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New Zealand’s First Urban Design Protocol

Rodney District Council DRAFT Media Release 6 August 2004

New Zealand’s First Urban Design Protocol

New Zealand’s first draft urban design protocol was discussed at a meeting of Rodney District’s Strategy and Policy Committee on 5 August.

Ree Anderson Director of Strategy and Policy said she was very pleased that the Ministry had accepted Rodney’s invitation to present the Draft Protocol.

“Rodney is determined to take bold steps in urban design and so deliver on our communities’ vision for their environment.”

Lindsay Gow, Deputy Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment, introduced his presentation by explaining why Rodney was among the first to see the Draft New Zealand Urban Design Protocol.

“Your District is one of those has taken what international best practice examples tell us is the critical first step – you have helped the community establish a vision for how its future should look.”

Mr Gow was referring to Vision Rodney, which is a Council-facilitated expression of “the future that Rodney people choose, want to achieve and together will work towards.”

“My Ministry believes Rodney is in a position to lead in terms of urban design, because you have in Vision Rodney a clearly expressed set of community intentions. In those intents we can see it’s clear that people living here encourage and support good urban design,” Mr Gow said.

The Mayor of Rodney John Law added his support to the Draft Protocol, saying that urban design was the single most important factor shaping how Rodney would appear in the future.

“While we’re still 95 per cent green, we’re still very sure about what we do and don’t like in the urban landscape we’ve seen to date. We don’t want more of the blight you can see in places that are growing as fast as we are.”

Councillors echoed these sentiments, with Councillor Christine Rose noting that what is proposed for Huapai is an example what is wanted.

“The plans for the revitalisation of Huapai’s town centre embody the six essential design qualities that the Protocol sets out.”

“The very exciting thing from my perspective is that not only does this add to the quality of life for the people of that small community but it also invigorates local businesses. It’s a grassroots initiative that reflects the Vision that people from across the District have described,” Ms Rose said. The Draft New Zealand Urban Design Protocol has been prepared by the Ministry for the Environment in conjunction with an Urban Design Advisory Group as part of the Government’s Sustainable Development Programme of Action and Urban Affairs Portfolio. Its purpose is to accelerate quality urban design to create places that work and people use and value.

The Protocol will be a voluntary commitment to specific urban design initiatives by central and local government, the property sector, design professionals and other groups. A key objective in signing up to the Protocol will be better coordination and sharing of information amongst these groups to create more successful towns and cities in New Zealand.

The Protocol will make our towns and cities more successful by using quality urban design to help them become:

Competitive places that thrive economically and facilitate creativity and innovation Liveable places that provide a choice of housing, work and lifestyle options Environmentally responsible places that manage all aspects of the environment sustainably Inclusive places that offer opportunities for all citizens Distinctive places that have a strong identity and sense of place Well-governed places that have a shared vision and sense of direction.

The Protocol identifies six essential design qualities:

Context: Seeing that buildings, places and spaces are part of the whole town or city Character: Reflecting and enhancing the distinctive character of our natural environment, heritage and culture Choice: Offering diversity of urban form, densities, building types, public spaces and transport modes and providing more opportunities for all people Connections: Enhancing the way our infrastructure and urban form work together

Custodianship: Ensuring design is responsive to the impacts on our environment, safety and health Collaboration: Working across sectors, professions and with communities to improve urban design outcomes.

Supporting resources will also be developed to help implement the Protocol:

Urban Design Case Studies will provide practical examples of quality urban design Urban Design Toolkit will provide a compendium of tools and mechanisms Summary of Urban Design Research will include current research on urban design issues Value Case will present a rationale and evidence for the link between quality urban design and economic, environmental, social and cultural value.

The Ministry is seeking feedback on the draft Protocol by 30 September 2004.


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