The Single House Zone: PAUP 2013

The Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) has released its recommendations on the Auckland Unitary Plan. One of the ways the IHP is proposing to increase density is to reduce the Single House Zone (SHZ) by 22%. The SHZ is areas with relatively large sections that you are only allowed one house on.  So these areas are effectively frozen in time, no growth will can happen and they will remain villages of sorts.

To get a feel for how the SHZ effects Auckland, and therefore what reducing it might do, I’ve pulled together a map of the SHZ, as proposed by Auckland Council back in September 2013 (what is known as the “Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan” or PUAP).  I.e. the IHP is proposing to reduce what is shown in this map substantially. But the data that would allow me to draw that map hasn’t been released yet.  (You can view the maps with all the zones online here.)



Looking at this, it’s striking that the CBD is encircled by the SHZ.  So the land it is closest to where people work, and therefore would benefit the most from increased density, is precisely the land that can’t be unlocked for increased density.


Auckland Home ownership and income maps

While the map that everyone will be interested in today is the new Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP)….I have been playing around with drawing maps in R.  The maps below use the 2013 census meshblock data set.

Given all the discussion around NIMBYism that has surrounded the AUP process, I thought it would be interesting to look at where people actually own the homes they live in.  The first map below shows the proportion of households within a meshblock that either own/partially own the house or it is held in a family trust.  Including the latter category in my measure of home-ownership may cause some anomalies, such as with the leasehold land around Cornwall park.

It will be interesting to compare this the AUP when comes out and see whether the are any patterns in zoning in areas where there is a high % of owner-occupied dwellings vs those where people rent (i.e. investors own the homes).

The other map I pulled together uses household income data. For this map I looked at the proportion of households with an income over > $100,000. I.e. I was interested in “which areas had the highest concentration of wealthy households”.household.100k

Again, pretty much shows what you would expect, higher concentrations of wealthy households in the inner suburbs and waterfront eastern suburbs.   South and West Auckland on the other hand have lower concentrations of wealthy households.

Communication and monetary policy

I was sitting around eating a date scone the other day when I ran into this article by Shamubeel Eaqub.  The topic was central bank communication and whether the RBNZ (New Zealand’s central bank) was doing things well.  Within a number of hours I’d been sent the link numerous times and had received a pile of feedback – with people on all sides fairly angry.  This is an important issue though, so I thought I would note down my own thoughts while they are in my head.

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State schooled pupils and Oxbridge entry

In The Telegraph, Julia Hartley-Brewer claims that the low percentage of state-schooled pupils accepted by Oxford and Cambridge represents a failure of state schools. Her argument is that Oxford and Cambridge have high entry standards and independently-schooled pupils are far more likely to meet them, hence the strong representation of those pupils at the top institutions.

She’s partly right. She’s right that independently schooled pupils perform better at A-levels, on average. It’s also true that Oxford and Cambridge have very high entry standards, which favours independently-schooled pupils. However, that does not fully explain the low rate of admission for state-schooled pupils.

It’s fairly easy to check because the percentage of state-schooled pupils admitted is one of the Performance Indicators published by HESA each year for all universities. The indicators helpfully include a benchmark that accounts for, among other things, the entry qualifications of students. That means we can compare the actual state-schooled intake for each university against a benchmark that takes Ms Hartley-Brewer’s concerns into account, along with other considerations, such as age, ethnicity and sex.

The chart below shows that we would not expect Oxford and Cambridge to take a high proportion of state-schooled pupils, largely because of their high entry requirements. However, even against that adjusted benchmark, they underperform.

Young participation in UK higher education

HEFCE publish some great maps of participation in higher education and, even better, release the data. I’ve reproduced the map of young participation rates below with a slightly finer grained, sequential colour map, which I think helps to pick out the regions of low participation. Areas where fewer young people progress to higher education are highlighted in red.