Water quality, rapid urbanisation and the impact of natural hazards and climate change will be among the topics addressed at the New Zealand Planning Institute's (NZPI) conference next month.

The organisation's chair, Bryce Julyan, says: "While issues like water, climate change and rapid urbanisation are more pronounced than they were a decade ago, these are global concerns and New Zealand planners must engage with others to examine our priorities in terms of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals."

Delegates at the conference will debate the effects of a growing population on our urban centres.

"We will discuss ways to better plan for the supply of housing, transport and other infrastructure. We must consider different models and forms, and innovation in our plans to futureproof our cities and ensure access to quality services and equity across social networks and community facilities.

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"Planning for the long-term sustainable future of our cities and resources requires immediate attention."

Speakers at the Tauranga conference, which starts on March 21, include international planning expert David Dixon, global head of Agribusiness Ian Proudfoot, Victoria Planning Authority CEO Stuart Moseley, renowned researcher Richie Poulton and US neighbourhood crowdfunding platform founder Erin Barnes.

Median house price down
It is steady as she goes for Auckland residential housing market, says Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson.

"This stable trading trend first emerged in April last year and has rolled over to the start of the New Year," he says.

In January, the median sale price at the firm was $830,000, that's 1.6 per cent lower than the average for the previous three months.

"Variations of 1.6 per cent or less across a four-month period represent very little change," says Thompson.

"However, given January's short and holiday-interrupted trading period, caution needs to be attached to drawing strong conclusions from the month's sales."