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Capital - right place for urban design conference

11 August 2005

Capital the right place for urban design conference

Much effort and investment has been devoted to urban design in Wellington in the past decade – so it seems fitting that the Capital City should host an important international conference on urban design next week.

That’s according to Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, who says she is “very proud” of the way the city’s public spaces have been spectacularly improved in recent years.

“Thanks to the creativity of the Council’s urban design staff and the best local architects and designers, the city has changed from strictly functional to exceedingly memorable.”

Mayor Prendergast will officially open the three-day Urbanism Down Under conference on 18 August. The conference, which has attracted some 350 delegates and almost 70 speakers from the US, UK, Canada and Australia, will provide a unique forum to debate critical urban design issues as they affect towns and cities in New Zealand and overseas.

“It is fantastic that Wellington has the honour of hosting this conference. The city is looking good – and is set to progress steadily in coming years. We will be especially pleased to show off the waterfront development, Waitangi Park, Oriental Bay and our plans for the City Gateway, the Government Centre and other major projects we already have on the books.”

Mayor Prendergast describes Wellington as one of the world’s top small cities. “I believe urban design has done a huge amount to make the city a compelling place in which to live and visit. But by no means are we resting on our laurels or, indeed, our creative street furniture. Urban design is something that never stops in a dynamic city.”

During the conference there will be case studies on new towns, inner-city heritage revitalisation and public space upgrades. Other more strategic topics will include city greening, walkability of cities, local identity and sense of place, housing for indigenous communities, transit projects, city and regional strategies, and the integration of green building options.

Mayor Prendergast says the conference promises to be an exciting and important highlight of New Zealand’s Year of the Built Environment 2005.

Hosts for the conference include Wellington City Council, Ministry for the Environment, Victoria University, and the Property Council of New Zealand.

ENDS

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