CLOser Development Ltd
February 9, 2019
June 25, 2018
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Whanaungatanga is a value which expresses the bonds we have with our whanau (families) and our communities. When there is a strong sense of whanaungatanga, there is also a strong sense of identity. People feel that they belong by connecting to each other and their environment, it captures the belief that the more relationships people have in their lives, the more it positively impacts their health and wellbeing. Whanaungatanga develops as a result of sharing experiences and working closely together towards a greater good, rather than for individual benefit.

The development is designed to connect people within the community through offering a rich diversity of options for communal amenity, such as centralised laundry facilities, co-working and maker spaces, wellness studios, gardens, play spaces for children, shared mobility solutions for cars and bike and a space for local businesses and social enterprises to operate from. The people have a say in how they want to live and how the homes are designed. Therefore, the model not only addresses the cost of housing but includes the ongoing living costs as well as the lifestyle and social benefits of the people who reside there.



About Madras Square

The Madras Square neighbourhood development will become a new way of delivering sustainable urban communities. By approaching the entire site as a ‘system for affordable living’, the development will address land tenures, home typologies, local food, sustainable transport, and collaborative commerce to reduce purchase prices, improve resident wellbeing and reduce housing stress. The development models being incorporated into Madras Square not only borrow from nearly 50 years of learning from co-housing, cooperatives and other intentional developments around the world, but also embed the cultural stories, values and aspirations of local Maori. Where conventional development tries to maximise profit and keep costs as low as possible, the Ōtautahi Urban Guild aim to deliver homes at cost and improve the overall quality of housing and community.

“Speculative development doesn’t meet the needs of local people and as history demonstrates, the continued commodification of land tends to perpetuate environmental loss and social inequity. Conventional apartment development around the world isn’t working to create true communities. Social isolation has become a common factor of modern cities. Through an intentional development model, we address this by specifically designing for improved social cohesion among residents."
- Jason Twill, Ōtautahi Urban Guild

The key aim of this project is to co-create a community in a manner that reduces housing stress for the people who live there. If we’re spending less on housing, we’re spending more on enriching our lives. Unlike other residential development models, this model of housing requires the community to get onboard in the planning stages. By creating an intentional development, the Guild ensures that the architecture, commercial elements and site design deeply align with the culture and character of Christchurch. Part of their kaupapa is making sure that people fall in love with this place and have a deep sense of belonging with it.

There is a genuine need in Christchurch for intermediate housing (housing for people who don’t qualify for subsidised affordable or social housing but also cannot afford market rate). We can reduce costs through smart design, not adding profit margins and, by working directly with the community involved, we avoid the sales and marketing costs associated with conventional for-profit developments.”
 - Jason Twill, Ōtautahi Urban Guild



Project Details

264 Madras Street, Christchurch
Corner of Madras, Gloucester and Armagh Streets

Site Area

Co-living housing development with aproximately 150 homes ranging from studio to three bedroom with some commercial at the ground level. 


  • Early Stage Feasibility: Dec 2018 - April 2019
    Outline feasibility and high level market research

  • Listening & Ideation Phase: May - December 2019
    Ask the community to share their ideas for the site
    Assess potential options for the project



Community design workshop schedule coming soon!

The Ōtautahi Urban Guild has been engaging with the community through events, workshops, Facebook, Instagram and a newsletter. We are looking to engage with anyone who would like to live in this vibrant, affordable and sustainable inner-city neighbourhood.



Questions & Answers

Below is a list collection of all questions we are received and answers for provided for everyone to follow. Please feel free to send through questions if you have any to

1How can you provide quality housing below market rates?
Where conventional development tries to maximise profit and keep costs as low as possible, The Ōtautahi Urban Guild aim to minimise or eliminate profit and improve the quality of housing. We reduce costs by limiting profit margins in different ways: 1. We are working directly with the community involved so we avoid the sales and marketing costs and sales agents margins. 2. Through providing a rich diversity of shared amenity we offer residents options as to what is paid for collectively vs personally depending on their needs. 3. The Ōtautahi Urban Guild are collectively a team of city makers, not developers. Therefore we eliminate developers margins and work through a not for profit model.
2What does 'shared amenity' mean?
This housing model is designed to connect people within the community through offering a rich diversity of communal amenity, such as communal laundry, work and maker spaces, wellness spaces, gardens, child friendly play areas, mobility (car share / bike share) and a space for local businesses to operate from. Exactly what shared amenity will be available will become clear when the community and our team work through the design process together.
3Can I park my car on site? Will I have a garage?
Garaging and car parking can be an option for residents who wish to invest in them, however some people would rather make an overall savings on their purchase price by opting out or having access to a shared mobility amenity.
4Will there be other housing projects like this?
The success of this project will be a demonstration of how people can live an urban lifestyle that is affordable, equitable and sustainable in view to unlock similar urban developments to help reinvigorate urban living in the CBD.
5Has the soil and land been tested?
Yes, extensive Detailed Site Investigation and Geotech has been undertaken to provide soil and land test results which will guide our team of specialists during the site remediation processes.
6Will it be quiet between apartment walls?
The design team is working with the community to achieve the needs and wants of the residents who live here. The quality of building materials and comfortable housing will not be compromised to achieve savings in this model.
7What will there be in place for minimizing environmental impact; such as solar power, recycling facilities, waste water reduction etc?
Our team is made up with sustainability experts who will help the residents to fully understand their options throughout the design process.
8Are the ongoing living costs part of the planning?
The model not only addresses the cost of housing but includes the ongoing living costs as well as the lifestyle and social benefits of the people who reside there.

“We invite the people who want to live in these homes to join us on the design and development journey. As a collective, we’ll go beyond housing alone and look at the whole spectrum of how we want to live, work, connect, play and learn in our city; intentional developments begin with local people and the process serves as a platform to conceive a community that is curated for and by the people that will live there.”
- OUG Project Steward, Persephone Singfield

To stay up to date with the Madras St project please join our mailing list. The updates will include project development as well as ways you can be involved.

Please help us by completing this survey to provide our team with valuable information from the community about what you want to see in the development.



Ōtautahi Urban Guild

The Ōtautahi Urban Guild are collectively a team of city makers, not developers. Made up of four entities (see below),they introduce a new paradigm in urban housing for Christchurch premised on multifunctional live, work, play design for social connection and economic practicality.

The Ōtautahi Urban Guild are:

Urban Apostles is a real estate development and consulting services business specialising in regenerative development and deliberative housing models for cities. Its work focuses on the intersection of the sharing economy and the art of city making.

Ohu is a property development group putting people and communities at the heart of development. They do this by providing professional services for people with a common purpose to work together to collectively create and own assets that generate both social, economic and financial returns.

Matapopore provides cultural advice by forming project teams that combine professional expertise with traditional knowledge in the areas of ecology, architecture, landscape architecture, fine arts, whakapapa, natural and cultural heritage, mahinga kai, tikanga and Te Reo Māori.

The Viva! Project is its community – a group of over 400 people passionate about the idea of building sustainable urban villages for Christchurch. This network of building and design professionals, academics, sustainability experts, government body officials, investors, as well as enthusiastic and creative people from all walks of life are the powerhouse behind our design workshops, networking meetings and other events.


James Stewart


James Stewart

027 589 1678

An experienced commercial and investment professional with a passion for seeing change across our society.

Through Gemelli Consulting, James provides project finance and commercial strategy advice to organisations that have positive impact on our world. Gemelli has a particular focus on supporting social enterprises and not-for-profit agencies to unlock the opportunities in front of them.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Madras Square please get in touch.

Ohu is working with the Ōtautahi Urban Guild to create a co-housing development with a focus on sustainability and communal spaces in the heart of Õtautahi Christchurch.