26 Mar 2014
By Wright Communications
The NZPI's "Managing Urban Growth" position paper addresses the many challenges posed by New Zealand's rapid urban growth by presenting a series of planning principles which it believes will lead to more successful, functional and desirable urban areas.
NZPI Board member Robert Schofield says New Zealand is highly urbanised, with 86% of the population residing in urban areas, and that continues to grow rapidly.
"While growth varies throughout the country, and is concentrated in the upper half of the North Island, it is a significant national issue and reflects a worldwide trend," Mr Schofield says.
"As the population in urban areas grows it places huge demands on these areas. We need to build many new homes, provide infrastructure to serve them and at the same time maintain a high quality of life and an attractive environment."
Mr Schofield says poorly planned growth results in urban areas that fail to meet the needs of their communities.
"Every day we see examples in our cities and towns of people battling air and water pollution, traffic congestion, unsafe neighbourhoods, and other issues that detract from quality of life and the economy," he says.
"On the other hand, well planned growth delivers highly competitive, good quality, desirable urban environments. It also provides people with a good choice in housing and living environments."
Mr Schofield says well planned urban growth can also mitigate risks associated with natural disasters and their flow-on effects.
The position paper emphasises that well planned growth is essential to future-proof communities. It defines sustainable communities as those that are "supported by well-planned infrastructure such as transport, schools, hospitals, as well as a supply of energy, clean water and wastewater, and a healthy ecological environment."
The paper says the following planning principles should underpin a collaborative approach to managing urban growth:
The NZPI is made up of planners who are involved in every aspect of planning for the growth of New Zealand's towns and cities. Their roles include undertaking resource studies, providing advice, preparing and administering plans, as well as managing community consultation. The organisation advocates for best practice in urban growth management.
"We take the position that the future growth and change of our towns and cities needs to create well designed urban environments that support economic prosperity and create places where people want to live, work and play," Mr Schofield says.
"These guiding principles aim to help make that a reality."
The 'Managing Urban Growth" position paper is available online at www.planning.org.nz.
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