There is high variability in the number of urban design provisions in provincial council plans. Of the plans assessed, all but two addressed over half of the urban design sub-criteria. However, the range within these plans varied from 47 per cent to 88 per cent of the sub-criteria.
As with the metropolitan council plans, the plans from the provincial councils with the highest populations and growth pressures had the greatest number of urban design provisions. Papakura, Kapiti and Tasman all addressed over 70 per cent of the sub-criteria.
The urban design sub-criteria addressed by all nine of the provincial council plans were:
- amenity: provisions relating to amenity
- character: provisions retaining a sense of place, protection of distinctive landforms and indigenous vegetation
- choice: site coverage affecting density
- commerce: mixed-use opportunities, design controls to enhance shopping, provision for home-based businesses
- connectivity: provisions promoting walking and cycling
- custodianship: measures to mitigate hazards
- open space: provision of open spaces.
The urban design sub-criteria addressed by only one or two of the provincial council plans were:
- choice: maximum parking standards
- collaboration: collaborative approaches to structure plans
- custodianship: ongoing care of buildings and spaces
- urban growth management: reuse of brownfield sites and buildings, collaboration between regional and territorial authorities.
6.1 Case study: Tasman Resource Management Plan
Tasman District Council is a provincial unitary authority with an estimated 2009 population of 44,625. The area experienced 8 per cent growth between the 2001 and 2006 census periods. The region is popular because of its climate, access to the coastline and national parks, and arts community. It has seven urban areas with populations of over 1000.
Tasman District has a combined district and regional plan. The District Plan component was operative in November 2008. There are 13 current plan changes; seven of which relate to urban design matters.
The Plan and plan changes have a relatively high number of urban design provisions. The Plan addresses 88 per cent of the urban design sub-criteria. In particular, it extensively addresses amenity, custodianship, character, open space and urban growth issues.
- Amenity: the Plan includes a high number of provisions for avoiding the adverse effects of development on amenity. This includes detailed guidance in subdivision and development design guides.
- Character: the Plan provisions and design guide criteria comprehensively address character. They include provisions for retaining character through design, form and scale consistency, and promoting and developing identity in new developments.
- Custodianship: the Plan has a strong focus on avoiding the adverse effects of natural and man-made hazards. This includes provisions restricting or controlling development in hazard-prone areas.
- Open space: a high number of provisions deal with open space. These include adequate distribution of open space, minimum provision requirements, promoting multi-use open spaces and integrating with stormwater management.
- Urban growth: the Plan includes a high number of provisions for managing urban growth. The focus is on avoiding expansion into hazard-prone areas, providing for expansion and intensification within urban boundaries. Structure plans are favoured for new developments.
Urban design sub-criteria that the Plan does not currently deal with but that may become relevant in the future include:
- maximum parking standards
- promoting higher densities around town and transport centres
- requirements for dwellings in high-noise areas to be acoustically treated
- encouraging physical activity
- reuse of brownfield sites.