2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference

2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference

The first Urbanism New Zealand Conference in over a decade saw a contingent of planners, urban designers and landscape architects from Boffa Miskell participate in the two-day event.

Our involvement began the day before the official opening, with a cycle tour around the waterfront led by Wellingtonians Jos Coolen and Marc Baily. Undeterred by the wet weather, a group of 13 keen peddlers hopped on their Onzo bikes and took in notable sites of urban development that have shaped the city in the past decades – including the Mount Victoria/Matairangi Lookout, which was redeveloped by Boffa Miskell for the Wellington City Council in 2007.

Jos said, “It became very clear how the e-bike has the potential to change the way people move around a city. On a rainy day you usually wouldn’t ride out to Shelly Bay or up to Mount Victoria for fun. This excited group of e-bikers proved that even on a day like this biking up to the Mt Vic lookout, which sadly did not have many views to offer, can be fun and easy. It was an amazing day with interesting people, good discussions and conversations on how cycling infrastructure and future changes in transport modes can change how cities will face transport issues in the future.”

At the conference itself, Christchurch-based urban designer Tim Church and landscape architect Debbie Tikao from Matapopore Charitable Trust used recent joint projects, including Victoria Square, to illustrate “The Business of Embedding Cultural Identity” through a process of consultation, thoughtful design and a commitment to represent indigenous values in the built environment.

Urban planner Marc Baily and landscape architect Brad Dobson from our Wellington office presented on the second day. Their seminar, “New Zealand’s Smaller Towns: Facing up to the Perfect Storm”, examined the challenges and oportunities facing the district councils and local boards in provincial centres, illustrated by Boffa Miskell’s successful work in towns like Hawera, Levin and similar locations.

Senior planner Jo Young said, “My favourite presentation was Rachael Cole and Joanna Brain from Tamaki Regeneration.  Their talk was called “What it Takes to Create a Community – Delivering Mixed Tenure Housing in Tamaki”.  The key takeaway I got from this was that this is not just a housing development. They’re seeking to create a social transformation on a number of levels,  with the main idea being that these communities should ensure that social housing doesn’t operate in a separate realm, and give reasons for the community to come together through shared spaces, schools and playgrounds.”

Our projects were well-represented in the poster presentation, with a joint entry from Boffa Miskell urban designer Stuart Houghton and George Weeks from the Auckland Council Design Office: “Valuing the Urban Realm: Testing Transport for London’s VURT Toolkit in Auckland” a notable stand-out.

At the Boffa Miskell stand, attendees were provided with pens and Post-its and asked to share their responses to “What should urbanism mean for New Zealand in the future?” which were added to an ever-evolving word cloud.

Senior planner Nick Pollard said, “The conference had a great deal of passion and energy and reaffirmed the need to promote an expression of New Zealand urbanism. Some difficult questions were asked about current government policy settings with uncertainties expressed, on the back of a change of government and the opportunities this provides – will they be taken up?”

For further information please contact Marc Baily, Stuart Houghton or Tim Church

12 June 2018