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The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol (the Protocol) was launched in 2005 and provides a platform to make New Zealand towns and cities more successful through quality urban design. The Protocol is a voluntary commitment by central and local government, property developers and investors, design professionals, educational institutes and other groups to create quality urban design and to undertake specific urban design initiatives. The development of case studies was initiated by the Ministry for the Environment as part of a suite of tools and resources to support the Protocol and to show how quality urban design improves our towns and cities.

This is the second volume of urban design case studies. The first set of 16 case studies from around the country published in 2005 demonstrated urban design qualities outlined in the Protocol. The nine case studies covered here are targeted at local government in response to the results of A Survey of Local Government Authorities Urban Design Capability that the Ministry for the Environment undertook in 2006. The survey results highlighted the need to build skills and capacity within and across local government in the strategic and operational levels, and to provide best practice examples of quality urban design. These case studies provide examples of ways that local government can incorporate quality urban design in strategies, plans and guidelines. Examples of best practice development projects throughout New Zealand are also included.

The case studies demonstrate the practical application of urban design principles and the benefits that come from good practice, and they identify areas where further improvements could be made. Each case study includes basic summary facts and project statistics, a description of the design process, the urban design issues, an evaluation of the project’s success and limitations, lessons learnt and the value gained. The evaluation of each case study is based around the Protocol’s qualities of urban design, known as the seven Cs: context, character, choice, connections, creativity, custodianship and collaboration.

The case studies have been written by authors who researched the projects and processes or have been involved in the project development. Therefore, the views they express are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Ministry or other contributing organisations.

There are many examples around the country of quality urban design. Further case studies will be developed over time, including projects that signatories to the Protocol develop as part of their action plans.