SOLVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROBLEM WITH MATHEMATICAL MODELLING
AUT academics have partnered with Manurewa High School to bring mathematical modelling to life, giving students a chance
to use mathematical modelling to solve a long-standing community problem – the lack of affordable housing.
The project, funded by SouthSci, was designed to make mathematical modelling tangible and relevant, and to help high
school teachers build their teaching skills.
Over the course of 10 weeks, Senior Lecturers Kerri Spooner and Junior Nomani have been leading a teaching unit on
mathematical modelling on Manurewa High School’s Wānanga Wednesdays, with the support of Manurewa High School teachers
Aarthi Pilli and Lawarence Naicker. Students have been developing mathematical models to investigate issues affecting
affordable housing and what that means for their future.
Kerri Spooner says bringing mathematical modelling to life is essential to getting students excited about maths.
“Getting students to see the world through the eyes of mathematical modelling means we can break down the barriers and
make it accessible. We’re taking some of the abstractness out of mathematics and making it concrete and relevant.
“The students in our class have chosen to be there – they know mathematical modelling can be a huge part in solving the
problems around them, and we’re helping set them up for success.”
Spatial analysts Chad Hu and Krystal Alferez from Auckland Council talked to the students about considerations for
growth models, as well as providing insight into the type of work analysts do.
Eight students, Jasmine Rahman, Braxton Phillips, Analina Namoa, Tegan Pegler, Elvis Long, Amisha Maharha, Britney
Chapman and Atelina Chand will present their key findings to Auckland Council on 1 July. They say learning about
mathematical modelling and applying it to real life problems in their own community has been eye-opening. “We know there
aren’t enough houses now – and the work we’ve done has helped crystalise the issues for us. We need more affordable
houses for bigger families like those in our communities.”