Entry received from: Hamilton City Council
Category: The Datacom Award for Digital Local Government

To be able to plan and cater for growth, councils around Aotearoa need to be able to forecast demand for housing. Historically, Hamilton City Council'™s housing forecasts were provided by external parties and relied heavily on the Census. Subsequently these forecasts often lacked local insight and tended to smooth out projections over the long-term. The process could be slow and not particularly agile when unexpected events, for example, a pandemic, changed the economic outlook. Using advanced technologies and machine learning techniques  combined with local data and knowledge, Hamilton City Council developed a comprehensive forecasting model that could predict demand for housing in the short and medium term. The team created a model that combined two forecasting methods to firstly predict the number of homes consented, and then predict the number of new homes completed. The resulting projections are valuable for our local urban growth and infrastructure strategies and support quality decision making for our community. The model is the first of its kind in New Zealand with documentation and support available for other councils to use this technology for their own projections.

Thank you to our category sponsor