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Panel aims at improving urban design

October 2008

Panel aims at improving urban design

An Urban Design Panel set up by the Christchurch City Council is aiming to improve the quality and connectivity of city developments by offering free independent design reviews.

The panel comprises 12 experts in architecture, landscape design, urban design, planning and property development. It is available to both the Council and developers to provide independent advice on urban design aspects of new developments.

Hugh Nicholson, the Council’s Principal Advisor Urban Design, says the panel is a product of the Council’s commitment to the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS). The UDS was introduced last year in partnership with Environment Canterbury, the Waimakariri District Council, the Selwyn District Council and Transit New Zealand (now the New Zealand Land Transport Agency) to manage the growth of greater Christchurch.

Developers are encouraged to submit their plans to the panel for a pre-application review to provide greater certainty at the resource consent application stage. Major urban projects the Council is undertaking will also be submitted to the panel for review.

The panel does not have decision making powers. Its role is to provide expert advice to the Council and developers, a quicker, easier consent process through early identification of design issues, and to add value to developments through high quality design

The recommendations of the panel will be sent to the applicant and will be given to the Council as well. In terms of a resource consent application the recommendations will carry the same weight as any other technical report.
Each review will include four panellists drawn from the larger pool of approved members to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest and to allow for specialist skills to be utilised when required.

Panel members were nominated by the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) , the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA), the Property Council of New Zealand (PCNZ) and the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI).

The panel comprises: Robert Batty (Christchurch planning and resource management consultant), Alec Bruce (Christchurch architect), Diane Brand (Wellington architect, urban designer and lecturer), Tim Church (Christchurch urban designer and landscape architect), Grant Edge (Christchurch landscape architect), William Field (Christchurch landscape architect), Bill Gregory (Christchurch architect), John Hardwick-Smith (Wellington architect), Nicole Lauenstein (Christchurch architect and urban designer), Jasper van der Lingen (Christchurch architect), Graeme McDonald (Christchurch valuer) and David Sheppard (Christchurch architect).

Projects that have already been reviewed include the new civic offices, the proposed development on the former Feltex site, and a planned tower building on top of the carpark in Victoria Square.

More information on the Urban Design Panel can be found at www.ccc.govt.nz/Environment/UrbanDesign/UrbanDesignPanel/

ENDS

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