Our Research

Urban & regional

Urban and regional economics discusses location and how and why it makes a difference. In this section we discuss housing, the economic performance and regulation of cities, infrastructure, and regional economic differences.


People and organisations take a wide range of elements into account when choosing where to locate themselves. Being in a city costs more but:

  • People are willing to move there because they get paid more and/or enjoy ‘amenities’ that cities have to offer.
  • Firms move there despite the higher land and labour costs, because they are more productive in cities.
  • Policy-makers affect location choices through their investments in infrastructure and amenities.

Motu’s current and recent research focus includes:

  • How regions within NZ adjust to industrial and demographic change.
  • The interactions between housing, transport, policy, regulation, and house prices.
  • The impacts of infrastructure and amenities on urban firms and residents.


Working Paper

Working Paper

Working Paper

Working Paper

Related Websites

Arthur Grimes is working with the University of Otago-based Centre for Sustainable Cities on a programme examining Resilient Urban Futures.

Motu is linked with the University of Auckland-based Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) Te Pūnaha Matatini. As part of the work under this CoRE, we will be looking at how cities function as complex systems.