Len Brown will make you even sicker

via cathnews.co.nz

via cathnews.co.nz

“Household crowding a health risk”, quotes NZ Herald from a study:

Cold and damp conditions are adding to health problems faced by residents of overcrowded homes, an Auckland budgeting adviser says.

An Otago University study released today shows one in 10 hospital admissions for infectious diseases, including pneumonia, meningococcal disease and tuberculosis, were the result of overcrowded housing.

Darryl Evans, the head of Mangere Budgeting Services, says health problems included other respiratory illnesses.

He said said he had nine cases this year in which he’d helped clients move out of garages or overcrowded housing into better state houses or private rentals.

“In almost every case somebody in the household, whether it’s the children or the adults is suffering from really bad chest infections,” he said.

“Overcrowding has been a major issue for people – we are consistently seeing children present with respiratory infections, chest infections and asthma.

NZ Herald article is proof that Auckland’s soaring house prices are pushing people into sharing accommodation leading to a significant increase in disease.Len Brown wants a more compact city. But he hasn’t considered for a second what are the consequences. There is no analysis from Auckland Council on risks associated with disease and infection caused by crowding people.

Increased rates of infection are in part segregated to lower socioeconomic areas where homes are in poor quality although that is also a where all the crowding is occurring. So it is perhaps a combination of factors – crowding, low quality homes and wealth.

What this could be pointing towards is the rise of slums. Deteriorating housing stock, owned predominantly by slum-lord investors is a feature of those areas of Auckland. Whilst residential investment property should be subject to building Warrant of Fitness standards and inspections that alone will not resolve over-crowding or rates of disease.

Getting rid of overcrowding is the most likely solution to ease pressure. More new affordable housing. Rather than intensive compact jammed in slums that will happen if Len’s compact city is allowed.


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  • Chad Chambers

    Nice scaremongering Cameron.

    New medium-density housing will be built to modern, “healthy” standards, not 1950’s standards as shown in the houses you have pictured. Most people have learned a thing or two since then, including planners, architects, and engineers.

    • You’re right. The picture should look more like this.

      • Chad Chambers

        Hmm, more 1950’s architecture. Showing your age there, Petal.

        • PlanetOrphan

          More like the Judge Dredd mega City ?

    • philbest

      There is no example in the world of a planned growth-contained city where housing of any kind is affordable. You can still get a whole decent house in an affordable US city for less than what a disgusting old row house would cost you in a UK city or in Vancouver or Sydney.

      This leads to overcrowding as well as REDUCED renewal of older housing which is kept in service longer because everyone’s income is swallowed up in inflated land costs. The UK is a disaster after 60 years of growth containment planning of all its cities, including in health outcomes. Hugh Pavletich has all the stats on this on his Performance Urban Planning website. “Build rates per 100,000 population”. The UK is building about one tenth as many new homes as it should be just to replace old falling down shite.

      • Chad Chambers

        Then where to put all the people? Don’t know if you’ve noticed but the roading infrastructure in Auckland is under enormous strain as it is, and there is enormous oppostion to any kind of rail solution amongst the current decision-makers.

        • philbest

          You growth-containment fanatics always present false choices. Besides the UK’s longtime growth-contained cities having disastrously unaffordable housing of increasing age and declining size and quality, their cities lag comparable cities with less growth containment in productivity by 20% to 40%, and they also have a worse crisis with infrastructure costs than the USA’s non-growth-contained cities. (Ref. McKinsey Institute 1998, “Driving Productivity and Growth in the UK Economy”).
          There is no proof that infrastructure costs are lower with higher density; that is nothing more than an assumption. There is no correlation in data sets. Other factors are more important than density, particularly, how efficient the local government is, period. This is a massive problem in most cities in NZ.
          Wendell Cox and Ronald Utt point out in one of their papers, that even if one particular study was correct to say that the cost of infrastructure with no growth containment is $80 per household per year higher, this is peanuts compared to the added housing costs when median multiples are 6+ instead of 3. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2004/06/the-costs-of-sprawl-reconsidered-what-the-data-really-show

          “Discretionary income” in the USA’s cities with median multiples of 3 beats all other options hands down. One of the slides in this presentation has a chart for discretionary incomes by city.

          Check out the appendix “Table 8” beginning on page 36
          of this paper to see if you can see any correlations between density and average commute-to-work time.

          The public are being sold a pack of lies. The underlying vested interests are probably the larger property owners, especially in the CBD, who reap massive capital gains when land prices are inflated by growth containment urban planning. Also, the Council hopes to gouge a share of “value uplift” to get a new revenue stream so they don’t have to reform in the direction of efficiency. I doubt the bureaucrats actually believe a word they say about “providing affordable housing”; they are up to an utterly cynical and unprincipled ploy at the expense of society and the economy.

  • Mr_Blobby

    “Increased rates of infection are in part segregated to lower
    socioeconomic areas where homes are in poor quality although that is
    also a where all the crowding is occurring. So it is perhaps a
    combination of factors – crowding, low quality homes and wealth.”

    Have you thought that they are also the group that is most likely to damage houses. Tenant damage, in these areas, is significant and it is almost impossible to get them to pay for the damage.

    Perhaps the policy should be to price them out of the market and into areas they can afford.

    • Chad Chambers

      You mean Reporoa, right?