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Urban Design Panel has citywide eye on design

Urban Design Panel has citywide eye on design

The continuation and extension of Auckland City’s urban design panel has been endorsed by the Environment, Heritage and Urban Form Committee.

Significant changes have been made since the introduction of the panel two years ago to ensure the robust, comprehensive assessment of large-scale developments across the city, the isthmus and Hauraki Gulf islands.

Councillor Christine Caughey, chairperson of the committee, emphasised the importance of the urban design panel and the role it has in ensuring good urban design.

“Auckland city’s growth is a major consideration of this council,” says Ms Caughey. “The Urban Design Panel was conceived as a tool for urban design advice delivered to the design and development community by appointed peers. Over the past two years the panel has reviewed more than 250 applications.

“While this is a large number only a handful of buildings in the central area which have been through the panel have been completed. Its full benefit has yet to be seen,” she says.

“Changing the character of a city can take many years. We are committed to ensuring Auckland is a beautiful city with sound urban design. By endorsing the continuation of the panel and adding new membership we hope, over time, to affect the quality of buildings throughout Auckland.”

In general terms the urban design panel focuses on how a building or development relates to the surrounding public space and is especially concerned with how the proposal fits into and improves the existing environment.

The panel provides pre and post-application advice on development from professionals in the areas of urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, development and property.

“Developers are invited to discuss proposals with the panel as early as possible in the concept stage and may return for further advice as the design progresses. This saves time and money and producers better urban design outcomes for our city,” says Ms Caughey.

Changes to the urban design panel included: a six member specialist panel, the Environmental Design Panel, established for reviewing developments on the Hauraki Gulf islands

five new members appointed to the panel; Kevin Brewer (Brewer Davidson Architects), Greg Boyden (Jasmax), Neil Martin (Archimedia), David Mitchell (Mitchell Stout Architects) and Jeremy Salmon (Salmon Reed)

New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects asked to nominate panel members

an expanded brief for the panel to review all development in the CBD involving new buildings and substantial alterations

expanding council use of the panel for peer review and advice on strategies and statutory policy, and include workshops on particular policy.

“With these changes and the ongoing assessment and re-evaluation of the urban design panel I am confident that we will be contributing to making Auckland a very liveable city for future generations,“ says Ms Caughey.


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