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Executive summary

The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol provides a platform to make New Zealand towns and cities more successful through quality urban design. It is part of the Government's Sustainable Development Programme of Action and Urban Affairs portfolio.

Urban design seeks to ensure that the design of buildings, places, spaces and networks that make up our towns and cities, work for all of us, both now and in the future.

The Urban Design Protocol identifies seven essential design qualities that together create quality urban design:

  • Context: seeing buildings, places and spaces as part of whole towns and cities
  • 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.

The Urban Design Protocol is a voluntary commitment by central and local government, property developers and investors, design professionals, educational institutes and other groups to undertake specific urban design initiatives. The actions that individual signatories take will, together, make a significant difference to the quality of our towns and cities.

To support the implementation of the Urban Design Protocol, the Government will provide leadership through a suite of supporting resources and a programme of action. These will build the capacity of organisations to deliver quality urban design, provide guidance, raise community awareness, and ensure that the key messages of the Urban Design Protocol are firmly grasped and put into action.