Section 4: Planning and Design Tools

Describing Intended Design Outcomes

Planning and design tools create a vision and set a framework for integrated development. These tools vary in scale depending on the boundaries of the design framework. They set out comprehensive design strategies that provide the means to describe, coordinate and apply quality design intentions in complex urban situations.

These tools guide and promote confidence by creating a clear vision, highlighting issues, coordinating development, and responding to change. Planning and design tools manage change through the promotion of quality urban design, focusing on the opportunities, and contributing to the design process through the provision of a sound policy context. An integrated urban development strategy that uses a combination of these tools can help implement urban projects over variable timeframes.

This section describes:

Planning and Design Tools Working Together

Many of the planning and design tools work together by providing vision and guidance at different scales, from the city through to the site. The diagram below illustrates how these urban design tools can be applied at all the different scales and levels of complexity. It is, therefore, very important to remember that the decisions taken at each level will impact on the levels both above and below.

Town or City
Urban Design Strategy
Overall vision statement establishing general direction for a town or city. Identifies areas or precincts requiring special consideration.
Urban Design Framework
Plan and policies that identify the key urban design features of, and future development for, a neighbourhood or larger complex site.
Design Guide
Policy and principles setting out criteria and ways of achieving quality urban design.
Neighbourhood
Structure Plan
Overall plan for the structure of streets and public spaces with reference to land use.
Precinct Plan
A plan that defines a particular character area or quarter within a town or city and provides guidance for potential development.
Streetscape Strategy
Establishes design direction and general criteria to apply to design of the public space network.Streetscape plan: specific design improvements for the streets identified by the streetscape strategy and structure plan.
Site
Masterplan
The final expected physical plan of buildings and open spaces of a large development.
Design Code
Template and rules of placement and design detail for lot, building and open space design.
Design Brief
Description of design outcomes and assessment criteria for an urban design project.
Covenant
Legal restriction or agreement on design recorded on a title of a property to improve the quality of the built environment.
Technical Guidance Note
Details (eg, street furniture, kerbs, paving and planting) used in the design, layout, technical specifications and maintenance of public open space – streets, plazas, parks and waterways.

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Accessibility Action Plan

What it is:

An accessibility action plan is created to promote movement to people from disadvantaged groups or areas to essential employment and services. An accessibility action plan considers improved transport options and the location, design and delivery of other services and people’s perceptions of personal safety.

What it’s useful for:

Accessibility planning encourages local authorities and other agencies to assess systematically whether people can get to places of work, health care facilities, education facilities, food shops, and other destinations that are important to local residents.

How it’s done:

Through a process of an accessibility assessment using an accessibility audit and accessibility option appraisal, which leads to an accessibility action plan and further accessibility monitoring.

An accessibility action plan flows out of the accessibility assessment and option appraisal steps of the process and comprises outputs of these steps. This information enables identification of a detailed set of prioritised actions to address each of the problems identified during the accessibility assessment.

Actions could include, for example, initiatives to improve travel advice and information, safer streets and stations, reducing the need to travel and making travel more affordable.

‘Accessibility monitoring’ uses a set of core national and regional accessibility indicators to evaluate the contribution made by the proposed actions towards delivery of accessibility objectives.

Reference/example

  • Accessibility Planning, Department for Transport, United Kingdom: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/ltp/accessibility/. Provides a variety of information on accessibility planning, including background reports, accessibility processes, case studies and planning initiatives in the United Kingdom.

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Asset Management Plan

What it is:

An asset management plan demonstrates how a local authority will manage its infrastructure and community assets. Sometimes referred to as an ‘activity management plan’.

Plans may be prepared for assets such as solid waste, wastewater networks, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater, water supply, parks and reserves, council-owned property and buildings, land transport or roading, and river catchment schemes.

What it’s useful for:

Local authorities manage significant infrastructure and community assets that deliver most of the critical quality-of-life services to communities. Asset management plans are useful for identifying and quantifying assets, gathering information on their age and condition, defining the level of service a community wants those assets to provide and forecasting both operational and renewal costs. Activities can be implemented to reduce the use and ongoing maintenance of the assets and prolong their life.

Asset management plans are also useful for examining how growth will impact on future demand for use of the assets. The plans can assess how the capacity of current infrastructure can meet future growth and/or the capital expenditure required to maintain current levels of service and where there will be constraints.

How it’s done:

Schedule 10 of the Local Government Act 2002 requires local authorities to define levels of service for all assets and how those levels of service will be provided. The levels of service are linked to community outcomes specified in long term council community plans.

There is no statutory requirement, however, to follow any particular framework when preparing an asset management plan. The plans contain a description of the assets, details of service levels, including how growth will be dealt with, planning assumptions and confidence levels, improvement programmes, financial forecasts and how the plan will be implemented. Recommended best practice is for asset management plans to deal with risk management, optimised decision-making and integration issues.

References – New Zealand

  • National Asset Management Steering Group (NAMS): http://www.nams.org.nz/Home (118 KB). NAMS is a non-profit industry organisation that promotes best practice in asset management in New Zealand. The website includes essential manuals and guidelines such as The International Infrastructure Management Manual, Optimised Decision Making Guidelines and Developing Levels of Service and Performance Measures Guidelines. It also includes details of asset management related training.

  • Office of the Auditor-General (OAG). The OAG carried out reviews of many New Zealand local authority asset management plans in 2002/03 and 2006. Two reports detail criteria used for assessing the plans and how councils have made progress between the two reviews. Local Government: Results of the 2002/03 audits – asset managementplans: http://oag.govt.nz/local-govt/2002-03/part2-04.htm/?searchterm=asset management (359 KB). Matters arising from the 2006-16 Long Term Council Community Plans – Asset Management Planning: http://oag.govt.nz/local-govt/ltccp/part6.htm/?searchterm=asset management (266 KB].

References – Overseas

Examples – New Zealand

Many councils prepare asset management plans for various assets. Examples include:

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Community Plan

What it is:

Getting the community involved in shaping their local surroundings, through planning and management of their environment.

What it’s useful for:

Bringing local people and resources together, making better decisions and achieving more appropriate results, building a sense of community, and creating opportunities for speedier development.

How it’s done:

There are many ways of undertaking community plans, and the approach will be different for each community initiative or reason for the plan. Community plans can be undertaken for the development of community facilities, urban renewal projects, neighbourhood or town centre upgrades, housing development projects, reuse of derelict sites, heritage conservation projects or even disaster management plans. An excellent UK website, with a number of general principles, methods and scenarios for inspiration on community plans is Community Planning: http://www.communityplanning.net/.

Under the Local Government Act 2002, local authorities are required to develop a ‘long term council community plan’ (LTCCP). The Act sets out a formal process for preparing an LTCCP. These plans are central to the new local government planning framework and are intended to inform the other planning functions undertaken by local authorities (for example, asset management plans, district plans, and waste management plans). Their main purpose is to identify the community outcomes for the district or region and the local authority’s activities that contribute to these outcomes.

References

Examples – Community plans

Examples – Long term council community plans

All councils have long term council community plans. Listed below are those that have an urban design emphasis. Links to all council websites are available at: http://www.qualityplanning.org.nz/contacts/index.php.

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Concept Plan

What it is:

A conceptual plan of how a site can be developed, which is less detailed than a masterplan. Often related to landscape plans for street and open space development projects. Concept plans can also be used to illustrate proposals at the city-wide, sub-regional or regional scale.

What it’s useful for:

Showing the potential development of a site before the masterplan and for drawing up detailed project plans. Concept plans are particularly useful at the beginning of a project and during community consultation.

How it’s done:

Development of a design concept in a plan format, often accompanied by sketch plans and/or a rough model of the project.

Examples

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Conservation Plan

What it is:

A conservation plan is a document that identifies why a place is important and how it should be conserved in the future.

What it’s useful for:

Informing major design-related decisions affecting historic places. It does this through increasing people’s understanding of the characteristics that contribute to making a place important and by providing direction to guide the conservation, use and development of historic places, particularly where their future use is unknown, or undecided or where major development work is proposed.

How it’s done:

Conservation plan preparation generally comprises a two-stage process as follows:

  • Stage 1 – understanding the place through gathering and analysing documentary and physical evidence and then assessing and stating heritage significance.

  • Stage 2 – conservation policy and implementation through gathering information to help develop a conservation policy (for example, physical condition, external requirements such as legal and stakeholder views, requirements for the retention of significance, and feasible uses). Followed by developing a conservation policy and identifying strategies for its implementation.

The undertaking of the process in two discrete stages helps increase the plan’s integrity because the significance of a place can be assessed in isolation of the practical requirements that will inform subsequent policy.

References

  • Bowron, G and Harris, J 2000. Guidelines for Preparing Conservation Plans. New Zealand Historic Places Trust: Wellington. (Second edition.)

  • Kerr, JS 2000. The Conservation Plan. National Trust of Australia: NSW. (Fifth edition.)

Examples

A number of councils and professional institutes have prepared conservation plans, however, not all of these are available on the web. Contact your local council for further information on conservation plans. A full list of council websites can be found on the Quality Planning website: http://www.qualityplanning.org.nz/contacts/index.php or Local Government New Zealand website: http://www.lgnz.co.nz/lg-sector/maps/.

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Covenant

What it is:

A legal restriction or agreement recorded on the title of a property that is a matter of private contract.

What it’s useful for:

Covenants relate generally to the relationship between vendor and purchaser or leaser and lessee and are not a public regulatory tool. For example, a covenant may be used to implement private design controls on a site, which may cover the range of building materials used, the height and placement of buildings, planting and tree protection, and the extent and type of site work. Private individuals decide what is going into the covenant.

How it’s done:

Applied to a variety of matters, including aspects of design not covered by a district plan’s rules or guidelines, but can also be applied to protect and conserve places of ecological or historic heritage value. Covenants can be used by private developers to uphold the specific style or design quality of their development over time. Design expertise will be needed to implement design-related covenants if they require skilled qualitative assessment. Covenants are unlikely to achieve high-quality results unless they are technically robust, applied with appropriate skill and have a means of enforcement after the developer is no longer involved.

Examples

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Design Brief

What it is:

A coherent description by the client to the design team that sets out the desired physical design criteria and outcomes for an urban design project.

What it’s useful for:

Used by all developers, including local authorities, to outline their vision and desired design outcomes.

How it’s done:

A brief will define a site and context, and outline the vision and expectations for site development, including the important outcomes and conditions. Often developed in conjunction with a masterplan or precinct plan and after higher-level vision documents, such as an urban design strategy, have been completed. Every brief should set out: the mission; objectives; performance requirements and measures; priorities; management decisions and responsibilities; timeframe; and who is expected to respond. A design brief may also describe required qualities in addition to desired physical outcomes. Urban design briefs often provide a graphic indication of key alignments, dimensions or relationships to be established with existing buildings, streets or open spaces.

Reference

Examples

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Design Code

What it is:

A precise description of parameters for designing buildings and open space within a development, which may also include specification on material and design detail. This is three-dimensional, performance-based zoning.

What it’s useful for:

Used by local councils and private sector developers to control the site planning and design quality of buildings and open space within a development.

How it’s done:

A design code usually comprises a masterplan and written information. The masterplan is three dimensional and illustrates the development area and intended arrangement of spaces, buildings and design details. The written information explains the plan, and details issues such as landscape, materials and mix of uses. The more detailed design codes will probably provide a pattern book.

References/examples

  • Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) 2003. The Use of Urban Design Codes: Building Sustainable Communities: http://www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=610 (539 KB]. Summary information asking a number of questions about design codes in the UK situation.

  • CABE 2005. Design Coding: Testing its use in England: http://www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=672 (1.5 MB). A summary of the interim findings into the use of design codes in the United Kingdom.

  • Communities and Local Government, U.K. 2006. Preparing Design Codes: A Practice Manual: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/citiesandregions/pdf/152675.pdf (2.2 MB). This UK guide shows how design codes can deliver good-quality places, and explains how design codes can be integrated into the planning, design and development processes that shape the built environment.

  • Department of Planning, New South Wales. Residential Flat Design Code: http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/programservices/dcode.asp. This New South Wales resource is designed to enable practitioners to improve residential flat design. It sets broad parameters for good residential flat design by illustrating the use of development controls and consistent guidelines.

  • Ministry for the Environment, 2005. Urban Design Case Studies: New Zealand Urban Design Protocol (1.8 MB). Botany Downs, Manukau,
    pp 18–25. The role of the Design Code for Intensive Housing within the Manukau District Plan. Each developer’s commitment to urban design principles ensured the overall design was consistent with the proposed urban design features.

  • Office of Deputy Prime Minister, United Kingdom 2006. Design Coding in Practice: An Evaluation: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/citiesandregions/designcoding2. This report presents the findings of research that sought to test the impact of design coding on a number of outcomes. The research concluded that design codes are valuable tools for delivering a range of benefits.

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Design Guide

What it is:

A guideline that describes in words and illustrations the principles for achieving quality urban design. Design guides can either be non-statutory or given statutory effect through incorporation into (or referenced through) a Resource Management Act plan rule.

What it’s useful for:

Guiding decision-making and providing a consistent approach on urban design projects. A statutory design guide makes design criteria explicit, provides consistency for the developer and community, and allows for a robust assessment and decision-making process. Design guides may be applied to specific areas, such as character areas, town and city centres, development types (for example, multi-unit housing), or to design issues (for example, design for streetscape quality or safety).

How it’s done:

The development of a design guide may start with the examination and debate of all urban design issues. When a draft design guide is developed it can be subject to consultation before being adopted.

Design guides generally come in two forms:

  • ‘Statutory design guides’, often called ‘design criteria’, have legal status in a district plan and provide explicit criteria for assessing the quality of design outcomes. For example, by forming part of a plan rule or policy. They provide developers and designers with information on critical issues before starting the design process, and ensure that the method of assessing design quality is systematic, consistent and transparent. The statutory design guide’s legal status gives the necessary leverage to ensure that it is followed. Design expertise is therefore required to implement statutory design guides, because they inevitably require skilled qualitative assessment. These guides should contain explanations and/or illustrations to demonstrate the context and rationale for design principles. They should also include design objectives to clarify the intent of the guidelines and allow for flexibility in the design approach.

  • ‘Non-statutory design guides’ are used for education and advocacy and, when combined with promotion, can be an effective means of distributing information on quality design. Because there is no compulsion for a developer or designer to consider a non-statutory design guide, it will be most effective when the majority of users are persuaded that it is in their interests to follow the guide. It should be attractively presented, use accessible language and graphics, and be supported by ongoing promotion.

Site- or area-specific design guides are also used by private developers and can take the form of a design code, pattern book or covenant where they are implemented by means of a legal agreement or covenant.

References

Examples – Statutory design guidelines

Examples – Non-statutory design guidelines – New Zealand

Examples – Non-statutory design guidelines – Overseas

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Growth Strategy

What it is:

A long-term strategy that provides a comprehensive spatial framework for managing the growth of an area. These strategies have regard to the functions of an urban community that are influenced by spatially focused policies, activities and services, and seek to integrate these in a sustainable manner. For example, the location and density of housing, transportation and other infrastructure networks, protection of the natural environment, spatially led social planning, and the location, intensity and employment opportunities associated with existing and future business centres. The growth strategy will often incorporate other high-level urban design tools, such as a regional or city-wide urban design strategy.

A growth strategy can operate at a regional, sub-regional or city level.

What it’s useful for:

Helps provide a clear, spatial framework and strategic direction(s) for anticipated future growth in an area. Enables integrated multi-disciplinary planning to occur at the regional, sub-regional or metropolitan level in a manner that guides, directs and influences local decisions to ensure growth is addressed across all scales and disciplines. For example, the best locations for future growth nodes and transport hubs.

Growth strategies also help inform documents such as regional policy statements, regional land transport strategies, district plans and long term council community plans.

How it’s done:

Technical analysis and research is undertaken, alongside political input and consultation with numerous people and organisations. A draft strategy is released for consultation and submissions are made on the draft content before the final strategy is implemented. A cross-section of people is involved, including politicians, developers, planners, architects, infrastructure operators, iwi, environmental experts and business people.

References

  • Jowett, Stephanie 2002. Managing Growth, Planning Quarterly December: http://www.qualityplanning.org.nz/pubs/Managing-Growth.pdf (765 KB]. This article provides an overview of the Auckland Regional Growth Strategy and describes the development and implementation of the Liveable Communities Strategy 2050.

  • Ministry for Economic Development. Strategies for Regional Growth: http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/ContentTopicSummary____28454.aspx. These regional economic development strategy guidelines were produced by the Ministry for Economic Development to contribute to the continual development of high-quality strategies.

  • Opus International Consultants Limited 2007. Tools for Sustainable Management of Settlement Form in New Zealand: http://www.learningsustainability.org.nz/. This report presents an introduction to methods and tools used in New Zealand and overseas to manage sustainable settlement form and design. Growth management strategies are discussed on page 19 of the report.

  • Tucker, Michael and Waghorn, Brenna 2006. Multiple Strategies in Search of Coherent Implementation: http://www.qualityplanning.org.nz/pubs/Multiple-Strategies-in-Search-of-Coherent-Implementation.pdf (2.2 MB). This article outlines various strategies and plans developed for the Auckland region, including the Regional Growth Strategy in 1999.

Examples – Regional growth strategies

  • Auckland Regional Council 1999. Auckland Regional Growth Strategy: http://www.arc.govt.nz/albany/main/auckland/aucklands-growth/regional--strategies_home.cfm. This strategy sets a vision for how the region’s growth can be sustainably managed over the next 50 years. Key issues covered include: urban form, housing, transport, business and economy, employment location and the environment.

  • Nelson/Richmond Intensification Study: http://www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz/environment/-plans/NUGS/intensification-study.htm. This joint project between Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council helps address the need to accommodate 9000 new houses across the region by 2026.

  • Wellington Regional Strategy: http://www.wrs.govt.nz. A sustainable economic growth strategy developed over two years by the region’s nine local authorities. It contains a range of initiatives, including transport, housing, urban design and open spaces, aimed at getting the Wellington region to realise its economic potential and to enhance regional form.

Examples – Sub-regional growth strategies

  • Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy 2006: http://www.greaterchristchurch.org.nz/. The intent of this strategy is to provide the primary strategic direction for the greater Christchurch area and establish a basis for all organisations and the community to cooperatively manage growth. It considers the complexity and inter-relationships of issues around land use, transport and infrastructure, including community facilities, while incorporating social, health, cultural, economic and environmental values. See also Ministry for the Environment 2008. Urban Design Case Studies: Urban Development Strategy – Greater Christchurch.

  • Nelson Urban Growth Strategy 2006: http://www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz/environment/-plans/NUGS/NUGS-PDFs/NUGS%20Strategy%20Document-00.pdf (326 KB]. Sets out several proposals for dealing with population growth and residential land use needs in the Nelson City Council area. It includes strategies and proposed implementation options.

  • Northern and Western Sectors Agreement 2001: http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/AbtCnl/pp/pdf/sectoragrmntoct2001.pdf (1.70 MB). An agreement under the Auckland Regional Growth Strategy between the following councils: North Shore City, Waitakere City, Rodney District and Auckland Regional. The strategy allocates future population growth capacities by sub-regional and territorial areas, based on analysis of population projections and application of the key principles outlined in the strategy. The Northern and Western Sectors Agreement sets out how the allocated growth capacities for these two sectors can be accommodated in appropriate locations, form and sequencing over the next 20 years. It also identifies and sets in place agreed principles and methods/actions to address the key issues associated with managing this growth.

  • Western Bay of Plenty, SmartGrowth Strategy: http://www.smartgrowthbop.org.nz/. This 50-year strategy was developed by SmartGrowth and implemented in May 2004. It provides a context for considering the sub-region’s growth-management decisions and how they may affect the welfare of future generations. A range of initiatives is covered by this strategy, including the location of housing and employment and their impact on transportation networks, and the need to protect versatile land resources that provide a strong base for the region’s economy.

  • Western Bay of Plenty, SmartGrowth Strategy: http://www.smartgrowthbop.org.nz/. This 50-year strategy was developed by SmartGrowth and implemented in May 2004. It provides a context for considering the sub-region’s growth-management decisions and how they may affect the welfare of future generations. A range of initiatives is covered by this strategy, including the location of housing and employment and their impact on transportation networks, and the need to protect versatile land resources that provide a strong base for the region’s economy.

Examples – Town and city growth strategies

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Heritage Strategy

What it is:

A heritage strategy documents how a local authority intends to manage heritage in its area and sets out the range of, and balance between, regulatory and non-regulatory heritage management techniques.

What it’s useful for:

A heritage strategy can guide planning, promote integrated management across council functions and provide a basis for making financial decisions. It can also be a useful political tool because it allows community aspirations to be identified, recorded and then prioritised for action by the local authority. A heritage strategy can promote coordination and cooperation between the many different parties that have an interest in historic heritage.

How it’s done:

There is no statutory requirement to prepare a heritage strategy. The process of developing a heritage strategy is as inclusive as possible so as to canvass views from all interested parties, not just ‘experts’. Community input is essential because it enables the local authority to develop a long-term vision for heritage management. At the beginning of the process it is important to be clear on the purpose for the strategy and to have political support for developing and implementing it.

A heritage strategy should explore all options for heritage management (regulatory and non-regulatory) and evaluate their suitability in that particular area. The implementation section needs to be flexible because this is the area most likely to change over time. The strategy should also include details of how it will be monitored and reviewed.

References

Examples

  • Stephenson J, Beauchop H, Petchey P 2004. Bannockburn heritage landscape study, Science for Conservation 244: http://www.doc.govt.nz/404notfound.aspx?aspxerrorpath=%2ftemplates%2fpage.aspx%3fid%3d39157 (171K–346K). Publication number 244 in the Department of Conservation Science for Conservation archive comprising nine pdf files. This informative study trials a newly developed interdisciplinary methodology of spatial analysis and shows the value of heritage landscape methodology and areas for refinement.

Many councils have prepared heritage strategies. Examples include:

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Low Impact Design

What it is:

Low impact design (LID) is a site design approach that protects and incorporates natural site features into erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans. It uses catchments as the ecological basis for designing sites, and the principles can be applied from large-scale developments, through to individual lots. Key elements include working with natural systems by avoiding or minimising impervious surfaces, minimising earthworks and using vegetation to trap sediment and pollutants.

What it’s useful for:

It helps minimise sediment and pollutant run-off and reduces impervious areas. It also reduces energy, infrastructure, maintenance and site development costs.

How it’s done:

LID requires the minimisation of hydrologic impacts and the provision of controls to mitigate and restore the unavoidable disturbance to the hydrologic regime.

Note, LID is referred to in Australia as ‘Water Sensitive Urban Design’ (WSUD); in the United Kingdom as ‘Sustainable Urban Design Systems’ (SUDS); and in New Zealand as ‘Low Impact Urban Design and Development’ (LIUDD).

References

Examples – New Zealand

Examples – Overseas

  • Environmental Protection Agency, United States. Smart Growth and Water: Resources and Tools: http://www.epa.gov/watertrain/smartgrowth/resources/index.htm. This site is a portal to US resources on zoning and ordinances, case studies, low-impact development tools, and site planning techniques.

  • The Low Impact Development Centre, United States: http://www.lowimpactdevelopment.org/home.htm. The Low Impact Development Centre is a US non-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of low impact development technology. This website provides links to research, training and other resources.

  • The National Urban Water Governance Program, United States: http://arts.monash.edu.au/ges/research/nuwgp/. This site includes information on a social research programme that aims to provide a knowledge base that will inform and assist urban water managers build institutional capacity, improve water governance, and deliver sustainable forms of water management.

  • Water Sensitive Urban Design, Melbourne (WSUD): http://www.melbournewater.com.au/wsud. Provides information on WSUD and also provides a link to WSUD case studies in Melbourne.

  • Water Sensitive Urban Design, Sydney: http://wsud.org. This site provides information on WSUD and initiatives in the Sydney region.

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Masterplan

What it is:

A masterplan describes the final expected outcome of a large site and may be used to direct development on smaller sites. It describes the physical configuration and phasing of buildings, infrastructure and/or public spaces.

What it’s useful for:

Outlining the expected final outcome of a development with the physical layout of buildings, public spaces, roading and possible land uses. Used to direct and coordinate further detailed development on the site. Masterplans are used in site development and open space projects by (public or private) developers to provide certainty about design and development intentions. Masterplans are valuable in creating opportunities for regeneration, and in providing a plan for either brownfield or greenfield development. Developers often use masterplans as sales and marketing tools to illustrate the final look or character of their development scheme.

How it’s done:

Because of their complexity, masterplans typically require a multi-disciplinary team. In the creation of a masterplan, a variety of urban design tools will be used. Masterplans that are expected to be implemented over an extended time period can be restrictive if they are given regulatory status, unless the status allows for change. This approach is sometimes referred to as a ‘spatial masterplan’ or a ‘development plan’.

Masterplans are often produced with reference to a higher level urban design strategy that is applied to a neighbourhood, city, town or region.

References/examples – Overseas

Examples – New Zealand

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Pattern Book

Pattern Book

What it is:

A ‘pattern book’ is based upon the vision of a masterplan or the character of an existing neighbourhood. It regulates the building bulk, architectural massing, building types, heights, facades, styles, materials, and details of a proposed character, or character that you may wish to retain.

What it’s useful for:

A pattern book establishes the basic design guidelines that will ensure that the architecture of the individual buildings within an urban area will all be in keeping with the overall masterplan vision. Pattern books can also describe guidelines for open space, streets, parking and service functions.

How it’s done:

Design details are specified that aim to produce a consistent scale and proportion appropriate to their context. A pattern book should raise the standards of design by providing options and issues for quality design of building.

Examples

  • Norfolk City, United States: http://www.norfolk.gov/Planning/comehome/Norfolk_ Pattern_Book/residents.html. A pattern book website organised into four sections: The Overview, Neighbourhood Patterns, Architectural Patterns and Landscape Patterns. Each section is designed to provide key information to help in making design and site planning decisions for planned renovations or new house construction.

  • Residential Flat Pattern Book: http://www.patternbook.nsw.gov.au/. Is a residential resource book of ideas and precedents to guide better design of residential flat development in New South Wales, Australia.

  • The Pegasus Pattern Book: http://infinitywanaka.com/pegasus/ (3.7 MB). Provides detailed architecture and landscape guidance for residential development in Pegasus, a new town in North Canterbury. For information on development around a golf course in the same area see: http://infinitywanaka.com/pegasus/ (2.37 MB).

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Precinct Plan

What it is:

A plan or set of policies and guidelines used to direct development within a defined area.

What it’s useful for:

Managing and directing change consistent with the conditions and characteristics of a defined neighbourhood or character area.

How it’s done:

The precinct is defined by its context, character and unique functions and mapped to a particular location in a town or city. Specific policies, guidelines or plans are put together to manage development within the precinct. Precincts may range in scale, from individual spaces within a campus environment, to streets and neighbourhoods within a city. Examples of precinct planning include designation of a business improvement district, an ‘enterprise zone’, special activity area, ‘character areas’, ‘conservation areas’ and ‘urban quarters’.

Town centre plans or ‘centre plans’ usually apply to suburban businesses, retail and mixed-use areas. A centre plan integrates planning, streetscape and public transport improvements. It is often closely related to a town centre programme or a main street programme that focuses on the management, physical enhancement, economic development and marketing of an area.

Examples

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Priority Infrastructure Plans

What it is:

Priority infrastructure plans (PIPs) are used to identify the existing and future infrastructure necessary to provide for estimated future population growth. They provide a clear and certain basis for the calculation of infrastructure charges applicable to new development. Generally, these plans include:

  • stormwater infrastructure (drainage and water quality)

  • transport infrastructure (roads, cycle and pedestrian paths)

  • local community infrastructure (open space and land for local community purposes such as libraries, community halls and so on).

What it’s useful for:

PIPs are a key mechanism for assisting in planning and growth management. They help ensure water, sewerage, stormwater, public and private transport, recreational facilities, and land for community facilities are provided in an efficient and sustainable way, and new developments pay their fair share of the cost of providing infrastructure.

In New Zealand, PIPs can help inform structure plans by helping identify the location of essential infrastructure, such as roading.

How it’s done:

PIPs establish an infrastructure planning benchmark for the planning scheme. They identify:

  • where growth is expected to occur

  • the nature and scale of this growth

  • the plans and desired service standards for the infrastructure necessary to service the growth.

In Australia, PIPs are prepared in consultation with the state government and take into account local and state government policies, infrastructure efficiencies, expected population growth, and demand for serviced land and market expectations. They identify the areas within a locality that are, or are planned to be, serviced with development infrastructure.

In the United States, PIPs are often referred to as ‘public facility plans’ and are administered at both local and state levels, depending on the nature of the infrastructure. They are undertaken in a similar manner to PIPs and regulated according to the likely impacts.

References/examples – New Zealand

  • Tauranga District Council. Urban Growth Area Structure Plans: http://content.tauranga.govt.nz/plans/annual/200506/AnnPlanUGPlans.pdf (4 MB). Although referred to as structure plans, these planning maps provide classic examples of PIPs.

  • Waitakere City Council 2000. Comprehensive Urban Stormwater Management Strategy and Action Plan: http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/abtcnl/pp/cussapreports/usmsap_sum.asp. Deals with stormwater management as well as planning for future growth. Aims to integrate best practice catchment management principles with excellence in rural and urban design in both new and established areas.

  • Waitakere City Council 2007. Social Infrastructure Planning Framework for Waitakere City: http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/abtcnl/pp/pdf/gms/social-infra-s1.pdf (1.22 MB). The framework sets outs a range of principles, processes and tools to help the Council (and other infrastructure providers) to plan for the social infrastructure needs of growth areas. The framework is focused on facilities (such as halls and meeting spaces) as well as community-based processes like networking and events.

References/examples – Overseas

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Public Art Strategy

What it is:

A strategy that commits a council or organisation to supporting and encouraging art in its town and city. Aims can include: supporting the development of local artists; generating new art-related employment; expressing different cultures; developing opportunities in the urban fabric where arts can be expressed and people can participate; and improving the quality of the built environment.

What it’s useful for:

Supporting the recognised key role that public art plays in a town or city’s social, cultural and economic development, and as an important vehicle for urban renewal and city marketing.

How it’s done:

Working with the art community to create a challenging and creative strategy with social outputs and local involvement that is fully integrated with wider planning, policy and design tools. The strategy may start small, with a number of local art-related events, and build up to a number of high-profile, national-interest events or artworks.

‘Public art’ is defined in the widest possible sense as artistic works created for, or located in, part of a public space or facility and accessible to members of the public. Public art includes works of a permanent or temporary nature located in the public domain.

Examples

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Streetscape Plan

Streetscape Plan

What it is:

A design plan that details development, improvements or regeneration proposals for a single street or open space.

What it’s useful for:

Guiding refurbishment of specific streets and spaces in the city, often as part of a wider public space enhancement strategy, and sometimes integrated with marketing and economic regeneration initiatives or a town centre programme or main street programme.

How it’s done:

An overall design vision is required to direct the construction and management proposals of a streetscape plan. A number of tools, including research and analysis, community participation and awareness raising, will be used in the development of a streetscape plan. It may also be known as a ‘open space plan’.

Examples

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Streetscape Strategy

What it is:

A planning policy that describes at a high level the visual qualities and (sometimes) management and maintenance requirements that must be met by the design of open space and public areas.

What it’s useful for:

Providing coordinated guidance for the design of a street system and associated public spaces within a town or city.

How it’s done:

A streetscape strategy may cover a neighbourhood, or an entire town or city centre. Based on an understanding of local context, character and needs, the strategy will usually identify the intended hierarchy of open spaces and the general design approach at all levels of the hierarchy. It may also be known as a ‘open space enhancement strategy’ and will sometimes include detailed streetscape plans for identified streets and masterplans for key public spaces.

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Structure Plan

What it is:

A high-level plan that shows the arrangement of land-use types, and identifies public infrastructure, such as streets, schools, rail, reservoirs and natural features. The integration of multiple transport modes and destinations can also be shown.

What it’s useful for:

Guiding the future development or redevelopment of a particular area by coordinating and defining land-use patterns, areas of open space, the location and distribution of infrastructure, including integration and accessibility of transportation with land use, and other key features that influence or manage the effects of development.

How it’s done:

A structure plan is typically prepared by local government to show how a given area and its supporting networks link it to other areas. When produced at the regional level, it describes arterial routes and is called a ‘regional structure plan’. When applied at the precinct or district-wide level in open space planning, it is often described as a ‘public open space structure plan’ and shows all open spaces and access connections.

References/examples

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Subdivision Code of Practice

What it is:

A subdivision code of practice sets out requirements and conditions for the approval of earthworks, road layout and stormwater, and the design, construction and maintenance of land proposed for subdivision. It provides a means of complying with conditions imposed by resource consents, and subdivision rules and criteria within a district plan. It applies to urban and rural subdivision practices for residential, business and recreational purposes.

What it’s useful for:

Assisting territorial authorities in controlling the development and protection of land and associated natural and physical resources in a district. Many New Zealand councils are beginning to review their subdivision codes of practice to support better urban design.

How it’s done:

Subdivision codes of practice have, in the past, presented a traditional form of subdivision development. A number of councils are reviewing, and developing new, subdivision codes of practice that incorporate urban design principles and requirements. These new codes of practice guide developers to ensure compliance with design rules and performance criteria in the district plan. When a proposal is submitted to the Council for subdivision consent, planning staff assess the application to ensure it complies with the district plan. Preferably, pre-application meetings are held to ensure the proposal complies with good urban design principles. Some of the new codes of practice have alternative approaches that allow for variation in the ways that compliance with district plan requirements can be achieved.

Examples

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Technical Guidance Note

What it is:

A detailed design description of key elements, such as street furniture, kerbs, paving and planting. Used in streets, plazas, parks and waterways. It sets out the design, layout, technical specifications and maintenance of these elements.

What it’s useful for:

Wherever consistency and quality urban design details are required for a large urban area over an extended time. For example, the technical guide in Melbourne has been part of an ongoing implementation strategy since 1985.

How it’s done:

Proven design solutions consistent with the overall strategy for the design of a place are documented to allow them to be repeated without need for redesign. Technical notes provide guidance for people responsible for implementing design, and are often used to describe types of street furniture and urban landscape detail.

Examples

  • Auckland Regional Council. Stormwater Treatment Devices: http://www.arc.govt.nz/plans/technical-publications/technical-publications-1-50.cfm. Provides guidance on designing, constructing and maintaining stormwater treatment devices to improve water quality and manage flooding and erosion.

  • New South Wales Government 2004. Water Sensitive Urban Design Technical Guidelines: http://www.wsud.org/tech.htm. These technical guidelines have been developed for use by councils in Western Sydney and explain how best to incorporate and design water sensitive urban design measures into urban developments. They provide guidance to councils, planners, developers and builders through provision of best management practice design specifications.

  • Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), New South Wales 1999. Beyond the Pavement: RTA Urban and Regional Design Practice Notes: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roadprojects/index.html (31.1 MB). These practice notes have been developed to assist road and traffic authority managers who are responsible for the design, building and upgrading of road and transit-way projects at all scales.

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Transport Energy Specification

What it is:

Transport energy specification (TES) combines urban GIS data with transport service supply information to produce an indication of the transport energy efficiency of any urban form, transport infrastructure or transport service supply.

What it’s useful for:

Assisting developers and local governments in the creation of low energy dependent urban/suburban areas and helping enhance transport efficiency for residents and businesses.

How it’s done:

A TES includes data on energy use (energy type and quantity), carbon dioxide emissions and population density and distribution. In overseas examples, an energy regulation/limit can be set for the area by local government with advice from transport and research professionals. Future urban/suburban developments, or areas to be redeveloped, are then measured with the TES to quantify the energy dependency of the specific area. The measured energy dependence is then compared with the regulation/limit. If the proposal meets the regulation, development can proceed; otherwise infrastructure or land-use changes are required to reduce the transport energy dependence of the proposal.

Reference

  • Urban Step – Sustainable Transport Energy Planning: http://www.engsg.com/Pages/UrbanPlanning.aspx. Provides information on the transport energy specification and includes links to New Zealand and international case studies.

Examples

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Transport Strategy

What it is:

A transport strategy is a high-level document that sets out the long-term direction for transport in a particular area. Can also be known as an ‘integrated transport strategy’. Regional councils are required to prepare a regional land transport strategy under the Land Transport Act 1998. The strategy is a statutory document that guides development of a region’s transportation system. It covers the movement of people by mode, for example, public transport, car, road, walking and cycling, and freight by road, rail, air and sea as appropriate to an area.

What it’s useful for:

Useful for defining the direction for transport-related issues in a particular area. It can recognise the links between transport and land use and urban form and set objectives and policies to address these linkages. It is useful where a council wishes to promote sustainable modes of transport and support a compact urban form.

It is mandatory for regional councils to prepare a regional land transport strategy with direct linkages between the strategy and government funding for transport projects. However, larger urban councils and sub-regions may also find it useful to prepare a non-statutory strategy where there is a significant investment in roading and public transport and/or strong linkages with changes in urban form.

How it’s done:

The New Zealand Transport Agency (formerly Land Transport New Zealand) recommends a six-step process for the review of regional land transport strategies. This is a generic process that could be followed for preparing any such documents. The six steps are:

  1. identify and analyse issues and problems

  2. specify outcomes

  3. develop an assessment framework

  4. identify strategic options

  5. define a preferred strategy

  6. monitoring the outcomes.

Reference

Examples – National

  • Ministry of Transport 2008. New Zealand Transport Strategy: http://www.transport.govt.nz/new-zealand-transport-strategy-2/. Defines a vision of a national transport system that is affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable. Sets 30-year targets for the whole of the transport sector and includes actions to achieve these targets. Incorporates comprehensive monitoring and review provisions.

Examples – Regional

Examples – City and district

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Travel Plan

What it is:

A travel plan is a package of practical steps individuals can take to promote sustainable modes of transport. Travel plans can cover journeys to, from and around work (workplace travel plans), school (school travel plans) or around the community (community travel plans).

What it’s useful for:

Useful for organisations that want to reduce the number of vehicles they have on the road and/or number of vehicle kilometres travelled. Travel plans can help reduce the impacts of traffic congestion and air pollution and promote the health benefits of active forms of transport, such as walking and cycling.

How it’s done:

Travel plans are developed in five basic steps:

  1. set up – gain commitment and appoint a travel plan coordinator

  2. research – data collection and analysis of how people are currently travelling, including a site and policy audit

  3. planning – deciding on actions and approving the final travel plan

  4. implementation

  5. continuous improvement – monitoring and evaluation of how travel patterns have changed as a result of implementing the travel plan.

References

Examples – School travel plans

Examples – Workplace travel plans

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Urban Design Action Plan

What it is:

Signatories to the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol develop a set of actions specific to their organisations. These are set out in the organisation’s action plan and are intended to give effect to the Protocol.

What it’s useful for:

Urban design action plans are essential for the ongoing implementation of the Protocol. Becoming a signatory shows an organisation’s commitment to continuous improvement of its urban areas. The actions in the organisation’s urban design action plan will, over time, change the way towns and cities are managed, and ensure that quality urban design is integrated into the activities of that organisation.

How it’s done:

Signatories to the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol (Protocol) select their chosen actions and report them to the Ministry for the Environment within three months of becoming a signatory. The choice of actions is at the discretion of the signatory organisation, however, the actions are expected to be challenging and ambitious. There is only one mandatory action – appointing an urban design champion. The Ministry for the Environment holds a list of all signatories’ protocol actions. See Urban Design Action Plan Review listed in the references below.

The Action Pack is a supporting publication of the Protocol and provides examples of actions an organisation might take to implement the Protocol. Ideas are provided for different types of organisations and different aspects of an organisation’s activities.

Signatories monitor and report on their action plans to the Ministry for the Environment. The first round of monitoring took place in 2006 and is summarised in the 2007 Action Plan Progress Report.

References

  • Ministry for the Environment 2005. Action Pack. Describes examples of actions organisations might take to implement the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol.

  • Ministry for the Environment 2005. Urban Design Action Plan Review. Summarises all action plans received before December 2005.

  • Ministry for the Environment 2007. Action Plan Progress Report. Contains results of the first round of monitoring of action plans after two years of implementing the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol.

Examples

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Urban Design Framework

What it is:

A document that describes an overarching vision, and the intended outcome for an entire urban area, and gives direction to direct subsequent policies and site-specific initiatives within that area.

What it’s useful for:

Used in areas undergoing change or where growth or change needs to be promoted. Provides a vision and flexibility to guide large complex projects that are implemented over time. Usually applied to large or complex sites by both the private and public sectors to set design, management and delivery parameters.

How it’s done:

Often produced with reference to an urban design strategy, it is a ‘higher-level’ document than either a masterplan, design guide or design brief. It is used to coordinate these detailed site-specific initiatives and usually covers the means of implementation and governance (in the case of a public project) as well as setting general design direction. Because it can address economic and activity criteria, management and project delivery as well as design, it is sometimes called a ‘development brief’.

Examples – New Zealand

Example – Overseas

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Urban Design Strategy

Urban Design Strategy

What it is:

A written policy document that describes in words and images a vision for developing a neighbourhood, town, city or region.

What it’s useful for:

Used to direct the physical development of a neighbourhood, city, town or region where an overarching vision is required to direct and coordinate different design initiatives.

How it’s done:

The focus is on general configuration and design direction, design qualities or principles and their means of implementation. An urban design strategy is based on an appraisal of the physical context, is informed by community and stakeholder participation, and provides a long term and high-level comprehensive vision that is the basis for shaping policies and implementing design initiatives. An urban design strategy may apply at a range of levels: to an entire city or settlement; to a part (for example, a central area design strategy); or to one aspect (for example, a streetscape or lighting strategy) of either all, or part of, a town or city. An urban design strategy may be implemented through a range of mechanisms, including urban design frameworks for parts of a town, city or region, district plan policies and rules, design guides, and open space development projects and capital works through long term council community plans.

References

Examples

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Walking and Cycling Strategy

What it is:

A strategy that aims to promote walking and cycling as alternative modes of transport. The two forms of transport may be dealt with together in one combined strategy or, less commonly, separately.

What it’s useful for:

For councils that want to promote both walking and cycling for shorter journeys and the public health, fitness and environmental benefits of active transport. A strategy is useful if a local authority wants to develop and maintain a safe, direct, convenient and pleasant walking and cycling network. Projects need to be mentioned in a walking and cycling strategy before they can be eligible for central government funding.

How it’s done:

Prepared by a council (regional, district or city) in conjunction with other interested parties, such as other local authorities, the New Zealand Transport Agency (formerly Land Transport New Zealand), local walking and cycling advocacy groups, the community, employers and other road user groups. Sets out a vision for walking and cycling in a particular area and, from that, develops objectives, policies and targets (or indicators). May include monitoring and review provisions. Often includes an implementation or action plan.

References

Example – National

Examples – Local

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