Regenerative Development in the New Zealand Built Environment: Achieving Multi-capital Outcomes Through Improved Public Investment Decisions
Trichur Khabeer Abdul, Qadir
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This thesis presents perceived definitions, benefits, barriers and proposed solutions for the contextualisation and application of the regenerative development concept in New Zealand built environment public-spend projects. Regenerative development is the approach and process of achieving positive, broader social, natural, financial and human outcomes collectively through built environment investment decisions. Due to the novelty of the emerging field, the effects of regenerative development and design in New Zealand are unresearched and undocumented. There is a requirement for further understanding of what the application may look like and what would it mean to the built environment industry across the public-spend system. The research design was based on a qualitative, critical interpretivist approach using systems theory with Rasmussen’s Socio-Technical Model and Diffusion of Innovation Model to develop the boundaries for the study, and Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System Model to present the findings for reported barriers and proposed solutions for the application of regenerative development in New Zealand built environment projects. These were then used to develop the conceptual frameworks for pre-feasibility decision-making for regenerative projects. The study employed phased data collection in the form of archival data and pilot interviews (Phase One), semi-structured interviews (Phase Two), and Focus Group Discussions (Phase Three). These drew together 50 system-wide participants from politicians, central and local government officials, industry professionals, researchers, and community and Mana Whenua representatives. Various themes resulted from the findings of Phases One and Two which were then prioritised to three main themes in Phase Three. These themes are funding and finance, skills and capability, and New Zealand built environment system elements of project owner buy-in, trust, and diverse representation. The thesis concludes by presenting the overall conclusions. The key conclusion is that the regenerative development concept requires a fresh approach to how decisions are made and funded. It requires current system-wide decision-making and funding structures, processes, and capability, and a system-wide will to collaborate (together as one for New Zealand) and collectively enable multiple-capital outcomes through public investment.