Good Density

09 APR 2022
“Land is a finite resource and it’s so contested. We’ve got to house people, we’ve got to move people, grow food, produce goods, we’ve got to protect it and look after our biodiversity. There are all these pressures on it.” - Skye Duncan urban planner.

A statement that is so obviously true but the sentiments are so often not recognised. We have to do a much better job of designing our urban environments. I've touched on this previously with posts on - The 20 minute city - and - Chaos Cities and Urbanism - the way cities that have grown organically are more compelling and interesting than planned cities.

In reality it's not that planned cities are bad, but that urban planning is just not good enough. So what makes for good or better planning? - other than getting out of the way so people can design the city they want. This is the essence of the article in The Spinoff - Good Density: How Solid Planning Can Turn Neighbourhoods Into Ecosystems - that planning can and will make a difference.

Duncan says - "It requires strategic planning where you design communities, as opposed to just focusing on housing." Because a sea of housing with no amenity just drives residents into cars to get to places where they can shop, relax, and play.

We're getting denser cities. The Central Government's MDRS (Medium Density Residential Standards) and the NPS-UD (National Planning Standards - Urban Design) mandate that cities allow for building denser. 3 Units of 3 Storeys without minimum car parking will certainly allow for more development in more areas. This will decrease the pressure on the existing Medium Density Residential Zoning and allow places like Avonhead, Halswell, and Burnside to have denser housing. But we also need to allow more retail, and commercial development in these areas.

I suspect that the MDRS does not go far enough. With COVID changing the office environment allowing more work at home lifestyles the ability to build a wider mix of property types will be even more important.

Read the article - Good Density: How Solid Planning Can Turn Neighbourhoods Into Ecosystems - there are a lot of good ideas and arguments there.

I hope that by allowing more to happen in more areas our cities will become more vibrant and alive.
By Hab3