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Mayor promises action on Urban Design

Mayor promises action on Urban Design

A gathering of some of the country’s top architects, planners and developers takes place today to begin the battle of banishing unsightly developments and beautifying Auckland city’s urban landscape.

The 14-member Mayor’s Taskforce on Urban Design is a bold new initiative from Mayor Dick Hubbard, who promised Aucklanders he would address urban design and heritage issues when he came into office.

The taskforce includes some of the country’s leading architects, planners and developers including award-winning architect Gordon Moller, Patrick Fontein, a member of the Government’s Urban Design Protocol team and developers Richard Didsbury and Nigel McKenna.

The idea is modelled on the successful Edinburgh Urban Design Working Group, a group of experts that came up with practical initiatives to save the city from sub-standard developments.

“I am asking for change – a change in our urban design standards,” Mr Hubbard says, “I want to lift the aspirations and standards of everyone responsible for urban development and design in our city.”

The taskforce’s purpose is to come up with a set of recommendations to improve the quality of the urban environment. That may include making changes to the current regulatory policies, removing longer-term regulatory barriers to good urban design, and getting a commitment from the industry for quality architecture.

“We want buildings that not only look good but also embrace the environmental and social aspects of living in a city,” he says, “We could call it triple bottom line urbanism.”

He says he believes strongly in an holistic approach. That includes integrating urban form with transport, creating well connected public spaces and looking at better links between the natural environment and the built environment.

The mayor says he will strongly support the recommendations of the taskforce and champion the actions so that significant progress is made over the next three years.

The taskforce meets at 5pm this evening for the first time. It is the first of six meetings to take place in the next four weeks. The outcomes will be reported back to the mayor in time for inclusion in the annual budget process.


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