New apartment developments ditching car parks for 'post-carbon future'


Weeks in isolation are making all of us rethink a lot of things we took for granted, maybe even our dependence on the car.


Not so long ago, a developer wouldn't have dreamed of building an apartment block with no car parking spaces for residents.


Even just five years ago, it was considered a tricky proposition. But that's all changing as local authorities in New Zealand follow the example of big cities around the world, beefing up public transport and developing infrastructure that encourages "active transport" – getting about by bike or walking.

Ockham Residential knows full well what's involved in change acceptance. The developer has helped pioneer housing in New Zealand that encourages no car ownership, and has been aided by the Unitary Plan that no longer requires a certain number of car parks to be provided on site in mixed-use zones.

Daisy, Ockham's large 10 Homestar development in Mt Eden, was designed with no residential car parks, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of residents. Instead there is just one car space for a Cityhop car that can be booked by residents should they need private transport.

Executive director and head of architecture Tania Wong says it was a little difficult to market the concept at the start of the campaign.

"It took a while for buyers to get into that mindset, but by the time construction was completed there were only three or four left unsold out of 33."

Ironically, it was an "anti" opinion piece by broadcaster Mike Hosking that sparked a surge in sales. Hosking didn't like the name, and he couldn't understand why there were no car spaces for residents in Daisy. He said he wouldn't consider buying an apartment unless it came with three car parks.

That publicity sent sales skywards, so much so that Ockham management sent him a bouquet of daisies when the last apartment sold.

"It was all good fun," Wong says. "But the carparking carry-on overshadowed the real innovations at Daisy. Every aspect of the building was designed and conceived to meet the highest possible environmental standards. We wanted to show it could be done."

Daisy remains this country's only completed 10 Homestar apartment building. Its numerous eco features include individual apartment heat recovery ventilation systems, a centralised hot water system run by solar-powered heat pumps that provide 30 per cent of the required heat annually, and rainwater harvesting. And, in case you were wondering, the name comes from the street name – Akepiro is a native tree colloquially known as New Zealand's tree daisy.