Unleashing Great Design in New Zealand

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Book review of “Living in Paradox: a history of urban design across kainga, towns and cities in New Zealand” can be read here

New Zealand is not noted for its great urban design. New Zealand urban areas lack the inspiration, the variety and the productivity in comparison to its world class rural and scenic areas.

It is my hope that this could change. I believe my proposed hyperlocal schemes, in particular Master Planned Blocks -where existing communities of landowners work with master planning agencies could be part of a cultural change in New Zealand that increases the value of our urban environments.

Phil Twyford the Minister for Transport, Housing and Urban Development also believes great design can help New Zealand build density better.

In particular, Phil Twyford’s desire to democratise design in the housing and transport space has a lot potential. For instance, my case study analysis of Auckland showed the poorer, more distant suburbs in the west and south of Auckland, that previously were completely dependent on the automobile will with the introduction of rapid transit have new transport and housing options.

It is these poorer suburbs and communities of Auckland, where the need for decent affordable housing is high, that have the most to gain from reforms that aims to improve the value of these urban areas.

In truth though, as Phil Twyford states in the above short video and in his speech to New Zealand’s 2018 Urbanism Conference, new urbanisation concepts need to be widely applied throughout New Zealand, because;

Our (towns and) cities are to a large extent the product of a particular economic, social and spatial model from the 1950’s: The nuclear family living in a single-storey standalone home with a garden, connected to other suburbs by motorways, with a heavy reliance on the private car.

Paraphrasing Phil Twyford, New Zealand needs to shake off its agrarian mythology to embrace urbanisation which is its true nature. A truth New Zealand shares with a rapidly urbanising world. 85% of New Zealanders live in an urban environment, not just in Auckland, but in places like Porirua and Invercargill. All these urban areas deserve well designed functional built environments that provide opportunities for all.

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Trying to optimise amenity and affordability values for urban areas

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