
This project is funded by:
Ageing Well and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges.
Puka Rangahau | Academic Publications
- (Un)successful Urban Regeneration and Wellbeing Inter-Sector Collaboration in a Regenerating Post-Disaster City. Built Environment, Volume 49, Number 2, Summer 2023, pp. 267-285(19)
- Māori experiences of social housing in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online (2023)
Pāpāho | Media
- Transport research planned Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust, June 2021
- Social housing complex residents to get shared electric bikes and cars Stuff.co.nz, July 2021
- A conversation with Karen Witten on transport and health YouTube, September 2021
- In Touch: OCHT (1m57s) Metro News, October 2021
- Auckland public transport: Do it once and do it right Newsroom, April 2022
- Don’t believe the backlash – the benefits of NZ investing more in cycling will far outweigh the costs The Conversation, May 2022
Kōnae Whakaata | Video
- Living Streets Aotearoa - The fourth Aotearoa New Zealand Walking Summit - 24-25 July 2023
- Nicki Williams, Walking While Female (video, 19:01)
- Professor Simon Kingham, The potential for walkable street spaces to enhance wellbeing (video, 9:47)