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Neighborhood benefits of built heritage

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The Auckland Unitary Plan includes several policies to control the demolition of buildings with potential heritage value, principally those constructed prior to 1944. These policies were recently reviewed in the course of independent hearings on the plan.

A key question for analysis of heritage preservation policies is whether (and how) heritage buildings generate public benefits, eg for neighbors or visitors to the neighborhood. Larger public benefits potentially merit greater public intervention in decisions about demolition, and vice versa.

MRCagney worked with Auckland Council to undertake primary research on this question, using hedonic analysis of residential property sales. The key finding from this analysis was that presence of pre-1940 buildings was associated with higher sale prices for neighboring properties – a positive aesthetic spillover from built heritage.

These findings were published in an Auckland Council technical paper and used in hearings on the Unitary Plan.

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