You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find an Aucklander who doesn’t agree that more thought needs to be put into the city’s urban design planning, (just look at the numerous, ugly show-box apartments that have sprung up throughout the central city). So news that Auckland Council is being asked to commit to stronger support of urban design principles is a positive step.
Along with the appointment of council and local board urban design champions, the Planning and Urban Design Forum has also recommended the council be a signatory to the Ministry for the Environment Urban Design Protocol, which already has a number of central government, local government, developer, consultant, educational and professional institute signatories.
Launched in 2005, the protocol pushes for the quality of urban design to be top-of-mind in all relevant decisions. It also asks that members commit to an urban design action plan setting out how they will promote and achieve good urban design.
Councillor Cameron Brewer, chairperson of the forum, has been recommended as the political urban design champion to join Ludo Campbell–Reid, the council’s manager of Environmental Strategy and Policy, as the council’s officer design champion.
Each of the 21 local boards in Auckland would also be invited to appoint their own urban design champion, and Brewer says each new champion will be trained in urban design principles.
Brewer says the initiatives are about being a leader, instead of playing catch-up.
“These actions, along with other recent initiatives, including boosting the urban design panel and the introduction of pedestrian-friendly shared spaces, put Auckland at the forefront of urban design in Australasia,” says Brewer.
“Good urban design will be a critical element in realising the Mayor’s vision to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city.”
The forum’s recommendations will be referred to the Regional Planning and Operations Committee for endorsement.