The architectural impact of urban intensification: A study of medium density housing in the Auckland region

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Warne, Joshua
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
medium-density housing
housing design
urban intensification
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Warne, J. (2010). The architectural impact of urban intensification: A study of medium density housing in the Auckland region. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
This thesis explores the challenges faced by architects when designing medium density housing in the Auckland region. It investigates the impact of urban intensification on architecture and the counter-effect of architecture on policies for intensification. The lasting impacts of Auckland’s historic urban growth patterns are discussed, and consideration is given to the way in which increasing population and infrastructure pressures caused by low urban density have lead to urban designers to seek to consolidate the city, following the principles of 'compact city' planning strategies. In the theories of compact city planning medium housing offers sustainable social, spatial, and technological benefits to future growth. It is argued that architecture can interpret and represent these principles through design prioritised to address the affective dimensions of density, but at the same time needs to focus on the implications of higher density to ensure social continuity and thus acceptance in the community. The study reviews the history of suburban development and the planning systems that have directed it to discuss how existing planning controls and regulations can be improved upon to increase the quality of housing being produced in Auckland. The conclusion summarises the study with a discussion of the importance of the architect’s role in the development of an intensified city form, and the necessity to further educate and support designers with adequate regulations and guides.
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
All rights reserved
Copyright license
Available online at