Karori quarter-hour paradise: technical detail
Below is the nuts and bolts of how even the basic quarter-hour paradise recipe applied to a place can immediately help that place work better for everyone, including the environment. We’ve put a little bit of crystal-ball colour around the base technical specs, to indicate what kind of thing they make possible, and to spark the local conversations.
There’s more detail behind this again so if you’re a super-nerd (like us), feel free to drop us a line.
And of course, there’s no local flavour or community nuance yet, so once you’ve had a read and – especially if you’re local – you’re full of ideas for how to do this better, make sure you join some of the conversation online!
Buildings base-isolated for owner and communal resilience
Lighter construction helps seismic resilience (see low carbon, below)
- Buildings are designed to need minimal heating and cooling.
- The buildings are well orientated to make the most of the sun’s free energy and light while also providing shading in the summer with overhangs/shades on windows on north and western faces that help prevent overheating.
- The buildings have well-insulated walls, and high spec airtight windows with minimal thermal bridging (less condensation and heat loss to outdoors).
- Energy efficient fixtures are used throughout (e.g. LED lighting)
- Ventilation systems have heat recovery
- Heat pumps with low GWP refrigerants are used for any space heating andor hot water needs.
- ‘Smart’ electricity meters are installed and appliances can be programmed to run when electricity prices (and carbon emissions) are low e.g. overnight.
- Covered garden / conservatory spaces included as part of building roof garden areas, for growing food and neighbourhood connection
- Roof and deck gardens on alternate floors of all buildings
- All buildings meet future operational carbon and embodied carbon Building Code requirements proposed under MBIE’s Building for Climate Change programme: lower-carbon footprint construction and materials (e.g.timber floors, hybrid timber/steel frame, terracotta façade cladding)
- Natural gas is a thing of the past. All space heating and hot water is electrified using heat-pumps, electric elements, or solar
- All cooking is electric. Induction stovetops are the norm: compared with 2022 there is much less wasted energy and fewer pollutants (indoor air quality is better)
- Non-toxic materials are used throughout, such as interior finishes (paints etc) with low VOC / formaldehyde content, and low-PVC plumbing and cabling for utilities
- Buildings have good access to natural light and views to the outdoors – particularly in living and working spaces
- Windows are airtight but all homes include opening windows
- Multi-core residential buildings – more units have frontages at least two sides, and natural ventilation is easier
Development and destination performance
- 1,000 more people are now living in this picture than in 2022
- Public and community gatherings of different kinds are happening every day in the village square
- The street is now equally welcoming people from all walks of life – all ages, all abilities
- In the village square, there’s always someone playing , reading, or hanging out
- While access to the central city is cheaper and easier, 30% more Karori residents now choose to spend whole days in Karori
- People living two blocks either side of Karori Road have a 15-minute neighbourhood lifestyle
- The street is significantly greener and more pleasant to spend time on
- People see and honour the underground tributary of Karori Stream near Raine St
- Most of the homes and all ground-floor uses are universally accessible
- Homes are a wide variety of sizes, from 1 bedroom through to 5- bedroom
- Design of common areas and shared facilities within the residential buildings (such as roof allotments, lounges and games rooms, deck gardens, shared bike and scooter parking, and play areas) encourages “bumping into”, and forming relationships with other residents
- Most buildings have 2-4 floors of homes above ground-floors of working spaces, shops, and places to eat and do stuff
- There’s a new village square that flows from the street and bus stop, overlooked by homes
Population density means lots of amenities (early childhood, schools, medical, community facilities, and places to eat and drink) are now within 15 minutes’ walk, scoot or wheel from home
Population density has enabled a dedicated movie theatre by Raine St and a bespoke community space by the Library
Balconies, pocket parks, and good quality building design help create integrate residential life with street (street as backyard)
Ground floors have public-facing and work-related uses (local hospitality, local retail, small offices and businesses)
There’s pedestrian scale lighting (on verandahs etc)
The street has lots of natural overlooks ( lots of “eyes on the street”)
Symbolic street art marks the natural flow of the stream beneath your feet
Water and ecological performance
- The average household’s water footprint in this neighourhood is about a quarter lower than in the rest of Karori (most traditional NZ standalone houses)
- Runoff into Karori Stream is cleaner and so is the Stream (less sewage, fewer road-surface contaminants)
- There’s less nuisance flooding from stormwater for footpaths, bike/ micro-mobility paths and intersections.
- Karori Stream floods less often than in 2022
- Native birds and insects are so common on Karori Road that business owners and building owners invest in regular outdoor cleaning, and bird and lizard infrastructure, to coexist happily.
- Buildings have low-water-use fixtures installed
- Digital water metering installed for leak detection and billing
- Upgraded pipe network with better capacity for wastewater
- Smart wastewater retention tanks smooth the peaks of wastewater passage
- Green roofs and rainwater capture systems behind buildings take the peaks off storm runoff
- Smart rainwater tanks self-empty ahead of storms and use captured rain for toilet flushing, washing machines etc
- Rain gardens and living dividers (swales) between the cycling / micromobility lane and bus lane filter runoff from the road, with large trees in green buffer strips absorb more water and filter it
- Large native trees, green roofs and deck gardens, and native plantings in the street provide canopy cover and habitat to encourage birds, insects and lizards to and from Ohari-Wilton Bush and Zealandia
- The rain gardens and green dividers retain surface flooding away from spaces people go
- There’s 10% more permeable surface in the neighbourhood thanks to pocket parks, green buffer, rain gardens and roof gardens
- There’s way less vehicle traffic on the street: it’s less noisy and safer, and it goes slower
- Daytime mode share of people on Karori Road using feet, bikes, mobility scooters, regular scooters, cargo bikes is 40%, with high-capacity buses and community shuttles 30%, carshare 20%, and private cars 10%
- The average household’s carbon footprint in this neighbourhood is half what it was in 2022
- Kids living here walk, bike, and scoot safely to school, to see their friends, to go to other neighbourhoods. The older ones go independently, the younger ones usually via or cargo bike or walking and scooting bus
- It’s pleasant and easy for all ages to get to and from here on foot, bike, scooter, wheelchair, any time of day or night
- ¾ of people living in this neighbourhood don’t bother to own their own car
- Households spend about a quarter less on transport than they did in 2022
- Day and night, year-round, it’s easy and pleasant for anyone from any walk of life to bike and scoot at different paces, walk and wheel freely, and spend time on the street
- The night time street is much livelier: more than half people passing through here after 6pm are walking, biking, scooting
- Dedicated bus priority lanes with fast-charging bus stops for high-capacity buses that fit through the Tunnel
- Dedicated, protected cycling and micro-mobility lanes
- Traffic calming: raised table for this section of the road (through the heart of the town) with distinct texture, and narrower general traffic lanes
- A new pedestrian crossing by the cinema
- Footpaths with lots of overlooking from homes and businesses, and free from scooters and bikes
- Pedestrian scale lighting (on verandahs etc)
- Public carshare is heavily used, with preferential parking on streets. Private carshare is integrated into residential buildings along with comprehensive private bike- and scooter-parking
- Light e-trucks and e-cargo bikes do most local deliveries, with larger-vehicle servicing done at night