RESI 22: Quickfire Q&A with Pamela Bell

Innovation Consultant and built environment expert Pamela Bell will chair a panel discussion at this year’s Residential Development Summit, with the theme “The future trends you need to know about”. 

We asked her three burning questions as we launch ourselves into 2022… 

What were two key trends of 2021 and how will that affect the residential development sector in 2022? 

One positive – fantastic visible leadership in multi-unit medium-density and mixed-use residential developments – props to the Kainga Ora folks for leading the way with the announcement of the Nga Kainga Anamata passive house pilot over five building typologies.

One negative – resource constraints (both people and products) – which means partnership and early engagement is critical going forward, plus excellent wrap-around support for retaining key people assets.


With much of New Zealand in a work-from-home environment for a large part of 2021, our working habits and our retail habits have changed. How do you see this either continuing or changing in the next 12 months, and how should that inform projects of the future? 

I’ve been a convert of work-from-home for flexibility and online shopping for convenience for some time, so I see it as a positive outcome for others to have these aspects as a global, lived experience. I think that we have to look for the silver linings in the overall global tragedy that is Covid-19. This will remain the same as we deal with Covid-19 in the next few years, or perhaps our entire lifetimes.  

The upside is that we have the opportunity to re-think, re-imagine and co-design our future environments by looking at aspects such as: 

  • How might my neighbourhood provide my work-from-home needs?
  • How might unused office buildings provide residential accommodation for those most in need?
  • How might we make it easier, safer and more efficient to receive and send parcels from our homes? 

 An example is this great project from Scotland called NearHome  


What one thing needs to happen in 2022 for New Zealand’s residential development sector to thrive? 

If ‘thrive’ means to ‘retain and grow the wonderful folks that work in this sector’, then I would say it is mutual acknowledgement of the good work/mahi we do, to create a sense of pride in quality work, a space and place to share ‘how’ we do the good work, and the ability to understand and reference the wider eco-system that we work in. So we all comprehend how our work impacts those around us and the built environment that we leave as a legacy to future generations. 


To learn more about Pamela go to her website.

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