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Urban design as a way to balance all interests

by 9 Sep 2011Development design guide0 comments

Rodney District Development Design Guide

Page 33,Draft 2

Uncaptioned: One of several uncaptioned images but possibly selected to illustrate an open space that attracts use. Rodney District Development Design Guide (second draft), Rodney District Council

What is urban design?

Urban design is broadly defined within the Ministry for the Environment’s Urban Design Protocol:

Urban design is concerned with the design of the buildings, places, spaces and networks that make up our towns and cities, and the ways people use them. It ranges in scale from a metropolitan region, city or town down to a street, public space or even a single building. Urban design is concerned not just with appearances and built form but with the environmental, economic, social and cultural consequences of design.

It is a key tool that can help us all understand how development can enjoy the best from strategic opportunities in a way that most meaningfully respects local sensitivities.

Why is this important?
Page 33,Draft 2

Ditto: Another open space that appears to attract use. Rodney District Development Design Guide (second draft), Rodney District Council

The next 25 years of development will present many challenges to our community. The key challenge will be how in the face of this change we retain a strong, recognisable sense of our identity. To harness the benefits of development but minimise the costs, growth should primarily serve our community – making our special places better, improving our economy in the most effective way possible, and reinforcing our identity as examples. A key contribution the built environment can make to this is through ‘place making’. Urban design can help ensure development reinforces this while meeting other important goals.

Where does the resource management act fit in?

All development occurs in the context of the Resource Management Act. It requires Rodney District Council to promote sustainable management, which is defined to include enabling well-being, health, and safety. All development activity must pass through a filter of how to most appropriately promote sustainable management. Due to the emphasis of the Resource Management Act being towards managing the effects of activities rather than activities themselves, many forms of development will need a resource consent. This is a mechanism to understand the effects of that particular proposal based on how it fits into, interacts with, and otherwise relates to the environment around it.

Page 33,Draft 2

Caption Competition: Must not forget the needs of the smokersto quit ! Rodney District Development Design Guide (second draft), Rodney District Council

Urban design with a focus on place making can help development meet the tests of the resource management process (how to best promote sustainable management). It can help reconcile multiple objectives held by different stakeholders to unlock the most appropriate win-win outcomes for the circumstance.

*Refer to the appendix for a broader introduction to the Resource Management Act and Resource Consent process.


A guide to the guideline

  1. Urban design as a way to balance all interests [This page]
  2. Sustainable management in Rodney
  3. Issues that affect all development types
    1. Site analysis and response
    2. Subdivision and urban structure: pages 7–8
    3. Transport and movement
  4. Issues that affect specific development types
    1. Residential
    2. Coastal development
    3. Town centres
    4. General employment land
  5. Case study examples—before and after
    1. Peripheral residential
    2. Typical residential
    3. Mixed density urban residential
    4. Shopping centre
    5. Large-format retail
    6. Office park
  6. Committing to quality
  • A appendix—implications for resource consents


Further reading

There is a wealth of information available on detailed design elements. Instead of repeating them, this guide will focus on the primary ones relevant in Rodney. Sources of further information will be referenced where relevant throughout but in an overall sense the following are key sources:


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