Could another option to ‘managing heritage’ in Thorndon (or anywhere for that matter) lay within the realm of behavioural economics? And a conscious shift from badgering or bullying regulation by the bureaucracy, toward empowering (and trusting) the community to influence and ‘supervise’ the suburb’s residential heritage. Can the information technology contribute? i.e. help lessen bureaucracy, help reduce costly options and domineering instruments such as district plan zones and related RM Act provisions.

There’s still an elephant in the room concerning Thorndon’s ‘need’. The question is, what’s broken? Where’s the evidence? What’s wrong with the existing incentives on residents for valuing and maintaining residential heritage? Some politicians are getting increasingly interested in how information technology might help, especially if it creates more transparency, and what might happen if there is more genuine sharing of information with the people and more empowerment of communities. Ref David Cameron: The next age of government | Video on