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Govt unveils better towns research project

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/05/2016

The government has announced details of its 11th and final National Science Challenges, this one aimed at how the country's homes, cities and towns can be better built.

Funding of $47.9 million will be available over 10 years from the programme's budget.

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities will research how innovation and technology has been tasked with conducting research to develop better housing and urban environments for New Zealanders in the 21st century, says Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

"It will look at how our built environment can be better designed to reflect the impact of modern technologies on how we live, and to lift the quality of life of New Zealanders."

The research will bring together engineers, scientists, and social researchers to work on practical solutions.

Some initial research examples include:

* Making buildings lower maintenance and use less energy and water

* Looking at how infrastructure, streets, public spaces and urban blocks configuration can make people's lives better

* Using data - such as from people's cellphones - to make better decisions about infrastructure

* Identifying successful Maori community housing initiatives that could provide a model for better urban and semi-urban development.

The government unveiled its National Science Challenges programme in 2013. Ten challenges were initially identified, including priorities of health, the environment and resilience to natural disasters, but the homes, towns and cities subject was added later.

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