Hutt City Council – Residential Intensification Survey 

Image of what Residential Intensification could look like

Jared and the team at PublicVoice did an excellent job of putting together a user-friendly online survey on complex residential intensification issues. The survey delivery and response analysis was clear, focused and robust. I’m pleased to recommend PublicVoice and will be using their services again on our next project.

Andrew CummingDivisional Manager Environmental Policy, Hutt City Council


A growing Hutt City meant that the Hutt City Council (HCC) were considering making changes to the District Plan to enable residential intensification in targeted areas around transport hubs, shopping centres and other larger suitable areas.

The proposed changes would provide for:

  • more houses to cater for population growth and
  • increased variety of housing styles and sizes to cater for changing needs and aspirations in different sectors of the community.

These changes would allow for the development of 6,000 new homes in Lower Hutt by 2032 and allow the city to grow by 8000 more people. The changes would also enable the creation of mixed-use zones where commercial and residential activities could be combined in buildings up to three storeys high.

If the proposed changes were approved, the result would be a dramatic shift in the environment of several areas in Lower Hutt which has a reputation of being a ¼ acre paradise.  To help guide the development process it was essential that HCC bring the community along with them and include their input into any District Plan changes. This would require communicating and educating the community on the proposed changes and collecting and analysing community feedback.


It was decided that an online survey would be the best way to capture feedback from the local community. PublicVoice worked with HCC to develop a questionnaire that would provide the insights that Council required to be able to move forward. Due to the technical nature of the topic, a large number of images were used to ensure that survey respondents would be able to understand the complex issues at hand. An interactive survey experience was designed, so respondents were able to explore and interact with the images. All design was responsive, so the user experience was seamless on a desktop or mobile device.

The Council wanted to hear from as many people in the community as possible, but they also wanted to make sure that the research project wasn’t dominated by any particular special interest groups. The sampling objective was achieved by using a multi-channel distribution methodology.

This included:

–    Invitations sent to the Councils Citizens’ Panel members – ‘Hutt City Views’. The recruitment methodology used with Hutt City Views provides the Council with an unbiased sample group.

–    The survey was promoted via the Councils own media channels i.e. Facebook, Council Website, Neighbourly

–    The survey was promoted via third party media i.e. ‘The Hutt News’


The Residential Intensification survey attracted a significant amount of public interest which led to a large volume of survey responses. Survey responses were received from:

–    Citizens’ Panel Members (AKA Hutt City Views) 528

–    General Public    1012

–    Total Number of Responses 1540

The survey had a mixture of open and closed ended questions. All responses to the open-ended questions were analysed and coded. The text analysis meant that Council had a clear understanding of why community members supported or opposed the various proposals.

The survey analysis was broken down by the Hutt City Views (the HCC Citizens’ Panel) members and the responses from the general public. By using the Hutt City Views panel, the Council could compare and contrast the attitudes of the recruited panel members to those of non-panel members. This segmentation was critical in Council committee members establishing confidence in the survey results. At the same time having the survey available to all members of the community meant that all concerned could have their opinion heard on the issue and be satisfied that Council had taken their opinions into consideration.

The survey results were used to help guide the Council discussion on how to proceed and refine the proposed changes to satisfy the community’s needs.