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The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol marks a significant milestone in our nation's urban development. The changes we make now in the way we design our towns and cities will make a difference not just to us, but to our children and our children's children in how they live their lives. The Urban Design Protocol forms part of the Government's Sustainable Development Programme of Action, which aims to ensure our towns and cities are healthy, safe and attractive places where business, social and cultural life can flourish.

New Zealand is one of the most urbanised nations in the world - almost 87 percent of our population live in towns and cities. Yet we haven't paid enough attention to making the places we live in successful places that work for people.

The design of our towns and cities affects almost every aspect of our lives - we all live and work in buildings, and use streets, public spaces, transport systems and other infrastructure. We need to ensure that what we design meets people's needs and aspirations, and that people want to live there. We need to ensure our towns and cities are successful places that contribute positively to our identity as a nation.

The Urban Design Protocol is the first step toward improving the quality of our towns and cities. The actions that individual signatories take will, together, make a significant difference. The Government is also committed to raising the standard of urban design, and we will lead this change through a programme of actions.

The success of the Urban Design Protocol in attracting such strong support from across New Zealand and so many different sectors illustrates that the time is right for New Zealand to make a leap forward in the quality of our urban design. The Urban Design Protocol is just the start of a number of initiatives that will be developed under the Urban Affairs portfolio, and which will demonstrate the Government's commitment to creating towns and cities that we can all be proud of.

Hon Marian L Hobbs

Minister with Responsibility for Urban Affairs
Minister for the Environment