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Award Winning Urban Designers To Plan Papamoa

September 9, 2004

Award Winning Urban Designers To Plan Papamoa Development

A team of award-winning and internationally acclaimed urban designers from America will be in New Zealand this month to design a new community at Papamoa East, in the Bay of Plenty.

DPZ-Pacific will work with Australian urban design company RobertsDay to plan Part 1 (also known as Wairakei) of the new Papamoa East development on the coastal strip 20km south of Mount Maunganui.

The new development is the first under the Tauranga City Council's SmartGrowth initiative. Papamoa East Part 1 is expected to be home to more than 9000 residents and covers approximately 420 hectares.

Demetri Baches, founder of DPZ-Pacific, along with his partners Mallory Baches and Ludwig Fontalvo-Abello, will lead the charrette process - a planning tool used by urban designers to establish clear discussions of the design issues and workable solutions. The team has travelled the world designing and planning towns for Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ).

This year, Baches, previously one of four directors with DPZ, formed DPZ-Pacific, Duany Plater-Zyberk's first affiliate office, to take on projects throughout Asia-Pacific. Duany Plater-Zyberk are well known in North America for re-introducing smart growth planning principles to the development and design professions as an alternative to suburban sprawl and vehicle-based settlements.

Close to the beach and relatively flat, Papamoa East Part 1 (Wairakei), which also includes the proposed new town centre Modena Beach, will be developed to encourage a balanced and vibrant community with strong connections to the local environment to foster cycling, walking and connectivity.

"We will bring our knowledge and expertise to work together with area professionals and residents to design a new community that is sustainable in terms of local needs and the environment," Baches says.

"DPZ began using the charrette process more than 20 years ago as a means of designing mixed use, pedestrian friendly, neighbourhoods, not the typical single use subdivisions so common in North America and now increasingly around the world. Immersing yourself in the local area is the best way to design a functional community. The designers will come to Papamoa knowing very few specifics, so that no pre-conceived ideas can get in the way of the best design solutions."

Papamoa East Part 1 land developers Bluehaven Holdings and Hawridge Developments, who have a combined 300 hectare stakeholding, have employed DPZ Pacific because they are concerned with the dominant traditional pattern of past urban development and seek commitment to improving the built environment of a future community.

Project spokesman Darrell Carlin says Bluehaven and Hawridge believe it's important to develop a community, not just another sprawling subdivision with 'cookie cutter' houses.

"This is the first project to be created under the SmartGrowth initiative guidelines that local and regional councils have been working on it for some time," Carlin says.

"The developers searched the world for people who had implemented SmartGrowth-type developments. They found DPZ-Pacific and RobertsDay, both internationally recognised for their innovation and focus on community values."

Since its formation in 1980, DPZ has completed designs for more than 250 new neighbourhood and community revitalization plans. Their work has exerted a major influence on the practice and direction of urban planning in the United States and has received numerous awards.

Scheduled to start on September 26, the ten-day charrette will involve an experienced team of DPZ-Pacific and RobertsDay designers speaking with all major stakeholders in Papamoa East, including the developers, designers, council, tangata whenua and community representatives. An open day for public exhibition is to be held on October 2 from 2-5pm at the Papamoa Surf Club to display preliminary design proposals.


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