With Shelley Ferguson, co-host of The Block
You’ve been spending a bit of time out at Hobsonville Point lately. What are your thoughts on the development and what would you say are the pros and cons of planned communities? I’m really impressed with Hobsonville Point. While many of the homes are similar in size and layout because it’s a planned community, there’s a really good variety of design styles from basic yet stylish to those designed by notable architects. The architects have cleverly used natural light, joinery, cladding and rooflines for differentiation and a variation of aesthetic.
The pros are cost: economies of scale on building materials, savings on plans due to multiple dwellings, and small land sizes keep the cost of buying a home down. Also ease of living – there are great amenities, shops and recreation activities so everything you need is a walk away. Usually there’s a governing body, meaning shared spaces are well maintained and there’s a shared interest in security which makes for a lovely, neighbourly feel. I guess the cons of planned communities are if you’re not a fan of the house styles on offer, or if you’d rather be in a central location.
Do you think opinions are shifting when it comes to the style and design of high-density housing? Definitely. High-density is now appealing to three key groups of people: those who can’t afford a large home, those who want or need to live in the city, and those who choose to embrace high-density for reasons such as sustainability and simplification of life. Because of the demand, the industry has really stepped up to offer beautiful design styles for a range of budgets. However, there just aren’t enough on offer in the areas needed and the cost of quality is still too expensive for many.