In a recent article, MP for Auckland Central Chloe Swarbrick asks, "we need more homes, …but where".
It was a poignant article that presented good perspectives on increasing supply and improving affordability.
In it, she ponders whether an increase in housing density may be the solution that can accommodate and enable the close to 1.5 million Aucklanders to live with dignity in the city.
While theoretically, the solution seems practical and sounds viable, the numbers paint a different picture: greed and unaffordability.
An increase in density may benefit if the new builds are affordable.
However, real estate figures indicate that we get smaller square footage without access to green spaces selling close to the million-dollar mark in today's market. That is neither affordable nor equitable.
We are only creating a nation of borrowers indebted to a few rich banks and developers.
We need to ask whether an increase in density creates equity or only lines the pockets of a few with financial backing to become developers.
In the current market, the latter seems to be the case.
Therefore, it is pertinent to debate on how we find that magical middle ground that benefits both the developers and those in need of that own little space to call their own.
That is the question Parliament needs to address.
Affordability can improve only when there are significant salary increases that surpass house price growth, slower and lower inflation of house prices, and/or legislation that forces a reduction in property values.
The latter suggestion is almost impossible in a free market democratic society.
Therefore, we need to look astutely at how we strengthen our economy's productivity, increase supply of reasonably priced land, and reduction of building costs either through better supply-chain management or negotiating improved international trade relations for building supplies and skilled tradespeople.
But these are all long-term problems that require innovative forward-thinking solutions. It also needs the collective to be willing to accept an equitable society.
An equitable thriving place is where most residents can live a fulfilled life regardless of their social, economic, cultural or demographic status.
These places may be cities where most have a roof over their heads, sufficient food, a good lifestyle and an ability to live with dignity.
Yet today, Auckland thrives on a false spin that boasts of "success". However, most of us are wise enough to realise that a place where a vast proportion of its citizens cannot live an affordable life with dignity is not success. It's a farce propagated by Mr Greedy.
As long as we buy into this false sense of "success" we will struggle to achieve a fair society. We must at least try, which is why it is great to see that the Parliament is discussing the topic now.
But amid our discussions, I hope we ensure that we do not get caught in the myth that enabling density alone can automatically improve affordability.
Swarbrick rightly states that a city is not a museum. It needs to evolve. It needs to accommodate.
However, it is imperative to ascertain that our evolution is sustainable and ensures that the newer, denser, smaller spaces have high-quality ventilation, parking, privacy, access to healthy green spaces, and are safe for our children and the elderly.
Only then will we be able to achieve equity for our families.
Equity and affordability fosters security, which nurtures innovation and improves our nation's productivity.
Conversely, failure to create these guarantees can foster the creation of ghetto-like spaces filled with ugly, unsafe shoe-boxes prone to fire and disease risk, the beginnings of which are already evident in some inner-city Auckland apartments.
• Sneha Gray is a doctoral student studying how people and places shape each other.