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The ministry’s role

Identifying the value of the services the Ministry provides in relation to the Protocol, and its role in terms of supporting the Urban Design Protocol and its networks is a key objective of this study. This section of the report presents these results.

Use of the Ministry’s services

Respondents were asked to indicate the value they received from using the tools and resources the Ministry provides.

Chart 5 illustrates the more tangible tools and resources (i.e. published documents etc.) are rated of greater value than those of a less tangible nature (i.e. services). For example, more than three out of four respondents rate the following tools and resources of value:

  • Urban Design Tool kit (89 percent rate this extremely/somewhat valuable)
  • Urban Leader monthly e-newsletter (85 percent rate this extremely/somewhat valuable)
  • Urban Design case studies (81 percent rate this extremely/somewhat valuable)
  • The Action Pack for action plans (79 percent rate this extremely/somewhat valuable)
  • The Review of Urban Design Case Law (77 percent rate this extremely/somewhat valuable).

In contrast, while the Ministry’s less tangible services are rated of value for three out of five respondents, higher proportions of respondents do not rate these as being of value. For example, three out of five respondents (61 percent) rate the support and guidance received from the Ministry in relation to the development of action plans as being of value, whereas one in five (22 percent) do not find this to be the case.

Similarly, three out of five respondents (61 percent) rate the support and training for Urban Design Champions as being of value, whereas one in six (17 percent) do not find this to be of value.

Chart 15: Value of Ministry’s tools and resources

chart 15 value of ministry's tools and resources

Base: Respondents who have used each resource (excludes no answer)

This chart shows the value of the Ministry’s tools and resources. In response to the Action Plan, 17 per cent stated it as extremely valuable, 62 per cent stated it to have somewhat value, 6 per cent stated it to have little or no value and 14 per cent were unsure. In response to the Urban Leader monthly e-newsletter, 38 per cent stated it as extremely valuable, 47 per cent stated it to have somewhat value, 4 per cent stated it to have little or no value and 11 per cent were unsure.

In response to the Urban Design Toolkit, 32 per cent stated it as extremely valuable, 57 per cent stated it to have somewhat value, 1 per cent stated it to have little or no value and 11 per cent were unsure. In response to The Review of Urban Design Toolkit, 32 per cent stated it as extremely valuable, 57 per cent stated it to have somewhat value. 1 per cent stated it to have little or no value and 11 per cent were unsure.

In response to the Urban Design Case Studies for Local Government, 28 per cent stated it as extremely valuable, 53 per cent stated it to have somewhat value, 5 per cent stated it to have little or no value and 14 per cent were unsure. In response to Support and Training for Urban Design Champions, 18 per cent stated it as extremely valuable, 43 per cent stated it to have somewhat value, 17 per cent stated it to have little or no value and 22 per cent were unsure.

In response to Support and guidance in the development of action plans, 10 per cent stated it as extremely valuable, 51 per cent stated it to have somewhat value, 22 per cent stated it to have little or no value and 17 per cent were unsure.

And finally in response to Other Ministry tools and resources, 11 per cent stated them as extremely valuable, 49 per cent stated them to have somewhat value, 9 per cent stated them to have little or no value and 32 per cent were unsure.

Building on this information, respondents were also asked to identify the number of persons they forward the Urban Leader newsletter on to. Table 3 shows that the Urban Leader is forwarded onto an average of 17 people.

Table 3: Number of persons being forwarded the Urban Leader (n=94)
Number of persons being forwarded the Urban Leader Statistic
Total 1541
Minimum 0
Maximum 600
Mean 17

Use of other tools and resources

Further to this, respondents were then asked to identify the other urban design related tools and resources (not provided by the Ministry) that their organisation uses.

Not surprisingly, the most frequently mentioned ‘other’ urban design related tools and resources that were used are CABE, other professionals, and English Partnerships (refer Table 4).

Table 4: Other tools and resources used (n=56)
Other tools and resources used by more than one respondent Count
CABE 19
Other professionals 11
English Partnerships (including Manual for Streets, Urban Design Compendium) 10
RUDI 8
Design Guides 7
Various internet resources/websites 7
Other councils 3
Project for Public Spaces 2
CPTED 2

Chart 16 shows that about three out of four respondents (71 percent) rate these other tools and resources as being extremely valuable. A further one in three (27 percent) rate them as being somewhat of value.

Chart 16: Value of other tools and resources used

chart 16 value of other tools and resources used

Base: Respondents who use other tools and resources (excludes no answer) (n=56)

This chart shows the value of other tools and resources. 71 per cent found them extremely valuable, 27 per cent found them of somewhat value and 2 per cent were unsure.

Suggested case studies

To assist the Ministry provide relevant case studies on quality urban design, respondents were asked to indicate the type of case studies they would be most interested in. A summary of the main themes are presented in Table 5.

Table 5: Suggested case studies (n=56)
Case study themes Frequency of mentioned
Residential/housing 13
Transport related 10
Street scape design 10
Town centre regeneraton/development 9
Infrastructure 7
Mixed use projects 7
Economic benefit/payoff 6
Intensification 5
Successful collaboration/partnership 5
Policy/legislation 4
Small towns/regional 4
Project process 3
Sub division 3
Low impact design 3
Public spaces 3

The role of the Ministry for the Environment

All respondents were asked to comment on the Ministry’s role in terms of supporting the Urban Design Protocol and networks. A total of 93 respondents provided feedback.

  • Most respondents concur that the Ministry’s role in terms of supporting the Urban Design Protocol and networks was in the area of providing direction and guidance.

    Leadership, keeping the focus on best practice, breaking down or facilitating better statutory processes, directing local government to implement policies to incorporate urban design, supporting organisations to deliver seminars etc (preferably across the professions).


    Providing a framework for us to excel in.


    The Ministry should facilitate the dissemination of practice to other Protocol signatories.


    The [Ministry] has The role of monitoring performance of The Protocol, and identifying areas where urban design performance is not up to levels anticipated, whether across The country as a whole, or restricted to certain organisations. -where assistance or information is required, I see The Ministry as being able to provide a first stop on advice on where to go for more info, or perhaps being able to offer suggestions based on The substantial experience The Ministry has.


    It is the key proactive champion and facilitator at central and local government level, giving legitimacy to the work in the field throughout NZ, as well as providing organisational capability and resources to practitioners, interest groups and authorities in NZ.


    Fostering recognition of best practice urban design principles.


    Establishing common goals and understandings of what is 'best practice' or 'quality' urban design, assisting in holding signatories accountable to these, advising central government on issues when applicable.


    Less emphasis on documentation - provide for more direct support -i.e. through the likes of 'flying squads' who could go and guide Councils as to way through particular issues.

  • Some respondents commented on the Ministry’s role involved the provision of information and resources.

    Keeping resources and guidance up to date. Pulling together tools available from various sources - both NZ and international.


    Preparing case studies.


    Act as coordinator and web host to show off best practice and share information.


    Disseminating information, capturing good practice, and advocating for cross.

  • Promoting general awareness of quality urban design was also mentioned by some respondents as a key Ministry role.

    Increasing public awareness....


    Promoting it, making it appreciated more widely, educating Councils.


    It has been very proactive and positive, but could become more proactive in promoting it in more depth to Councils, professional institutes (e.g. surveyors, Engineers) and development organisations.


    Advancing good urban design in the media and professions.


    It is an extremely important role to ensure that urban design is constantly promoted so that it does not fall off the radar so to speak.


    The Ministry has an important role in continuing to promote the Protocol - keep it alive and to update it so that it remains relevant to current issues.


    Promoting the value of good urban design in New Zealand and showcasing successful measureable built outcomes.

  • Some respondents mentioned that developing policy, legislation, and regulation was also a role for the Ministry.

    Need to bring into legislative mandate of council.


    Put some legal teeth into the RMA to consider urban design as a factor in determining consent applications.


    Releasing respective legislation to assist their implementation...


    provides national guidance and the legislative framework to support [urban design] practitioners and help strengthen and to further deliver an exemplary, happy and successful society.

  • Advocacy was also mentioned by some respondents as a key role for the Ministry.

    Advocating for good design and providing a statutory basis for it.


    They should advocate publicly the need for good urban design and comment publicly on relevant issues.


    Advocate for changes to the RMA [or the introduction of a Planning Act]to ensure that design based planning can be effective in urban areas. Advocate for life cycle costing and opportunity costs in all government projects [including roading project].Advocate strategic urban design with less emphasis on public domain design].


    Influencing decisions at government level.


    It should be providing very strong advice and advocacy to central government about the role that urban design can play in achieving wider govt goals.

  • Some respondents mentioned that providing education and events was also a key role for the Ministry.

    Provision of ongoing training and support, bringing urban designers and urban design champions together.


    In the deep south - urban designers are comparatively isolated - sponsoring visits / talks from recognised experts could be a role for ministry.


    It’s an excellent place to co-ordinate different activities taking place in the country in support of [urban design], and wider overseas opportunities.


    Provide training, support, documents, case law.

    To continue to provide a backbone for the Protocol and support Urban Design Champions with seminars/workshops and published material.

  • Facilitating networking events was also mentioned by some respondents as a key role for the Ministry in relation to the Urban Design Protocol and networks

    What they are doing is good, initiating networks, forum and follow ups. Having a dedicated staff member to the role.


    Bringing people and ideas together.


    Many seminars appear to be very Auckland or North Island focussed. We would attend many more seminars and workshops if they were local (Chch, or South Island). The network would be stronger as a result.


    Supporting networks.


    Facilitating speaking tours around country, promoting good practice examples and networking.