New Brighton Residential Density Study New Brighton Residential Density Study New Brighton Residential Density Study New Brighton Residential Density Study

New Brighton Residential Density Study

Gauging capacity and desirability of increasing residential density

New Brighton is a seaside suburb on the east side of Christchurch where demand for higher density residential development has been increasing. The Christchurch City Council commissioned our team to study the capacity and desirability of increasing residential density in central New Brighton.

There were many inter-related issues to consider, including community opinion, so a comprehensive and consultative approach was taken. A multidisciplinary project team was formed, comprising our statutory planners, urban designers, landscape architects and graphic communication specialists, as well as a range of other experts. Technical investigations included:

  • potential shading,
  • wind tunnel and visual implications of building heights and bulk;
  • geotechnical and natural hazards
  • infrastructure, transport and community facility capacities; and
  • economic and social effects that might arise from community growth and change.

Six scenarios of differing densities and building heights were modelled to assess and compare potential effects. Mapping, 3D modelling and animation techniques were particularly valuable for assessing effects and visually illustrating the scenarios to the public.

To gauge community opinion, comment was invited through public meetings and open days where the six scenarios were graphically portrayed and explained.

Taking into account community opinion and the technical investigations, we recommended a district plan change that would provide for a mixed-use scenario, based on a combination of existing rules already used elsewhere in Christchurch. A Section 32 analysis was completed (a requirement under the Resource Management Act to weigh up comparative costs and benefits) and the district plan change was subsequently incorporated into the City Plan after going through the notification and hearings process with no appeal.

Our role

Statutory planning, urban design, landscape planning, visual communication, consultation and project management.

The facts

ClientChristchurch City Council
Project teamKen Gimblett
Tim Church
Stephanie Styles
Worked with

Fitzgerald Applied Sociology (social impact assessment)
Opus International (wind engineering advice)
SIMES (market analysis)
Traffic Design Group (traffic assessment)
URS (geotechnical hazard report)

Project date2005