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The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol

The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol provides a platform to make New Zealand towns and cities more successful through quality urban design.

Review of the Urban Design Protocol

The Ministry for the Environment is undertaking a Review of the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol.

The vision, attributes of successful town and cities and the design qualities (7C’s) of the Protocol are still valid.

However this review is taking place so we can:

  • involve signatories in the future direction of the Protocol
  • understand the elements that signatories value in the Protocol
  • provide a clear process for change in the governance of the Protocol
  • modify the Ministry's involvement in the Protocol

Further information can be found on the Review of the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol webpage or  please contact Yvonne Weeber on

What is the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol?

The Protocol is a voluntary commitment to specific urban design initiatives by signatory organisations, which include central and local government, the property sector, design professionals, professional institutes and other groups.

The collective actions that individual signatories take make a significant difference to the quality and success of urban design in our towns and cities helping them become:Photograph of a child playing hopscotch.

  • competitive places that thrive economically and facilitate creativity and innovation
  • liveable places that provide a choice of housing, work and lifestyle options
  • healthy environments that sustains people and nature
  • inclusive places that offer opportunities for all citizens
  • distinctive places that have a strong identity and sense of place
  • well-governed places that have a shared vision and sense of direction

The Protocol identifies seven essential design qualities:

  • Context: seeing that buildings, places and spaces are part of the whole town or city
  • Character: reflecting and enhancing the distinctive character, heritage and identity of our urban environment
  • Choice: ensuring diversity and choice for people
  • Connections: enhancing how different networks link together for people
  • Creativity: encouraging innovative and imaginative solutions
  • Custodianship: ensuring design is environmentally sustainable, safe and healthy
  • Collaboration: communicating and sharing knowledge across sectors, professions and with communities.


Logo of the NZ Urban Design Protocol.

Last updated: 19 June 2012