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Urban Design – not being left to chance

Urban Design – not being left to chance

Auckland City Council has developed a city-wide Urban Design Strategy. This will give more structure to work that it is already being done in a number of ways to ensure Auckland becomes a quality urban city that meets the needs of a changing community.

The strategy was endorsed yesterday (11 February 2004) by the City Development Committee and will be released for consultation with professional groups and the wider community.

A number of strategic actions have been proposed that will imbed principles for good urban design into council policies and practices and, as reviews of the District Plan get underway, urban design controls can be added into critical sections.

One of the key elements of the strategy is the expansion of the role of the Urban Design Panel, allowing it to play a bigger role in influencing how the city looks and functions as it grows. The panel has been established to provide expert advice prior to and during the resource consent process. The panel will also advise on all major council development projects to ensure good urban design practices are adhered to.

Open for public discussion and consultation are several urban design initiatives. Character overlays and centre plans with design controls are proposed to support and reinforce the special character of some of the city's older town centres.

Plan changes that emerge from the council’s liveable community plans will include strict design controls and mechanisms to support local character while encouraging future development.

This new approach to planning will be supported by increased staff training in urban design. Day-long sessions on urban design basics for all council planners, front-desk and monitoring staff are being followed by more detailed workshops as new initiatives are introduced.

Councillor Juliet Yates, chairperson of the council’s City Development Committee says, “This work is an integral part of the council’s strategic goal of a high quality built environment. Communities deserve the best environment for urban living and the council is responding on all fronts with new initiatives aimed at exactly that.”

Mrs Yates continues, “Good urban design is a key tool to making cities that work, and places that support the creativity, adaptability and energy demanded by successful economies and communities.”

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