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Ideas for action - consultants, professional institutes, educational institutes, Iwi and sector organisations

Championing urban design and raising awareness

An important component of achieving good design is raising awareness of the benefits and challenging existing approaches where they do not result in good outcomes. Consultants, professional institutes, educational organisations, iwi and other sector groups can champion high quality urban design in their own right. Individual champions at a senior level can be a very effective mechanism for bringing about change.

Examples:

  1. Appoint a 'Design Champion' at a senior influential level of the organisation to promote and champion high quality design and to challenge existing approaches within the organisation. National and local 'Design Champions' may be considered in larger consultancies, institutes and organisations.
  2. Develop a local or national awards scheme to celebrate quality urban design.
  3. Develop education material on quality urban design for members.
  4. Provide continuing professional development workshops developed in collaboration with other consultancies, institutes or organisations.
  5. Collaborate on the development of an urban design demonstration project.

Developing strategy and policy

Organisations develop a range of policies and strategies, including professional accreditation strategies, iwi management plans, sector development strategies, and strategic plans. It is important that the implications on urban design are considered as an integral part of the policy formulation process.

Examples:

  1. Review your organisation's policies to make sure they promote quality urban design within the organisation and to external clients.
  2. Develop policies and objectives that promote the qualities of the seven Cs (as outlined in the Urban Design Protocol) within your organisation.
  3. Develop tools or relevant technical guidelines that incorporate quality urban design, and that are specific to your consultancy, institute or organisation.
  4. Ensure plans for future development proposals and the development of educational courses include urban design issues.

Planning futures

Adequate forward planning is essential for organisations undertaking major development projects or schemes. There are a range of forward planning tools that can help improve development outcomes and provide a co-ordinated high quality urban design vision. For other organisations, their role could be to advocate forward planning to their clients.

Examples:

  1. Commit to proactively lead the development of appropriate forward planning instruments for major development schemes.
  2. Advocate and promote the use of appropriate forward planning methods and tools to clients.
  3. Work proactively with clients, government and others to develop appropriate forward planning instruments.

Being a good client and influencing the client

Professionals, including architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, surveyors and engineers, play an important role in influencing a client's understanding of the need for quality urban design. The concept or initial discussion stage of the project is a critical time for influencing the eventual outcomes. All professionals need to advocate for and promote quality urban design in physical construction projects, so that every project adds to the quality of a town or city. Professional institutes, in their accreditation and training roles, can ensure high professional standards and integrity are maintained. Educational institutes have an important role in training future professionals.

Examples:

  1. Provide clear advice to the client on all aspects of quality urban design.
  2. Commit to achieving high quality urban design in all development projects.
  3. Ensure tender procedures for construction and maintenance are judged against value for money and quality, rather than just least cost.
  4. Ensure all briefs for construction are clear, well thought out and consider urban design issues for the life of the project.
  5. Develop a 'partnering' approach between client, designer and contractor, as an alternative to the standard contractor relationship, to ensure quality urban design at all stages of the project.
  6. Set a clear and realistic budget that reflects capital costs and whole life costs, including putting an economic value on the added benefits of design quality.
  7. Incorporate urban design criteria into relevant technical guides and guidance.

Making decisions

Many organisations and individuals within them are involved in statutory decision-making processes. They can advocate that the urban design implications of proposals be explicitly considered when decisions are made. Organisations and individuals can use their influence to ensure quality urban design outcomes through the use of best practice procedures. These might include early consultation with the community, local government and central government, adoption of a clear brief, choosing appropriate teams and working in partnership with others.

Examples:

  1. Incorporate urban design guidance and best practice procedures into decision-making.
  2. Submit development projects to an urban design advisory panel or seek independent expert advice.

Exchanging information and research

Good research information is essential to achieving better urban design outcomes. Most research in New Zealand is led by sector organisations, including universities and professional institutes. Information and learning should be shared more widely to maximise its usefulness and to make the most of scarce resources. Learning from past experience increases effectiveness and results in better outcomes. Organisations should document and share research information.

Examples:

  1. Document and publish urban-related research and best practice procedures and make this information available to others.
  2. Participate in joint programmes of research with central and local government, universities and research agencies to maximise efficiency and increase co-ordination.
  3. Make available a list of members and staff with specialist urban design expertise who can assist in urban design projects.
  4. Organise and host forums and networks to further debate on urban design issues.
  5. Provide continuing professional development training and information to members, possibly in collaboration with other groups.
  6. Review the urban design components of tertiary education professional programmes.
  7. Document case studies of good urban design practice, including demonstration projects.

Integrating management

Urban areas are complex systems that require integrated management to achieve quality urban design. Professionals need to work with other disciplines and sector organisations to ensure built environment projects address the full spectrum of urban design issues.

Examples:

  1. Develop a multi-disciplinary approach to urban design within your organisation and in working with other organisations.
  2. Work in partnership with other professionals, central and local government and the community on major development schemes to ensure integrated approaches and outcomes.

Building capacity

Organisations need to build capacity in urban design to help shape and influence the development of our towns and cities. Training for staff in urban design is critical to enable them to understand and carry out their role effectively.

Examples:

  1. Offer training and education programmes to all staff and members to increase their understanding of urban design issues.
  2. Work in partnership with other organisations, local councils and central government agencies to provide effective training and education programmes on urban design at a range of levels for all disciplines involved in managing the urban environment.