Why are Older Inner-city Buildings Vacant? Implications for Town Centre Regeneration

Itohan Esther Yakubu, Temitope Egbelakin, Dmytro Dizhur, Jason Ingham, Kenneth Sungho Park, Robyn Phipps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The historic precincts of suburban cities in New Zealand are characterised
by partially occupied, vacant or abandoned buildings, which are located in key locations of the central business districts (CBDs). Increasing unoccupied spaces and low demand for older buildings are detrimental to the socio-economic growth of many provincial towns in New Zealand. The study discussed in this paper sought to: 1) investigate the proportion of totally/partially existing vacant older buildings within the town centre of suburb-#; 2) identify the underlying factors that contributed to emergence of the vacant buildings and the consequences of the prevalent vacancy rate on suburban town centres; and 3) recommend possible ways to increase the demand for these buildings. Using a mixed-methods approach for data collection, the research findings showed a vacancy rate of approximately 86 per cent (n = 47) of older heritage buildings located in the main high street of suburb-#. Additionally, several factors were identified to be responsible for the high vacancy rate of the older buildings: 1) building conditions; 2) social factors; 3) economic factors; and 4) building regulations. The research findings provided significant suggestions on how property redevelopment coupled with town centre regeneration can be used as a responsive strategy that can attend to the changing needs of owners, occupiers and visitors, as well as ensure compliance to commercial and regulatory demands of seismic strengthening of older heritage buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • economic
  • old buildings
  • social
  • town centre
  • urban shrinkage
  • vacancy


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