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A debate over Auckland's 2016 upzoning
Analysis by Greenaway-McGrevy and Phillips critiqued by Murray and Helm
The Impact of Upzoning on Housing Construction in Auckland. Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy and Peter Phillips, May 2023. Updated version of a 2022 paper.
The Impact of Upzoning on Housing Construction in Auckland: Update and Extended Results. Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy, May 2023.
The Auckland myth: There is no evidence that upzoning increased housing construction. Cameron Murray and Tim Helm, June 2023.
A response to Murray and Helm on Auckland’s upzoning. Matthew Maltman, June 2023.
I always enjoy a good academic debate. As a layperson, if the argument is technical, I need to rely on experts in the field who can review the competing arguments and judge which one is stronger. (In turn, of course, I need to check the reliability of those experts by looking at other people’s assessments of them, and so on.)
Because so much Canadian policymaking proceeds by looking at what’s been done elsewhere, the data from Auckland’s 2016 upzoning is quite important. A lot of the analysis has been done by Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy, working with other researchers.
Josh Gordon points out that there’s a critique of Greenaway-McGrevy and Phillips (2023) by Cameron Murray and Tim Helm.
Matthew Maltman goes through the original paper by Greenaway-McGrevy and Phillips, an extension by Greenaway-McGrevy, and the critique by Murray and Helm. (He notes that he’s had good interactions with all of them.) His conclusions:
No, Auckland’s upzoning is not a myth, and hasn’t been refuted.
Overall, although I disagree with the critique, I think it was a good faith engagement with the evidence, for the most part.
An overview of Maltman’s assessment, as a Twitter thread.
Thread with Cameron Murray and Stuart Donovan.
Greenaway-McGrevy (working with other researchers) has produced a lot of the research on the Auckland upzoning, but there's at least one study which appears to have analyzed the Auckland data independently, by Colin Lynch (PWC) and Kirdan Lees (Sense Partners): Cost-Benefit Analysis of proposed Medium Density Residential Standards. See Section 2.2.
When New Zealand brought in national reforms more recently, there was cross-party support from the two largest parties, Labour (centre-left) and National (centre-right) - but now it looks like National is backpedalling.
Previously: Auckland’s 2016 upzoning.